Monday, November 26, 2007

IL-14: Hastert Resigns...Now

Dennis Hastert's two decade service in the United States House of Representatives which culminated in being the longest serving Republican Speaker of the House came to abrupt end tonight.

The Illinois Republican, who was expected to leave the House soon, resigned effective tonight. His seat will be filled by a special election that will be called by Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich, likely to be held on February 5th to coincide with the Democratic primary in Illinois.

What is that important? Well, Illinois' favorite son, Barack Obama, is running on the Democratic side, and turnout will be huge in Illinois on the Democratic side and it will help the Democratic nominee for the seat.

The district is R+4. George W. Bush won 55% of the vote here. It streches from the Chicago suburbs of Elgin and Aurora through a long swath of Northern Illinios including Dixon to the outskirts of the Quad Cities near the Mississippi River.

Democrat John Laesch won 40% of the vote in 2006 and is running for the open seat, as are Republican State Senator Chris Lauzen of Aurora, who lost the race for Illinois Comptroller in 1998, Republican Mayor Kevin Burns of Geneva, and Republican businessman and former statewide candidate Jim Oberweis, who has run in the GOP primaries for Governor in 2006 and Senator in 2002 and 2004. Democratic candidates include Laesch, attorney Jotham Stein or businessman Bill Foster.

Hastert's depature leaves three Republican seats open, including the open seats og Ohio-5 and Virginia-1, left open by the deaths of Paul Gilmor in September and Jo Ann Davis in October. Both seats are holding special elections on December 11. Republicans currently have 199 members in the House of Representatives, the first time their number has dropped below 200 since 1994. All 233 Democratic seats are filled, but Julia Carson of Indiana is being treated for terminal cancer and is absent from Washington.

Louisiana Governor-elect Bobby Jindal will vacate his seat in January, meaning the GOP will not have a full 202 seats until at least February.

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