Special election in IL-14: Can Democrats take Hastert's old seat?

Update, 9:50pm: The election has been called for Bill Foster. With 94% of precincts reporting, Foster is ahead 53% to 47%, which corresponds to a 5000-vote deficit. Democrats managed to pick-up the district of former speaker Dennis Hastert, and the fall picture got that much more worrisome for Republicans. More analysis will come soon.

Update, 9:20pm: With more than half of the precincts now reporting, Foster appears to be in good shape, leading with 52% of the vote! He is now narrowly ahead in Kane County -- where by far the most voters reside, and where Bush got 56% in 2004 -- and he is way ahead in DeKalb and Aurora (64% in the latter).

Original post: Polls closed at 8pm ET in IL-14, Dennis Hastert's former House seat. Democrat Bill Foster and Republican Jim Oberweis have been campaigning hard in the district, and both congressional committees spent hundreds of thousands of dollars helping their candidate. The results tonight could serve as a harbinger of things to come in November. IL-14 is usually a reliably Republican district, which voted 55% for Bush, and a Democratic pick-up would signal that the party could add to its majority. It would also mean that the NRCC spent more than $1 million of its small cash-on-hand and failed to defend a seat it should have held with ease.

The first batch of results showed Oberweis starting with a lead, but the contest has become much closer since then. Right now with about 32% of precincts reporting, Foster is very narrowly ahead... by about 400 votes. DeKalb County -- one of district's more Democratic areas -- is already reporting at 62%, but Aurora County, which should also favor Foster, has not reported yet. This could be a long night.



  • The Republicans spend more than $1 million, or about 30% of their total Cash on Hand, only to lose a seat with a +5 rating.


    This is really, really bad news for the Republicans.

    Most predictions I've read have had the Democrats picking up 10 to 15 seats in November. I think that might go up after this result.

    By Anonymous C.S.Strowbridge, At 09 March, 2008 03:48  

  • This provides some evidence that Obama can help candidates down the ticket - even in Republican areas. If Foster had lost no doubt the national press and the Clinton campaign would have used it as evidence of Obama having no real vote getting ability in GOP areas.
    Well done to Foster - I hope he retains the seat in November and is a good congressman for his constituents.

    By Anonymous Guy, At 09 March, 2008 09:48  

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