Political "Earthquake" in Hastert's Illinois District Boosts Case for Obama Nomination
Last Saturday a political "earthquake" struck in the ex-urban Republican leaning 14th Congressional District of Illinois. Democrat Bill Foster won the special election to replace retired former House Speaker Dennis Hastert who had represented the district for two decades. The district voted heavily for George Bush both in 2000 and 2004. Hastert was never reelected by less than 64%. Senator John McCain campaigned aggressively for the Republican candidate Jim Oberweis.
Yet Democrat Foster won a convincing 53% to 47% victory.
How is that relevant to Barack Obama? Because Foster choose to link his candidacy directly to Obama. His literature was full of Obama. And the closing TV ad of the campaign was Barack Obama asking the people of the Republican 14th District to support Democrat Foster and his agenda for change in Washington. That message attracted independents and many Republicans. And the spirit of Obama's own campaign helped energize Democrats to volunteer and turnout to vote for Foster.
My wife, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, and I spent Saturday going door-to-door asking people to get out and vote for Foster. At door after door people talked about the need for change -- their readiness to support Foster -- and their support for Obama.
Obama's effect on the Foster race is emblematic of why Democratic superdelegates are beginning to break for Obama.
Not only is Obama the most electable Democratic candidate for president this fall, he's also the candidate that will help elect more Democrats to the House and Senate. And the effect the presidential candidate has on House and Senate races -- as well as races for State Legislature -- will be a big factor in determining who Super Delegates support.
If you don't believe me, pull aside virtually any member of Congress who represents a tough swing district, and ask privately who he or she wants to head the ticket. The verdict is virtually unanimous: they all believe that Obama's nomination will be far more helpful to their own candidacies than Hillary Clinton's. The same goes for candidates trying to take Republican seats.
You hear four reasons for this assessment: