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Battle for Ex-House Speaker's Seat in Illinois

  1. Mar 7, 2008 #1

    Astronuc

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    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=87974972

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illinois'_14th_congressional_district

    Bill Foster (D) - Physicist and business owner
    vs
    Jim Oberweis (R) - Business owner

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illinois's_14th_congressional_district_special_election,_2008

    It will be interesting to see if a democrat will be elected in a heavily republican district.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 7, 2008 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    In the interest of full disclosure, I have been a collaborator of Bill's for over a decade, and I am a minor contributor to his campaign. I also disagree with him on many of the positions he holds.

    I think this analysis is not so simple. The "Heavily Republican District", like most districts, was gerrymandered almost a decade ago to be a safe seat for the incumbent. The demographics of this district are continually changing, and today it's much less rural and more suburban, overall more affluent, but with more entrenched pockets of poverty. At the same time, the Illinois Republican Party has transformed themselves from a good governance/anti-machine party that wasn't very strong on ideology (and kept winning elections) to one that is much more ideological in nature (and keeps losing them). Some of the people behind this change refer to the transition as "the great RINO hunt".

    Jim Oberweis is perhaps the archetype of this new Illinois republican He is also a perpetual candidate who has thus far failed to be elected to public office.

    So I don't think it's quite so clear. I also don't think that it's valid to draw national inferences based on the result of this election.
     
  4. Mar 7, 2008 #3

    Astronuc

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    Absolutely, but the media and the parties like to discuss local matters as though it does reflect a national trend, e.g. if you vote D or R locally, that automatically infers support for the D and R presidential candidate. I think (I hope) that folks are smarter than that.
     
  5. Mar 7, 2008 #4
    Or a physicist in a district full of mathematicians. If there is a record of him assuming that all functions are smooth, I'm sure the Republicans will make the most of it.
     
  6. Mar 8, 2008 #5

    Vanadium 50

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    Bill Foster just won the special election over Republican Jim Oberweis. (Pending the recounts, of course) Out of 28768 registered voters, 6519 voted, 3294 for Foster, 3216 for Oberweis, and 9 for other candidates.
     
  7. Mar 10, 2008 #6

    Astronuc

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    That's a small turnout, and I as previously mentioned, it doesn't seem as significant as both parties make it out to be. It seems a pretty close race.

    Democrat claims Hastert's former congressional seat
    http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/03/09/obama-backed-candidate-scores-upset-win/
    I think the media overplays the significance.
     
  8. Mar 10, 2008 #7

    Vanadium 50

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    The election was held on a Saturday, which is unusual, and both sides seem to think helped the other guy. (I guess that probably means it was fair)

    So far as I know, neither presidential candidate "stumped" for anyone, in the sense of appearing with them on the podium. Both Senators McCain and Obama made television ads. While it's true that the national GOP spent millions on Oberweis, it's also true that the national Democratic party spent millions on Foster. I think the biggest parallels that can be drawn is that both Congressman Foster and Senator Obama's campaigns drew in people who would otherwise not be politically active. (I don't remember the exact number, but something like 75% of Foster's contributors had never given to a political campaign before) But it's far from certain that Senator Obama will be the Democratic nominee.
     
  9. Apr 2, 2008 #8

    Astronuc

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    Mr. Foster Goes to Washington

    From Physics to Politics: Mr. Foster Goes to Washington

    The newest PhD in Congress advises disgruntled scientists to get involved in the political process

    :cool: We need more scientists in Washington!
     
  10. Apr 2, 2008 #9

    Gokul43201

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    Dr. Foster becomes Mr. Foster when he enters politics, eh?
     
  11. Apr 2, 2008 #10
    No, the Mr. is short for "Master".
     
  12. Apr 3, 2008 #11
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2008
  13. Apr 3, 2008 #12
    No wonder she cringed when Bush tried to give her a back rub. She was afraid he would suck out all her intelligence from her.

    Osmosis is a powerful thing, you know.
     
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