Sabato's Crystal Ball

Illinois (14) House 2010

Crystal Ball Outlook: Leans R

Democratic candidate: Bill Foster, incumbent

Republican candidate: Randy Hultgren, state Senator

Recent Updates from the Crystal Ball

Background:

Prior to 2008, the 14th district of Illinois had elected Republican leaders to Congress since World War II, most recently under the leadership of former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert. Hastert’s resignation in 2007 led to a Democratic victory in a special election in March of 2008. Bill Foster, the current incumbent, defeated Jim Oberweis in the special election and again in the November 2008 regular election, increasing his margin of victory along the way. Foster has singled out health care, fiscal responsibility and energy as important elements of his campaign.

Randy Hultgren defeated Ethan Hastert, the son of former 14th district Representative Dennis Hastert, to become the Republican nominee. Hultgren is an Illinois State Senator, and former State Representative, running on a platform of “real conservatism.” He has already established jobs and the national debt as key campaign issues. While Hultgren’s campaign website features a running U.S. National Debt Clock, Foster takes care on his own website to mention the “fiscal irresponsibility…during the last 6 years of Republican government.” Who should shoulder the blame? I guess will have to see what Illinoisans decide on November 2.

Illinois has the first Congressional Primary in the nation, which occurred on February 2, allowing candidates 9 full months of campaigning before the election. Foster established the upper-hand in fundraising before the primary took place, and for the quarter ending January 13, Foster’s contributions were more than 3 times greater than those of Hultgren and the incumbent already has a substantial advantage in cash-on-hand.

Obama secured 55% of the votes in the 14th district during the 2008 election, but Bush was victorious in this district during both of his Presidential elections, gaining 54% of the vote in 2000 and 55% of the vote in 2004. Despite the history of Republican representation, the 14th district LEANS DEMOCRATIC.