Thursday, March 06, 2008

Illinois 14: Now a Toss-Up

By Nathan L. Gonzales

The race to succeed former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R) is too close to call, and we've changed our rating of the race from Lean Republican to Toss-Up, in advance of Saturday's special election.

Jim Oberweis (R) and Bill Foster (D) have both spent heavily from their own pockets, and both the NRCC and DCCC are involved as well. A March 3-4 SurveyUSA poll for Roll Call (subscription required) showed Foster leading the race 52%-45%, but some private polling contradicts the Roll Call numbers.

Republicans are at serious risk of losing the seat, but they could benefit from turnout in the Republican-leaning district. It would be a symbolic victory for the Democrats, and NRCC Chairman Tom Cole predicted that if his party were to lose the seat there would be a flood of stories spelling out the end of the GOP. At least he knows what he's in for.