Democrat Wins Hastert's District in Illinois

It's not worth more than any other seat in the House, but still, it was satisfying to watch Saturday as Illinois 14, the roost of former House speaker Denny_Hastert, fell to the Democrats. Despite gerrymandering in the 90s designed to protect the seat for the conservatives, wealthy Democratic scientist and businessman Bill Foster captured 53% of the vote to beat wealthy Republican businessman Jim Oberweis, a richer-than-smart perennial political wannabe who has previously lost two primaries for senator and one for governor.

According to the AP, "Republicans had been hoping to hold on to the district that President Bush easily carried in 2004 with 55 percent of the vote."

Although enjoyable, the victory could be short-lived. The special election was held now because Hastert abandoned the position early in order to avoid new lobbying regulations that would have limited his ability to cash in on his Service to the People. Both candidates are already back on the trail in what promises to be a hard-fought rematch in November.

Even if he wins, though, Foster won't threaten the conservative majority in Congress. In a repeat of 2006, Democratic kingmaker Rep. Rahm Emanuel is working overtime to assure that the Democrats who are added to the majority in the fall are reliable supporters of the status quo. For the GOP, on the other hand, Foster's win isn't good news. If they can't hold a "safe" district that has been receiving millions of dollars in pork and earmarks for decades from the longest serving Republican speaker in history, what can they hang on to?

Karl Rove was right that he and George Bush would leave behind a permanent political majority in Washington. He just got the party wrong.

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