On Saturday, Republicans lost what was once thought of as safe congressional seat in a suburb of Chicago. It is one thing to lose a congressional seat, especially now, but this seat is particularly significant because it was held by former Republican Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert--a seat he held for over 20 years. Barack Obama, who hails from Illinois, campaigned intensely for the Democratic Congressman-elect, Bill Foster who narrowly defeated Republican Jim Oberweis. This marks one of two victories on Saturday for Obama who also soundly won in the Wyoming caucuses for the Democratic Presidential nomination.
This Democratic victory is already being painted as a precursor of things to come in November for Republicans, but let's not be too hasty. In 2004, former Democratic Senate Leader Tom Daschle lost his seat in a hotly contested election to Republican John Thune- a race many Republicans thought to be a sign of things to come. Just two years later in 2006, Democrats garnered the majority in both Houses of Congress.
It just goes to show that American voters are paying attention to candidates and what they are saying. Republicans can win in November, they just need to say the right things--and then act on them. Most Americans, much like the base of the Republican party, want to hear about limited government, lower taxes, and security.
Saturday was just the opening fight. The main event is in November. And don't be surprised if we see this Illinois Congressional seat change hands again later this year. Saturday's contest was for filling the remainder of Hastert's term which ends at the end of 2008, leaving Foster and Oberweis scheduled a rematch in November.