Oberweis wins in key battleground Congressional primary
Setting the stage for what will be one of the fall's most-watched national races, Illinois State Sen. Jim Oberweis claimed a narrow victory over fellow State Sen. Sue Rezin and political newcomer Catalina Lauf in Tuesday's race to see which Republican would take on freshman Democratic U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood in the Nov. 3 general election. With 87% of precincts reporting, Oberweis had 12,305 votes to Rezin's 11,154 and Lauf's 10,075.
"This has been a spirited and well-fought campaign," Oberweis said in a written statement. "I have been disappointed in the negative tone that the campaign has taken, but all of that is behind us. Now is the time for us as Republicans to come together and finish the mission, which is to defeat Lauren Underwood in November."
Acknowledging the work of election judges, county clerks and staff who worked in spite of coronavirus concerns, Oberweis said, "Our country is in tumultuous times, and with Americans facing a great series of challenges in these coming weeks and months, I intend to make my case to the voters of the 14th District that I am the candidate with the business and life experience we need in D.C. so our country fully recovers from this national crisis."
Oberweis, a Sugar Grove resident known as the owner of the Oberweis Dairy and its chain of retail stores, Lauf, a Woodstock businesswoman, and Rezin, a Morris resident who has never lost an election, each captured more than 20 percent of the unofficial vote, well ahead of challengers Ted Gradel of Naperville, James Marter of Oswego, Jerry Evans of Warrenville and Anthony Catella of St. Charles.
"Jim worked hard and deserves our support in November," Rezin said.
Underwood ran unopposed in the Democratic primary race for the 14th Congressional District, which snakes through the suburbs from the Wisconsin state line to the Joliet area and includes parts of DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties. It is expected to be a key battleground in November as Democrats try to keep their majority in the House, and Republicans vie to win it back.
Until two years ago, the 14th Congressional District had been solidly Republican, with U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren of Plano winning four terms. Before that, an earlier version of the district had been represented for one term by Democrat Bill Foster. Until two years ago, Foster, who now represents the 11th District, had been the only Democrat to interrupt the Republican dominance that had been exerted for the previous 20 years by since-disgraced former Speaker Dennis Hastert of Plano.
When Underwood, a young moderate Democrat from Naperville with a nursing degree who had done work for the Obama administration, beat Hultgren, the 14th Congressional District became a national story for both parties. Underwood beat six other Democratic hopefuls in the 2018 primary to take on the incumbent Hultgren.
With the nationwide interest in the district, the candidates are expected to attract political donations and support from across the country.