March 9th, 2008
03:20 PM ET
14 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. Belinda

    Another obviously indication that citizens want CHANGE! But, the Clintons will continue the gutter politics and hand the presidency to the Republicans for 8 more years of status quo. Yes, eight years because many of us will wash our hands of the Democratic party and bogus democratic processess.

    March 9, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  2. Yes We Can

    Just the beginning of things to come. Hang on folks, the Obama train is coming .......SWEEP SWEEP SWEEP

    March 9, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  3. Claire

    Yes, people are sick of Bush and tired of business as usual in Washington, and that's why the Democrats will finally be able to take over Congress and the presidency again. If those running are Democrats with a solid platform and record, they will win whether Obama or Clinton or some other Democrat is backing them. So, Foster is right, Republicans can not be saved from defeat against strong Democratic challengers, regardless of who backs them.

    March 9, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  4. Dr. Vincent Petrosino

    Now we have proof that Obama's currency in hope has an effect on other campaigners. In a match-up between an Obama backed candidate (the underdog) and a McCain backed candidate (the frontrunner), the Obama candidate wins on the message of change! Yes, Illinois! You did it and you should be soooooo proud. As a Pennsylvanian backing Obama and getting ready for our April primary, I am heartened not for myself but for all the young folks out there who are electrified by this charismatic man! Let our young people carry the day!

    March 9, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  5. BL-NYC

    Wow... Senator Obama is actually taking credit for someone else winning a seat in Congress?
    This is a joke right? Are we being punked?
    Next stop, King Obama?
    Unreal... Give us a BREAK!!!

    March 9, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  6. T.L.

    Hilliary Clinton, do America a favor and exit this contest for President. The agreement and/or arrangement she and Bill made in college was simply that. Thay didn't have a marriage like most, they were all about the power. They both planned to be president and that's why their union has worked. This is also why she stuck by Bill with all of the affairs he has had during their marriage, from Governor to President, and there has been many! I believe the rumors that are now coming to the front that claims Hilliary is a lesbian is true. America does not need a lesbian in the white house. If that is the case Bill will continue with his affairs with other women, we will have to deal with that mess again, because he will have too much time on his hands and Hilliary being a lesbian is not good because she will try to run the country on her confused emotions like she has done with her failing campaign. We see her on television crying when something doesn't go her way. Hilliary I don't know who will receive this suggestion, but I pray whoever receives it will get it to you and you hopefully will do the right thing and exit this race. You can't beat McCain! The reason so many democrats are voting now is because of Barrack Obama! If he doesn't become the party's nominee, you have no chance of beating McCain. You have too much baggage. We remember the scandals of the 90's with White Water.. the whole Ken Starr thing and the impeachment of Bill Clinton! This is why the media don't like you it has nothing to do with the media being soft on Barrack Obama. You have a lot of negative history. When Barrack wins the nomination, every negro in america, democrat and other supporters will come out to vote for him in November, with that we will beat the republicans in the popular vote as well as the electorial college. Should you win the nomination, there is a lot of talk that people will not go to the polls to vote in November and others are saying that they will vote for McCain, inspite of them being a democrat. Truth is, a lot of republicans are voting for you in the primary because they know they can beat you in November. Like I said Obama will cause more democrats to vote for him should he become the nominee. With Obama, Democrats win, with you we loose, get out of the race please!

    March 9, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  7. Dora

    Business as usual. Yes it is. On his coattails Obama says. Well that is business as usual. Taking credit for someone else's election. Hillary 08 !!

    March 9, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  8. Steven

    Of course the Republicans can say that as they have a butt wooping coming there way in 08. It may even be the extinction of Republicans as the Democrats have a good (will be a hard fight though) to get 60 seats in the senate.

    March 9, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  9. Richard, St. Paul, MN

    Republicans have proven themselves to be nothing but blind, greedy and corrupt. It's gotten so that I don't believe anything they say anymore. The last eight years have turned them from the 'no new taxes' party into the 'borrow, tax and pocket' party. The $10 trillion debt they've racked up is shameful, as is the war, and their handling of our economy.

    March 9, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  10. jeff b.

    This was cool, but remember, this was in illinois, barack obama's home state. He should have a lot of pull.

    March 9, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  11. HD

    Congratulations......Obama already changing the political map and helping a democrat win a seat that was suppose to go republican. This demonstrates that Obama has the possibility of changing the political map and win "red" states.

