Chicago Sun-Times
Staff reports on all things politics - from City Hall to Springfield to Washington, D.C.

Recently in Illinois House 11 Category

Obama Virginia_Newm.jpg
Former President Bill Clinton addresses a crowd at Patrick Henry High School on Saturday in Roanoke, Va. (AP Photo/The Roanoke Times, Jeanna Duerscherl)

It's the White House full-court press.

Just days after securing an endorsement from President Barack Obama, Democratic congressional candidate Bill Foster is getting a lift from someone else who knows 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. pretty well.

Former President Bill Clinton has recorded a robocall that will begin going out Monday to voters in the west-suburban 11th Congressional District, where Foster is facing U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert (R-Ill.).

Here's the script of the call:

This is the new ad Bill Foster is running against Judy Biggert, which in part hits the Republican incumbent for being in Washington too long.

The race between Biggert and Foster for the 11th congressional district is among the most closely watched in the state. Foster, once an incumbent himself, is trying to unseat his opponent, who the Democrats see as particularly vulnerable.

A new poll by the HouseMajorityPAC shows Foster up slightly with 49 percent and Biggert with 45 percent. The margin of error is +- 4.9 percent though, so it's a statistical dead heat.

The two are to meet up on WTTW's Chicago Tonight 7 p.m. Wednesday for a televised debate.

Though the Bill Foster campaign is fuming over a recent campaign ad that charges he personally profited during his time in Congress -- the ad is still running -- with the exception of WGN.

The National Republican Congressional Committee says the ad raises a central question about the timing of the Democrat's personal financial decisions during a critical time in congress -- the 2008 housing market collapse. While some stations asked for more details about the ad before airing it, she said, they aired it after some minor changes.

"Foster got the parachute, you got the crash," the ad says.

"The major Chicago television stations are all running our ad that highlights how Congressman Foster inappropriately used his position on the House Financial Services Committee to personally benefit. We added language to our ad that reinforces the fact that Congressman Foster abused his power," said National Republican Congressional Committee spokeswoman Katie Prill.

Foster is in the midst of a heated race with longtime Congresswoman Judy Biggert in the 11th congressional distirct. Foster's campaign has steadfastly denied the charge in the ad that implies he took part in a form of insider trading, saying he attended no such closed-door meeting.

Campaign numbers released to the Chicago Sun-Times show that U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert has raised more than $620,000 in the third quarter.

The numbers also show the campaign has spent $389,000 and has more than $1.7 million in cash on hand.

The senior congresswoman is in a tight race against Democrat Bill Foster -- one of three hotly contested congressional races that has garnered investment from national parties and that has engaged in ad wars. A new remap cut Biggert out of her own district, having her run in a new, Democrat-leaning territory -- which has her fighting to hang on to her long-held seat.

"Judy is honored and humbled by the outpouring of support for her candidacy from Americans from all walks of life. In the last quarter, Judy has raised more than $620,000, a personal best and a testament to the strength of her campaign as we enter the final weeks," said campaign spokesman Gill Stevens.

Attack ads against Biggert bristled the congresswoman to the point that she canceled a Tuesday debate sponsored by AARP, saying the group's logo and quotes were featured in unfair ads against her.

The Foster campaign reported to the Sun-Times that it hauled in slightly more in the same quarter at $640,000 in what it called "its most successful fundraising quarter this election cycle."

Official disclosures are due to be released Oct. 15th.

Judy Biggert pulls out of Tuesday debate

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert is no longer taking part in a Tuesday debate that was sponsored by AARP and would have been broadcast on WLS.

Biggert, a Republican from Hinsdale, informed the group today -- one day after a House Majority PAC launched a TV ad attack against the congresswoman. The ad includes a pull quote dated April 6, 2011 that was attributed to AARP. The commercial has Biggert's name at the top of the screen and the pull quote says: "Increase costs for beneficiaries while removing Medicare's promise of secure health coverage."

