Hastert Seat Taken by Dem Physicist
In a special election in the solidly Republican Chicago exurbs comprising Illinois' 14th Congressional District, Democrat Bill Foster, a businessman and former physicist at Fermilab, has defeated Republican Jim Oberweis, a dairy industry magnate, to complete the remainder of the term of Dennis Hastert, former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
After Republicans lost control of the House, Hastert resigned from Congress to take a job as a lobbyist before tougher congressional rules on such employment by former congressmen took effect. His resignation was among the first of what would become a historic number of GOP lawmakers resigning or otherwise announcing they would not run for re-election.
Despite support from Hastert, presumptive GOP Presidential nominee John McCain, and other noteworthy Republicans, and despite some rather ugly divorce-related allegations about the Dem candidate physically abusing his spouse, Oberweis lost to Foster by a convincing margin that sends a strong warning to the Republican Party that no seat, regardless of what long-time, high-profile Republican has held it, is safe in this election year when the economy is coming apart at the seams and voters are looking for leaders representing a new direction for the country.