    March 9, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  12. alvin

    Yep Yep There will be Blood and this no Country for Old man


    March 9, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  13. ProudVet

    MC CAIN this time VERY IRRELEVANT....and remember, it was congressman Hastert´s district.

    ex-pow just like many.........

    March 9, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  14. HD

    John Edwards, please endorse Obama soon so we can see the Obama/Edwards ticket in November!

    March 9, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  15. JT

    Wonderful news for Illinois. It's gonna be a great year for politics.

    March 9, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  16. Grif

    Yes I strongly think John Mccain has got a lot more Experience, then you Mr Obama. In addition, that why you're not the right choice.

    It takes a great deal of Experience to match John Mccain, and that's why Hillary Clinton who also has a great of Experience,.

    Will be needed as a leader which ever side she is left in. Commander in Chief' or left as

    the Opposition.

    March 9, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  17. Andre Barnett

    I wonder why it is always Hillary's name mentioned first on the news. Why this subconscious effort to place her in the forefront. Barack's campaign is not the ones who gave the wink to the Canadian officials, it was Clinton's campaign. Why is this not placed in the forefront? This is not what I call fair coverage. What is the experience does Hillary have in foreign affairs (problem resolution, treaty agreements, ect.)? Does she have any at all, or was she in the 80 other countries having tea and cakes? I believe the latter of the two. I served in the ARMY during the reign of the Clinton presidency, I was in many of the places Hillary states she has been an American Diplomat. Nothing decisive was accomplished by her being there. She had virtually no input. So what is her experience.

    March 9, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  18. Bob Stephens

    Let's get these roadblock Republicans out of office so we can begin to clean up the mess that the neo-cons have left us with these last 8 years.

    March 9, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  19. Yes we can

    All you parents and Obama supporters who post: the rules are the rules, what does it teach our children if there are no consequences if you break the rules?

    It teaches our Children democracy and shows them right from wrong.
    The rules ARE the rules- and the rules say everyone gets to EXERCISE their right to vote in America.

    It is WRONG to make a rule that prevents people from exercising their right to vote. Your children SHOULD know this.

    IF someone makes SUCH a rule to disenfranchise voters, then it is time for CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE.
    Why don't you want your children to know about Democracy
    The Clinton supporters struggled for suffrage, we marched with Martin Luther King, we worked to end discrimination against minorities, we struggled against asexism. We understand these things.

    Obama has positioned himself on the wrong side of this debate at his peril. Advantage goes to Clinton. No matter who wins the vote, the vote must be allowed and must be counted.

    March 9, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  20. Jim

    Gee, you mean this inexperienced rhetorician with no solutions and no specifics to his platform was able to help bring this off in a rock-ribbed Republican district?

    Where was the experienced candidate? Oh, that's right. She was busy touting John McCain in a bid to denigrate her fellow Democrat.

    Well, I guess if you're experienced in political slime, that's what you fall back on.

    March 9, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  21. Jose Habib

    Another big reason why Obama needs to be the nominee: He will help Democrats get elected to the House and Senate in all 50 states, not just NY and CA.

    March 9, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  22. Post me

    Obama positions himself on the wrong side of this debate for counting votes.
    We need to teach our children to follow the rules- starting with the constitution which says we have the right to vote.

    We need to teach our children to DISOBEY rules that are WRONG and violate the freedom of Americans.

    In a democracy no one can make a rule to throw away people's votes.

    Teach your children this, now, before they grow up thinking otherwise.

    March 9, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  23. Indiana Bob

    A Clinton/Obama would work. But Obama has alienated Florida and Michigan voters by refusing to count their votes. All that is required for those votes to count is for both candidates to agree — the DNC is not going to argue with its two front-runners. So Obama on top of the ticket would be disasterous. How can the Democrats win if Michigan and Florida go Republican?

    Besides, the Obama moonies will have moved on to another new fad by November. The voters going to the polls in November will be looking for experience and a voting record to determine where the candidates stand on specific issues. That leaves Obama out of the running on both counts.

    March 9, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  24. garry williams

    The republicans are wrong. It is a trend-a continuation of 2006 Democratic landslide.

    What next, Hillary should "join" McCain. Since she states they are the Best. Hillary & McCain vs Obama? Obama wins.

    Florida and the republican shenanigans? Name the members who "authorized" the change. Are they still in power? Do they continue to make decisions? Did they have conversations with Hillary or Bill privately.

    Stay Tune
    Garry in Georgia

    March 9, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  25. Mark Henderson

    Does Bill Foster now become a superdelegate?

    March 9, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
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