Heavyweight congressional battle: Biggert vs. Foster in November
By Matt Hanley email@example.com March 20, 2012 9:56PM
Bill Foster gives his victory speech at Village Links golf Course in Glen Ellyn on Tuesday, March 20, 2012. Foster defeated Jim Hickey to with the Democratic nomination for the 11th congressional district. | Brian Powers~Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 22, 2012 8:06AM
In the November general election, it will be current vs. former lawmakers seeking to represent most of Aurora, Naperville and Joliet in Congress.
Former U.S. Rep. Bill Foster was convincingly ahead of his two opponents late Tuesday in the race for the Democratic primary in the new 11th Congressional District.
In most counties in the district, Foster, 56, of Naperville, had significantly more votes than his challengers — Orland Park Fire Protection District President Jim Hickey and former Aurora Township Clerk Juan Thomas — had combined. Thomas, an Aurora resident, came closest to beating Foster in Aurora, where Thomas had about 35 percent of the vote and Foster was at about 60 percent.
Foster will now face longtime U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert, a Hinsdale Republican. Biggert, 74, served the 13th District since 1999, but her district was sliced into five parts in last year’s redistricting. She was unopposed in the Republican primary for the 11th District after two potential challengers were removed from the ballot.
Foster had represented the 14th District from 2008 to 2011, losing a re-election bid to Rep. Randy Hultgren. Foster moved from Batavia to Naperville to run in the 11th District, which has no incumbent. In the primary, Foster stressed his dedication to returning Fermilab and Argonne National Laboratory to prominence. He also talked repeatedly about health care and Wall Street reform.
Tuesday night, Foster sounded tired, but happy with his convincing lead.
“We’re feeling pretty good,” he said. “I have spent the day thanking all my volunteers so I haven’t had much of a chance to study the results. I’m not aware of any shockers.”
Foster quickly returned to a familiar theme that has worked for him in the past, saying the general primary will be a race between a scientist/businessman (himself) and a career politician/lawyer (Biggert).
The new district includes parts of Kane, Kendall, DuPage, Will and Cook counties. The district covers most of Aurora, Montgomery, Oswego, Plainfield, Naperville, Lisle and Joliet.
The district will likely be a national focal point as Democrats try to win back a majority in the House of Representatives. Biggert and Foster have significant fundraising capabilities.
For the most part, both candidates ignored their primary opponents and took shots at each other. (Kane County clerk Jack Cunningham, who was disqualified from the Republican ballot after multiple challenges, said he is considering whether to run in the November election as an independent.)
In the 14th Congressional District, retired researcher Dennis Anderson of Gurnee had a significant lead over computer consultant Jon Farnick of Woodstock in the Democratic primary. Both men admit they have an uphill battle against incumbent Hultgren, a Winfield Township Republican with more campaign money and more name recognition than they have combined.
The new 14th Congressional District touches seven counties, including Kane, Kendall and DuPage. It stretches from Illinois’ northern border, south to Kendall County and Naperville, while grabbing large chunks of the Tri-Cities along the way.