A campaign worth watching is the 14th Congressional District

This column hasn’t been shy about its views regarding voters’ choice in the 14th Congressional District Republican primary. The district is the former profit center for Dennis Hastert, who held the seat for twenty years and served as U.S. House Speaker for the equivalent of two presidential terms.

I call that district a profit center because like others in American political history, according to press reports Denny turned humble public service into an avenue for becoming a multi-millionaire.

He even resigned the office early in order to avoid a change in the law that would’ve made him ineligible to jump right into lucrative lobbying. Now, his old political machine is running Hastert’s son Ethan for the seat, evidently to follow in the family business.

As a resident of the district, I was starting to resign myself to the continuation of the Hastert dynasty. However, there have been signs of life recently that make this race worthy of more attention. Ethan’s lone opponent, state Senator Randy Hultgren, has been making an impact.

If residents of the 14th c.d. are going to make a clean break with the past- a good start would be to not reward Hastert Sr. by electing Hastert Jr. When voters are presented with the honest facts about the choice they face in this primary, they’ll make the right decision.

While political campaign mail is often maligned, it still is the primary vehicle for a candidate to connect with the largest number of voters. It’s an imperfect vehicle to be sure, but some good can be accomplished if used properly.

One Hultgren for Congress flyer arrived in mail boxes earlier this week and serves as a good example. Above the address label is a picture of Randy, his wife, and four young children. Above that is a quote that reads in part –

“Randy Hultgren…views legislative office as a service to the people, not an opportunity for gain…”

The other side of the flyer is a comparison of the two candidates’ backgrounds and qualifications:


Randy Hultgren: Successful businessman for 20 years. Represented Illinoisans in the state legislature for over 10 years. Republican Precinct Committeeman for 20 years.

Ethan Hastert: Four years working for a law firm whose clients include AIG and other recipients of government bailouts.



Randy Hultgren: Endorsed by Illinois Citizens for Life PAC, Illinois Federation for Right to Life PAC, Tax Accountability/National Taxpayers United Illinois, Concerned Women for America and Eagle Forum PAC. Guardian of Small Businesses, NFIB-IL. “A” Rating, National Rifle Association. Champion of Free Enterprise Award, IL Chamber of Commerce.

Ethan Hastert: Endorsed by Main Street Partnership, the liberal Republican Organization that has previously supported pro-abortion candidates like DeDe Scozzafava in New York, and former Republican Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania.

Take another look at those endorsements and awards – both Randy’s and Ethan’s. That draws a pretty clear distinction between the two men.

Up next: More on Hultgren v. Hastert