Illinois: Parties Digging Deep for Saturday Special Election

Posted March 3, 2008 at 6:36pm

The two House campaign committees and several political leaders are now fully engaged in Saturday’s special election to replace former Speaker Dennis Hastert (R).

Polls have suggested that the race between dairy company executive Jim Oberweis (R) and wealthy scientist Bill Foster (D) remains close, and the two parties are working hard to gain the upper hand.

Although the district in the suburbs and exurbs of Chicago leans Republican, Democrats believe it is trending their way and could be especially ripe for the picking in a low-turnout special election. Even if Oberweis prevails on Saturday, Democrats believe they may have a shot in November, especially if Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is their White House nominee.

According to the most recent filings with the Federal Election Commission, the cash-strapped National Republican Congressional Committee has now invested more than $1.1 million in the race, while the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has spent more than $600,000.

And on Monday, Foster reported contributions from Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who gave $5,000 from her political action committee and $2,000 from her own campaign committee; $5,000 from the PAC of House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.); $5,000 from the PAC of Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.); $1,000 each from the PAC and campaign account of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.); $1,000 from the PAC of Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.); and $1,000 each from the campaign committees of Reps. Rush Holt (D-N.J.) and Betty McCollum (D-Minn.).
— Josh Kurtz