Talk Talk Talk Talk Talk Myself to Death: Oberweis: The <i>O</i> stands for <i>O for 4</i>

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Oberweis: The O stands for O for 4

It was a good day for Illinois Democrats. Obama got his winning groove back in Wyoming, racking up a 23-point lead. That's not enough to impress Chris Cillizza, who pointed out that it doesn't compare to the 70-some-point percentages had racked up a couple of weeks back. That's true enough, but I imagine Obama and his supporters prefer it to the scores he was getting in the 40s earlier this week. And while it's good not to raise expectations too high, Mississippi is coming up on Tuesday, and it's got all the hallmarks of an even larger win.

In another race that may not have gotten a lot of national attention up to now but is certain to blow open today, Democrat Bill Foster won the congressional seat former Speaker of the House Denny Hastert abandoned earlier this year. The district went 55 percent for Bush in 2004 and 50 percent for Hastert in 2006, but today it was 53 percent for the Democrats. Of course, Foster was running against Jim Oberweis, who's now lost four major elections in just a few years. This is the first time he's made it through the primaries to the regular election, though. He ran for Senate in 2002 and 2004, and then he ran for governor in 2006. It's not clear how much he's just an unappealing candidate. In 2004, when Republican Senate candidate Jack Ryan was forced out of the race by unexpected disclosures in his personal life, Illinois Republicans could've brought Oberweis, who'd run second in the primary, in to face Obama in the general, but they thought they'd prefer to bring in Allan Keyes from out of state to run on their ticket, instead.

Although Democrats are painting this race as a portent for the fall, Republicans are predictably playing the whole thing down. Despite the fact that the Republican National Congressional Committee put roughly a fifth of their available cash in hand into this race, they're telling people to move along, nothing to see here.

The one message coming out of 2008 so far is that what happens today is not a bellwether of what happens this fall.

In other words, pay no attention to the embarrassing loss behind the curtain. Of course, it's hard to say how much of that is the fact that voters don't want Republicans at the moment and how much that they don't want Oberweis. We'll get another chance to find out, though. This was a special election to serve out the remainder of Hastert's term. There'll be another election in the fall when all the congressional representatives are voted in. We'll be seeing a rematch--Oberweiss has already signed on in the hopes of dodging loss number five.


At 11:35 AM, March 09, 2008, Blogger Jason said...

The Foster-Oberweis race may also have implications for the Democratic presidential nomination. Senator Obama spent time and resources helping Foster campaign in this extremely red (Republican since 1974) district. Senator Clinton did not. If I were a superdelegate -- particularly one who's standing for election in November, and of those, particularly one in a relatively red part of the country -- coat-tails would be a very important consideration for me. Who's got the longest ones, and who is going to take the effort to try to use them. I think the Foster campaign is an important data point in that consideration.

At 1:45 PM, March 09, 2008, Anonymous Doug said...

Members of Congress (who are also superdelegates, of course) will certainly take into consideration who might help them on the top of the ticket. Admittedly, this contest was in Obama's back yard, but that makes it an even better example of how Hillary could've shown her willingness to help out. Of course, that would've necessitated a campaign that wasn't in disarray. At the very least, Obama just got one more superdelegate.

At 5:01 PM, March 09, 2008, Blogger Stuart Shea said...

Oberweis is a moron. He doesn't recognize, apparently, that "immigrants" live everywhere in the U.S. now, and they vote, and they remember.

At 8:30 PM, March 09, 2008, Anonymous stevie t said...

I think this is a positive sign that things are changing for the better out here in the far western suburbs of Chicago. I think the red is becoming blue. Maybe we'll have enough blueness soon to vote out my rep, Judy Biggert.


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