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Oberweis vs. Foster special election *** Big night for Foster *** Oberweis concedes ***

Saturday, Mar 8, 2008

* Now comes the big question: Will Oberweis be pushed out of the general election race? Republicans are furious that he could’ve lost Denny Hastert’s seat so convincingly. “He’s just not likeable,” was a phrase I’ve heard more than once tonight.

Oberweis, for his part, said tonight: “We’ll have another run at it in nine months.” But pressure will likely be applied. I doubt that pressure will work, however. He’s a stubborn, if unsuccessful, politician.

* Foster won DuPage, Kendall, Kane, DeKalb and Whiteside counties, plus the city of Aurora (by a big margin). It was not just a numbers blowout, it was pretty much a win across the board. Yes, Aurora and Kane County provided big margins, but those wins in other GOP counties (DuPage? Kendall?) were very important. Huge, even. And even though it was an odd, Saturday special election, this was a serious stomping.

* Results from the Sun-Times

* 10:12 pm - From Chris Cillizza at the Washington Post

Republican strategists downplayed the importance of the race, insisting that Oberweis’s past runs for office had badly damaged him in the eyes of voters. Oberweis, who owns a chain of dairies throughout the state, ran unsuccessfully for the Senate in 2002 and 2004, and governor in 2006. His previous primary campaigns were knock down, drag out affairs as was his primary win over state Sen. Chris Lauzen (R) earlier this year — races that left his image among voters seriously tarnished.

Under the bus, Obie goes.

* 9:29 pm - Oberweis is interviewed by the media

FROM OBERWEIS HQ: We just interviewed Oberweis. He didn’t have much to say. He said they will change strategies between now and November, but they won’t change positions. He wouldn’t comment about what those changes would be. He also wouldn’t talk about the Obama effect in November.

What he needs most is a personality change.

* 9:27 pm - Efforts by some Republicans to push the “story” of Foster’s not so friendly divorce in the past few days didn’t work, and they probably won’t work in the fall, either

Foster’s ex-wife is [at the victory party]. He introduced her as “my friend.” Guess that answers that.

* 9:20 pm - From Foster’s victory speech

“This is a great night. Back in the laboratory this is what we’d say was a pretty successful experiment.”

“The voters of the 14th District were given a national stage…sent a clear message to Washington.”

“You want reasonable voices and workable solutions…I’ve heard you loud and clear.”

*** 9:02 pm *** Oberweis concedes

FROM OBERWEIS HQ: “As I said last month, first is a lot more fun than second.” Oberweis has already talked to Foster and conceded.

* 9:01 pm - Oberweis is about to speak, according to the Beacon-News blog.

* 9:00 pm - From a press release…

DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen released the following statement on Bill Foster’s special election victory in Illinois’ 14th Congressional District. The Democratic Majority in Congress has now grown to 232-198. […]

“Despite spending 20 percent of the their cash on hand, the NRCC was unable to hold a seat easily won by President Bush and held by Speaker Hastert for 20 years. Americans of all political stripes are rejecting Republicans’ divisive, status quo politics and turning to Democratic candidates for change. I am grateful to Senator Dick Durbin, Senator Barack Obama, and the Illinois Democratic delegation and candidates for encouraging the people of this district to vote for change by supporting Bill Foster.”

* 8:50 pm - As you can see by that little red check mark above, the AP has declared Foster the winner.

* 8:46 pm - I’m getting word from inside that Oberweis’ campaign is at least privately acknowledging defeat.

* 8:42 pm - Dave Parro at the Beacon News posted this a few minutes ago at their blog…

FROM OBERWEIS HQ: I think this thing’s over. With 75 percent of precincts reporting, Foster is up 53-47. It’s going to be tough to catch up, and the mood here has turned sour.

I think he’s right. I just don’t see how Oberweis wins.

* 8:39 pm -Our buddy OneMan has been pushing for Oberweis. Here’s a pic from tonight…

* 8:34 pm - All the votes have been counted in Lee County, and Oberweis won there with about a 400 vote margin.

* 8:32 pm - I don’t see how Oberweis wins this. With all votes counted in DeKalb County, he lost to Foster by 1,300 votes.

* 8:30 pm - Wow. Oberweis is losing Kendall County with 84 percent of the votes counted.

* 8:24 pm - With 86 percent of the vote counted in DuPage, Foster is ahead of Oberweis by 50 votes.

* 8:22 pm - The Kane/Aurora lead for Foster is over 3,500 votes.

* 8:20 pm - Oberweis is up in DuPage by 23 votes now with 69 percent of the vote counted. I’m pretty sure they were expecting a larger margin than that. As one Repub source said a few mintues ago about the Republicans: “They are beginning to freak.” Still, there are a lot of votes to be counted yet.

* 8:14 pm - The DuPage County results are about 25 percent counted, and Oberweis is only leading by 37 votes (2 points).

* 8:05 pm -
dmsilev, a diarist at Daily Kos, has been counting results as they are reported by local elections officials. Dmsilev has had Oberweis leading since the polls closed and now has Foster slightly ahead.

* 7:57 pm - In Kane County, Oberweis has a super-slim lead with about a third of the vote counted.

* 7:47 pm - Turnout was better in parts of the district than some expected…

In Kane County, home to more than 50 percent of the district’s voters, election officials reported turnout of 22 percent.

* 5:12 pm - Campaign day activities

Foster maintained an active schedule of that included visits to Aurora and Elgin area restaurants and polling places to greet residents. Campaign spokesman Tom Bowen said 500 volunteers were out knocking on doors to remind people of the rare Saturday election. […]

Oberweis limited his appearances to one radio program, a quick press conference after voting, and the parade. He also conducted a “tele-town hall” meeting where 11,000 voters are contacted with one phone call and invited to ask Oberweis a question. About 2,900 participated in Saturday’s call with the Republican, spokesman Bill Pascoe said.

* 3:36 pm - From a friend…

At noon today there were 182 voters between the two precints at my polling place. [There are] about 800 voters between the two [precincts].

* 3:30 pm - There have been a lot of polling place changes for today, and the Beacon-News reports that GOTV efforts are out in full swing

One Republican voter in Geneva, who asked to remain anonymous, said he got three “robo-calls” and two visits to the door within a two-hour period reminding him to vote for Oberweis. And that was before noon.

Another robo-call went out from Kane County Clerk’s office John Cunningham, a public service announcement to about 25,000 of the 212,864 registered voters in the county –outside of the city of Aurora voters in the Aurora Election Commission area – who are “displaced” this Saturday.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

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