U.S. House hopefuls stump for votes in Chicago area

January 20, 2010 2:54:03 PM PST
The 14th Congressional District is an important race to watch this election season.The district stretches from DuPage County almost to the Mississippi River.

Republicans are hoping to take back the seat held for more than 20 years by one of the area's most famed politicians.

The story is about a scientist, a state senator and the son of a former congressman. Democrat and physicist Bill Foster won the 14th Congressional District seat during a special election in 2008, after House Speaker Dennis Hastert resigned in mid-session.

Now, Hastert's son wants to claim his father's old position.

Voters in the district will see a familiar name on the ballot on February 2: Hastert. But this time, it's 31-year-old Ethan Hastert.

"I got in this race because I think we're taxing, borrowing and spending too much at the federal level," the Republican candidate said.

Hastert is a corporate lawyer who once worked in the White House in Dick Cheney's office. He says his parents inspired his public service, but he wants voters to know he is definitely his own man.

"Bottom line is I'm going to be on the ballot in February and November, and the name Denny Hastert isn't. I've been working hard getting around the district and listening to folks and trying to get my message out," Ethan Hastert said.

However, candidate Randy Hultgren hopes voters will look past the well-known name and into the candidates' experience. Hultgren is currently serving his second term as an Illinois state senator. He served four terms in the Illinois House before that.

"Talk is cheap, but voting and standing up for issues, standing up for the district, that's how you know how somebody is going to be when they get to Congress, and I think it's a very clear differentiation between myself and my opponent that I have that record," Hultgren said.

Hultgren says his financial background coupled with his willingness to reach across the aisle to get legislation passed will help bring jobs home to his district.

"Our unemployment rate is higher than the state average and higher than much of the national average, as well. It shouldn't be that way," said Hultgren "This isn't the fFster seat. You know, it's not the Hastert seat. This is the people of the 14th Congressional District who are responsible to electing people to represent them, and I take that very seriously."

The incumbent, Bill Foster, is running unopposed in the Democratic primary. He has been officially endorsed by Pres. Barack Obama.

But, as we learned from the vote in Massachusetts Tuesday, that is not necessarily a winning formula.