8 months ago Associated Press
Will face Sen. Dick Durbin in November
From Associated Press:
Illinois Republicans on Tuesday chose state senator and dairy magnate Jim Oberweis to challenge powerful, three-term Democratic U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin in November, as the party fights to remain relevant in a state in which Democrats hold almost all statewide offices and a substantial majority of congressional and legislative seats.
Oberweis, 67, of Sugar Grove, had greater name recognition than his primary opponent, Downers Grove businessman and political newcomer Doug Truax, because of the chain of ice cream stores his family owns and his previous campaigns for U.S. Senate. But he also heavily outspent Truax.
The decision also was crucial because the Senate candidate tops the GOP ticket, just above a governor's race that the party believes it can win after more than a decade of Democratic control.
Oberweis said he hopes to help the GOP retake control of the U.S. Senate to "change the direction of this country."
The 43-year-old Truax, who owns a health insurance consulting firm, had the support of former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, a Peoria Republican, but it wasn't enough.
Nathan Piper, 21, a political science major at the University of Illinois at Springfield, said Oberweis got his vote on name recognition alone.
"I was at Republican Day at the (state) fair and I probably saw (Truax) there, but otherwise, I didn't know who he was," Piper said.
Veronique Escalante, a 40-year-old consultant from Glen Ellyn, said she voted for Oberweis because he "runs a successful business."
The GOP hopes to at least give Durbin a scare, but after 32 years in Washington, he has a big war chest. Even so, some political observers consider Durbin vulnerable because he helped pass President Barack Obama's health care program.