4 Ill. House seats flip to GOP

November 3, 2010 (CHICAGO)

Randy Hultgren, who won the Illinois 14th District race, was part of the turnover.

The bustle of the Loop greeted Hultgren Wednesday morning after knocking off Democrat Bill Foster to claim the 14th District. Stretching from the far western suburbs to western Illinois, it has long been considered a conservative bastion.

"I ran and was elected by the constituents residents of the 14th District so my allegiance is to them," said Hultgren.

Hultgren was one of three GOP winners Tuesday night who recaptured seats in conservative districts from representatives who won in the 2008 Obama wave.

Thirty-two-year old military pilot Adam Kinzinger walked away with the 11th District seat over Debbie Halvorson, a staunch supporter of President Obama's health care reform. Kinzinger said he rejects assertions from GOP party leaders that opposing the president is job one for new Republicans on Capitol Hill.

"The Republicans and the Democrats really have the same goal which is a stronger country that is all both of our goals. We just happen to see it differently in some cases," said Kinzinger.

But the adversarial dynamic is what many analysts say propelled the GOP to victory, especially in an economic environment punctuated by stubbornly high unemployment.

"Without any jobs the Republicans very successfully demonized every virtually every thing that happened, and people believed it," said Don Rose, political consultant.

Rose says many independents who voted Democratic in 2006 and 2008 went back to their home -- the Republican Party -- after being turned off by President George W. Bush. Their willingness to switch is cause for Republican Robert Dold, who held the narrowly Republican Illinois 10th District, to focus on bipartisanship.

"Certainly in the 10th District, thoughtful and independent leadership is what we have had for the last 30 years that is what is demanded of us and that is what we are going to give them," said Dold.

Illinois' congressional delegation last went majority Republican in 2003.

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