When contacted, AARP confirmed Biggert pulled out but said the congresswoman would have to explain why.

"We were informed by the Biggert campaign that they were withdrawing," said Heather Heppner Associate State Director for Communications for AARP of Illinois. "Certainly, we're disappointed that we cannot continue with the debate."

Biggert and her Democratic opponent Bill Foster are in a tight race for the 11th congressional district, which was redrawn to favor Democrats.

"Congresswoman Biggert has broken her commitment to seniors yet again, and now refuses explain why she voted to slash their hard-earned benefits, " Foster, said in a statement. "The Ryan/Biggert budget would end the guaranteed benefit for Medicare, force seniors to pay more for their prescriptions starting immediately and leave future seniors with thousands of dollars in additional costs. "

Clearly viewing Illinois as fertile ground to win over congressional seats, the House Majority PAC, which aims to put Democrats back into the lead in Washington, on Tuesday disclosed it had pumped $2.4 million into the three key Chicago-area races - including U.S. House races in the 8th, 10th and 11th congressional districts. One ad, called "loud" uses Joe Walsh as a centerpiece to attack three Republican races.

Biggert's campaign says she withdrew because AARP was not acting "as a neutral arbiter."

"We regret that we were compelled to withdraw from next week's AARP debate as the organization has proven itself unable to act as a neutral arbiter. AARP was cited, and its logo used, by no less than three liberal organizations in mail and on television to attack Judy Biggert and impugn her record on issues vital to seniors. When contacted on this matter, AARP officials made it clear that they were unwilling to stop this use of their logo and imprimatur. As a result, we severely doubted the ability of the organization to act as a impartial and objective host in this forum."

Here's the ad specifically targeting Biggert.

And then there's this DCCC ad, which also cites AARP as it slams Biggert, saying she gave herself pay raises while seniors paid more for Medicare.

Biggert snags education nod in 11th

| No Comments | No TrackBacks


The National Education Association/Illinois Education Association announced it is backing U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert in a tough battle over the 11th congressional district.

The nod comes as Biggert is trying to hold onto her long-held seat in the district. She is battling ex-incumbent Bill Foster.

Kathi Griffin, vice president of the Illinois Education Association, said the group bases its endorsement on a candidate's record. Griffin said Biggert's work with education was laudable.

When asked, the group though didn't have anything negative to say about Biggert's opponent.

The NEA-IEA typically backs Democrats, but does endorse some Republicans. For instance, Republican Bob Dold in the 10th also won the endorsement.
Biggert, a moderate, supports teachers' unions.

"Education unions are the teachers," Biggert said today. "They are the ones who are training our kids to compete in this world."

A Foster spokesman said he, too, has had the support of teachers throughout the district, including the support of the Illinois Federation of Teachers.

Longtime GOP Congresswoman Judy Biggert launched a new ad on Thursday attacking 11th congressional opponent Bill Foster and his business history.

"Bill Foster laid off workers and sent jobs to China, no wonder we fired him," the ad says.

The ad describes Foster as a millionaire then says Foster's firm laid off workers "right before Christmas."

The ad is about Foster's Electronic Theater Controls company, a firm that Foster and his brother founded in the 1970s.

From Foster's bio: "ETC provides hundreds of good jobs - with good pay and benefits - here in the Midwest. When he decided to run for a public office in 2007, Bill sold his interest in his company to avoid any conflicts of interest."

The ad is the latest salvo in a tight race in the 11th congressional district -- one of six in Illinois that have been deemed "high priority" by both national parties.

At the same time that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee launched an ad against longtime U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert, the Biggert campaign got its own boost.

The NEA Fund for Children and Public Education spent $546,489 on ad spots after a SuperPAC last week announced it was pit Biggert because she was a Republican who supports gay marriage.

Meanwhile, the DCCC's ad that supports opponent Bill Foster accuses Biggert of "looking out for the wealthy."

Finally, Foster has released his own ad, touting his work as a scientist at Fermilab.