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

Democrat claims Hastert's former congressional seat

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. Woland


    Obama's supporters are like those people in Independence Day at the top of building waiting for the aliens to come. Sure they'll have change and that's all they'll have in their pockets.

    HILLARY '08

    March 9, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  2. Thierry

    I'm french,
    The bush administration made the USA look ridiculous to the minds of people in every other countries in the world with his wars and anger.
    Only Obama can rehabilitate the image of the USA, make it a clever, powerful and respected country again.
    Go Obama

    March 9, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  3. Mrs. America

    The American Revolution is alive and well. Go, Dems!!

    March 9, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  4. Cali

    Congratulations Mr. Foster! This is a great example of the kind of change we believe in. Obama supported this candidate and the people of Illinois listened! Keep on rolling Senator Obama!

    Obama '08

    March 9, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  5. Elliott in VA, Swing State

    I am absolutely shocked that you Clinton supporters are sying that Obama is the one trying to "steal" the election!! Least we forget, HE is the one with the most pledged delegates AND leading in the popular vote total. So how can anyone reasonably claim that the FROONT RUNNER is trying to steal a race he is winning??? Looks like the ultimate SPIN job if you ask me. And by the way, Obama could easily win SC, VA, and GA which would make up for Florida. Michigan will go democrate regarless of who is running.

    March 9, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  6. Tyler! Clinton 2008

    First of All, all those Obama supporters must not really want change, they just want Obama. They don't care about the Democratic Party or anything. Its either Obama or no one. Obama has said it himself that he and Hillary had the same stance on issues, just different ways of getting there. If Obama supporters cannot put their disapointment aside and vote for Hillary if she is the nominee, then another 8 years of McCain-Bush. This IS a personality cult, with Obama the master of this cult. I am disapointed in America for not seeing that BOTh these canidates are amazing and either one deserves to win. Guess Obama did enough brainwashing.

    March 9, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  7. That's Reality

    Too bad for us.

    March 9, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
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