Illinois: Candidates Bare Fangs as GOP Primary Nears

Posted January 16, 2008 at 6:39pm

The leading Republican candidates in the special election to replace former Rep. Dennis Hastert (R) agreed on most of the issues when they debated Tuesday night at Aurora University.

But the hour-long encounter between state Sen. Chris Lauzen (R) and dairy magnate Jim Oberweis (R) was nevertheless quite contentious, according to an account in Wednesday’s Daily Herald — a sign of things to come as the Feb. 5 primary approaches.

Oberweis wasted no time reminding the audience that Lauzen had recently returned a campaign contribution from a convicted felon whose company is under investigation by Illinois law enforcement authorities. Oberweis ridiculed Lauzen’s claims that he had been unaware of the company’s legal problems when he received the contribution.

“The question is, why’d you take it in the first place?” Oberweis asked. Lauzen responded by accusing Oberweis of “trying to destroy my reputation.”

Later, according to the newspaper, Oberweis was on the defensive, calling charges that Lauzen had leveled against him in a campaign flier “totally ridiculous.”

The 14th district in the suburbs and exurbs of Chicago leans Republican, but Democrats believe they have a real shot at winning the seat in the March 8 special election. While Democrats have a competitive primary of their own, Bill Foster, a millionaire inventor and businessman, is favored to win it.
— Josh Kurtz