Dems Take Old Hastert Seat

March 8, 2008 8:56 p.m.

The AP has called the race in the Illinois 14th for Democrat Bill Foster.

With more than 96% of precincts reporting, Foster has a 52-48 lead over big-spending GOP candidate Jim Oberweis.

Think Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) is having fun yet as chairman of the NRCC?

Since taking over the NRCC after the 2006 midterms, he’s struggled to compete with the DCCC financially, faced an ugly embezzlement scandal within the NRCC, and now lost the seat held by the last Republican Speaker of the House.

As I hinted at the other day, this race recalls Hastert’s fall from power, the Mark Foley scandal and the general debacle of the last GOP Congress. In some ways it’s the coda to the 2006 elections. But on the other hand, you’ve got a Democrat winning in a special election in a Republican district against a well-funded opponent untainted by scandal. So last hurrah of 2006 — or prelude to 2008?

By the way, we’ll do this all over again in November. Foster has won the right to fill the seat for the remainder of Hastert’s term, when he’ll face Oberweiss again. Both men have already won their parties’ nominations for the general election.

Late Update: In a just released statement, the NRCC spins this one as sound and fury signifying nothing:

“The one thing 2008 has shown is that one election in one state does not prove a trend. In fact, there has been no national trend this entire election season. The presidential election is evidence of that. The Democratic candidates are trading election victories from week to week and the nomination could hinge on a few news cycles. The one message coming out of 2008 so far is that what happens today is not a bellwether of what happens this fall.”

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