March 9th, 2008
03:20 PM ET
7 years ago

Democrat claims Hastert's former congressional seat

Barack Obama appeared in an ad for Democrat Bill Foster.
Barack Obama appeared in an ad for Democrat Bill Foster.

(CNN) – A Democratic victory in a special election to fill the congressional seat held by former Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert is a sign of things to come, according to the party. Barack Obama’s campaign says it’s a demonstration of his electoral coattails.

First-time candidate Bill Foster, a physicist, beat Republican Jim Oberweis, a money manager and head of a giant dairy. The national Republican Party spent millions on his behalf.

Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen, who leads the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said Foster’s victory demonstrated to Republican candidates that “Senator (John) McCain, who campaigned with the Republican nominee, cannot save them from defeat this November against strong Democratic challengers, even in districts that voted overwhelmingly for President Bush.”

The race had shaped up to be a presidential face-off of sorts, with McCain stumping for Oberweis and Obama backing Foster.

“You may think you have to wait until November to vote for change. But here in Illinois, you can start Saturday March 8th. That’s when you can vote to send Bill Foster to Congress,” said Obama in a campaign ad for the underdog candidate.

In a statement released by his campaign Saturday night, Obama said "The people of Illinois have sent an unmistakable message that they're tired of business-as-usual in Washington."

Republicans dispute the characterization. “The one thing 2008 has shown is that one election in one state does not prove a trend,” National Republican Congressional Committee spokeswoman Karen Hanretty said Saturday. “…The one message coming out of 2008 so far is that what happens today is not a bellweather of what happens this fall.”

–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (207 Responses)
  1. REDMAN

    I am Native American.
    I am appalled by the racial bias of Roland Martin and Amy Holmes.
    They want an Obama win even if it has to be a stolen election.

    Let's face it, Obama has just a slight lead- not impressive since the caucus system favors his demographic and handicaps Clinton. And, millions of votes CAST by Clinton supporters in Florida are not getting counted.

    A stolen Victory is no victory at all- even for an African American.

    March 9, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  2. B. Smart

    This is a sign of real change of which Senator Obama speaks. . . . .Why has cnn stop allowing the comments on Senator Obama's win in
    Wyoming? And comments on the delusions of Hillary's Joint ticket?

    It just so happens that the sleeping little girl in Clinton's "twilight zone"
    style telephone ad, is a precinct captain for Senator Obama's campaign.
    She wants to run a counter ad for Obama. This is priceless.

    YES WE CAN.

    March 9, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  3. Elly

    for all those Americans who want either Hillary or Obama remember they are both *Democrats*!!
    If you dont want another *same old Washington* get out there and vote for Democrats at the state and federal level in the fall election
    That way when either Hillary or Obama get the nomination either one or the other will have a *majority * in the house and senate to get their bills through like healthcare and changes in the Iraq war that is tearing the economy down
    In spite of how you feel about either , get past that and vote DEMOCRATIC
    McCain is just more BUSH and his policies
    say *goodbye* to the past 8 years of hell!!!

    March 9, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  4. Obama 08

    Another Obama Democratic victory over john mc cain. Obama the tiger is on the prowl.OBAMA THE TIGER,OBAMA OBAMA THE TIGER,OBAMA THE TIGER,OBAMA THE TIGER,OBAMA THE TIGER,Obama said i (“You may think you have to wait until November to vote for change. But here in Illinois, you can start Saturday March 8th. That’s when you can vote to send Bill Foster to Congress,” said Obama in a campaign ad for the underdog candidate.)OBAMA THE TIGER,OBAMA OBAMA THE TIGER,OBAMA THE TIGER,OBAMA THE TIGER,OBAMA THE TIGER,YES WE CAN!!!!!!!

    March 9, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  5. Chris, Middletown, CT

    I'm a Republican – and I support Obama....its good that he is showing how he CAN unite the country. Good for him – contribute to him – I did.

    March 9, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  6. Ardnuas

    Voters.....Who represents "AMERICA" best ? Who would our "FRIENDS" around the world like to UNITE with ?
    Obama/Edwards08 Si Se Puede

    March 9, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  7. Casey, Atlanta

    I would bet money that Senator Clinton backed him also, but it would be just like CNN to tilt it the other way, and implicitly allow the readers to draw the conclusion that, "hey, Obama's support has weight, see? We should vote for him!" How manipulative and self serving!

    March 9, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  8. FOR HILLARY

    let's get all the Republicans out!

    March 9, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  9. Brenda Miller

    Wow, Obana's ego gets bigger every second. Next he will be claiming he is responsible for the sun coming out today. He will soon need the world to land the plane carrying his ego

    March 9, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  10. Adam_B

    This was a great strategy from the Obama camp in its inevitable fight for superdelegates. Not only did Barack Obama provide an endorsement for Bill Foster, but his campaign organization helped by providing some material support, including volunteers and a functional phone banking system to help Mr. Foster's campaign reach out to voters.

