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« GOP Approps Battle Settled | Blog Home Page | Narrow WA Gov Race »

McCain, Obama Head To Aurora

Adding to the attention this competitive House race has already received, presidential candidates are now weighing in on the special election in Illinois's vacant 14th District. As we wrote Wednesday, both parties are showing optimism for winning the seat.

As the suburban Chicago Courier News reports, Democratic nominee Bill Foster's campaign announced yesterday that Senator Barack Obama has filmed a new TV ad with Foster. A day earlier, Republican nominee Jim Oberweis's campaign announced Senator John McCain will be attending a fundraiser for Oberweis next week.

This added interest shows how important winning the March 8 special election is, giving the winner the incumbency advantage in the November general election.

Of course, Foster still is not set as the Democratic nominee in November, as his primary competitor John Laesch refuses to concede, the Shaw News Service reports.

Though a first-time candidate, Foster is familiar with Congressional campaigns, as the Chicago Tribune writes. He claims to be the mastermind behind the get-out-the-vote effort in Pennsylvania's 8th District in 2006, helping Democrat Patrick Murphy oust Republican incumbent Mike Fitzpatrick in the suburban Philadelphia district. Republicans familiar with Oberweis' campaign scoff at the notion that Foster's formula provided the crucial boost to Murphy, who beat a Republican incumbent by 1500 votes in a district President Bush lost twice.

Strategists agree that turnout will be key to both the special election and the battle in November, likely featuring the same candidates. If Foster's model really worked in Pennsylvania, he has a a fighting chance this year.

-- Kyle Trygstad

Update: An outside group has branded Foster the "mad scientist," and agree with them or not, this web video's pretty clever: