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Illinois: Foster Leads Oberweis in Latest Democratic Poll

Scientist Bill Foster (D) had a narrow edge over dairy magnate Jim Oberweis (R) less than two weeks away from a special election to replace former Speaker Dennis Hastert (R), according to a new poll released this week by the Foster campaign.

The survey, conducted Feb. 21-24 by Global Strategy Group, tested 402 likely voters in the March 8 special election. The poll had a 4.9-point margin of error.

In a ballot test, 45 percent of likely poll- goers chose Foster, 41 percent picked Oberweis, and 15 percent were undecided. Earlier this month, in another Global Strategy Group poll, 43 percent picked Foster, 45 chose Oberweis, and 12 percent were undecided.

Among independent voters, 47 percent picked Foster and 25 percent chose Oberweis, the poll showed.

Meanwhile, the two candidates and House leaders continue to pour money into the district. According to recent Federal Election Commission filings, Oberweis has received political action committee contributions from House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Republican Conference Chairman Adam Putnam (Fla.) and Reps. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and John Mica (R-Fla.).

As of Tuesday, the primary and special elections have cost Oberweis $2.28 million and Foster $1.32 million out-of-pocket.

Appropriations panel cardinal John Murtha (D-Pa.), Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.) and House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) also have recently given Foster campaign contributions.

DCCC Lobs Pre-emptive Strike Against Ozinga

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is trying to scare off a possible run by Chicago-area concrete baron Martin Ozinga, whose name is circulating among local Republicans as a possible ballot replacement for New Lenox Mayor Tim Baldermann (R) in the 11th district.

Baldermann, who won the Feb. 5 primary in retiring Rep. Jerry Weller’s (R) district, abruptly ended his campaign last week. Since then, Ozinga’s name has circulated as a possible replacement on the November ballot, but Democrats are dithering none in distributing a January 2005 Chicago Tribune article detailing Ozinga’s decades-old business dealings.

According to the Tribune article, Ozinga’s concrete firm, Ozinga Bros. Inc., allegedly created a sham business “to win city business reserved exclusively for minority-owned companies.” The Chicago city government in 1985 began requiring white-owned construction firms to subcontract 25 percent of their business to minority-owned firms.

“Martin, Richard and James Ozinga — all white men — enlisted the help of two African-American churches in Chicago’s depressed South Side, giving nine church members 51 percent ownership to technically meet the city’s rules,” the Tribune reported at the time. “But two of the African-American church members now say the spinoff company was bogus and that minorities had little control of the business.”

Whomever the Republicans select will square off in November against Debbie Halvorson (D), the highly touted state Senate Majority Leader.
— Matthew Murray

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