    Clearly, Barack Obama just gained a superdelegate in Bill Foster. However, more significant than that, he sent a clear message to the other superdelegates that Barack Obama would provide a huge coat tail in Congressional races around the country this Fall. So yes, in the Presidential Race, states like Wyoming will probably fall in the Republican column, but Barack Obama, might end up nonetheless bringing out enough voters to get some extra Congressional seats.

    March 9, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  11. Johnboy

    Obama steal the primary at your own peril.
    The disenfranchised will not back you in the end if Clinton was knocked out of the race by unfair Media coverage, unfair caucus system, and the DNC denying voters in 2 states, their constitutional RIGHT to vote.
    3rd world politics?
    In the end democrats who believe in democracy won't stand by their man Obama, if that is the case. We all were willing to go with either at the start.
    Now only Clinton is an option since she is the only champion of the people- no arm twisting there. Just facts.

    March 9, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  12. Steve H minneapolis

    Change is in the air and its not spring. Finally their will be intelligent's in Washington , by the way No way; will Obama take HILLARY as a running mate it is another subtle manipulation played on the American public by the Clintons, Obama is to smart to fall for that he will not be lulled into letting down his guard.

    March 9, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  13. Zach

    CNN as usual through unique spin made this story about Obama. Congratulations on your creativeness.

    March 9, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  14. at

    Very good. I think this is a sign of things to come.

    Obama 2008

    March 9, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  15. Elly

    I hope Senator Obama wins but
    you should not rule this out Senator Obama if Hillary wins
    its whats *BEST* for the democratic party that really counts come the fall and together either way you would be *unstoppable*

    March 9, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  16. Marcia, Marcia, Marcia in CA

    Not a bell weather. More like a Democratic tidal wave.

    $42 million dollars to send informational letters? How stupid is that? $4 a gallon gas when it shows we are actually using less?? But, NOW, it's because the dollar is weak. The US owes China billions of dollars in debt. Where is the oil in Iraq going?

    Bush was against torture before he was for it...

    The country is ready for an impeachment of this lying, criminal administration.

    Hillary '08

    March 9, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  17. Dominoid

    Man the republicans are almost as ridiculous at spinning things as the Clintons. This is a bad sign for republicans. When Obama is the nominee for the democrats, you can expect to see more "upsets" in the fall that will bring in a coalition of change to Washington to allow President Obama use his "magic wand" on Washington.

    March 9, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  18. Rich

    Congratulations to Foster. This is great news for the Obama camp – it goes to show how he can help the downticket dems in the GE. I hope the other SD's notice.

    March 9, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  19. enomisa

    An Obama win is the voice of Oprah, the weight of the Kennedy name, the influence of Kerry and Dean and the corruption of the DNC speaking.

    An Obama win is the result of disenfrachising voters- via exclusive Caucuses, and iIlegal DNC rules that deny people their vote.

    An Obama win is the result of Media swaying public opinion For HIM and Against Clinton.

    A Clinton win is the voice of the people, showing up to vote AGAINST all bias and odds. It is the will of the people who actually BELIEVE in the Democratic process.

    March 9, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  20. jp/michigan

    The people of Illinois should know better, your political business is the same as usual in Washington. All the things you preach, you would stop, you do. Double talking and use of lobbyist and special interest groups.

    March 9, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  21. S. Edwards

    Maybe this is a sign of how unstoppable Barack Obama will be on the TOP of the ticket!

    March 9, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  22. Henri

    "The race had shaped up to be a presidential face-off of sorts, with McCain stumping for Oberweis and Obama backing Foster."

    So apparently Obama already won the nomination? Come on CNN, I expect better reporting.

    Clinton 08

    March 9, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  23. OBAMAman

    I had already switched over to Clinton- but now it has come down to the issue of the people's RIGHT to vote. And I now denounce and reject Obama on constitutional grounds.

    Clinton is now fighting the battle for the RIGHT to vote- a right that we have all been taking for granted because our constitution guarentees it. But the DNC thinks it can make rules to over ride the constitution and disenfranchise the voters.
    The General Media is silent on the issue.
    The African American talking heads, like Ronald Martin and Amy Holmes, feel that Obama is entitled to win- even if it is by cheating and stealing the election. White people spewing such bias would be silenced and fired.

    People reclaim the democratic process- give everyone who wants to vote the right to exercise that right.

    March 9, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  24. M Guinn Ventura, CA

    Ok- let's take notice! The call for change has happened in an area the Republicans have ruled a long time. The GOP put up lots of money and John McCain backed the opponent!
    Wake up Democrats! Obama really WILL bring change. Clinton is Washington politics at it's worse.

    March 9, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  25. Slap Stick, FLORIDA

    The Republican party has seen anything yet. Wait until November 2008. If the Dems Super Delegates don't Screw up at the convention, the Dem Party will win in November.

    Dems 08

    March 9, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
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