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Updated Oct. 14, 2010
Republicans haven't forgotten the special election that Foster first won to succeed former Speaker Dennis Hastert (R), and in state Sen. Randy Hultgren he faces his most difficult challenge so far.
Hultgren, who defeated Hastert's son, Ethan, in the February primary, has differed with Foster's votes for health care, the bailout and the stimulus. But in ads Foster alleges the investment management firm Hultgren works for profited off the bailout.
Both candidates have criticized the other for campaign contributions. Foster donated funds he got from embattled Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.), and Hultgren apologized for illegally moving money from his state election account to the federal one.
While the House seat is Foster's first elected office, Hultgren previously served in the state House and two county-level boards in DuPage County.
This a race that could be influenced by the drag at the top of the ticket if Democrats end up falling short in both the gubernatorial and Senate races.
District Profile from Politics in America
The majority of the 14th's residents live in Kane County on the district's eastern side, in established towns along the Fox River Valley. West of the river, prairies and farms stretch to Henry County, nearly to the Mississippi River. Rich in soybeans and corn, the flat landscape is interrupted only by Northern Illinois University in DeKalb.
The district's population center can be found in Kane County on the outskirts of Chicago. Aurora (shared with the 13th) and neighboring cities in Kane are experiencing sprawl across the county line into Kendall, the fastest-growing county in the nation since 2000. Despite the city's increasingly residential feel, Aurora has a long history of manufacturing, although heavy-equipment maker Caterpillar, its key employer, has been forced into widespread layoffs.
Aurora and Elgin (small parts of which are in the 8th and 6th) have benefited from job growth in nearby Naperville and Schaumburg, suburban cities that have emerged as Chicagoland business centers. Aurora and Elgin also each host riverboat casinos. The two cities are more than 40 percent Hispanic, and many of these residents are in the local blue-collar workforce.
Areas in Kane, Kendall and DuPage counties backed Republicans for decades. But Republican John McCain won only Lee County and the 14th's portions of Bureau and Henry counties here in the 2008 presidential race, and Barack Obama won the district overall with 55 percent of the vote.
Manufacturing, casinos, agriculture
Aurora (pt.), 138,824; Elgin (pt.), 84,156; DeKalb, 43,862; Carpentersville, 37,691
President Ronald Reagan's birthplace in Tampico and boyhood home in Dixon are museums.
|2010||general||Randy Hultgren (R)||112,369||51.3%|
|Bill Foster (D)||98,645||45%|
|Daniel Kairis (GREEN)||7,949||3.6%|
|2008||general||Bill Foster (D)||185,404||57.7%|
|Jim Oberweis (R)||135,653||42.2%|
|2006||general||J. Hastert (R)||117,870||59.8%|
|John Laesch (D)||79,274||40.2%|
|2004||general||J. Hastert (R)||191,618||68.6%|
|Ruben Zamora (D)||87,590||31.4%|
|2002||general||J. Hastert (R)||135,198||74.1%|
|Laurence Quick (D)||47,165||25.9%|
|2008||Barack Obama: 55%||John McCain: 44%|
|2004||John Kerry: 44%||George W. Bush: 55%|
|2000||Al Gore: 42%||George W. Bush: 54%|