IL-14: Jim Oberweis the Fragile Frontrunner, Part 1: Electability

Jim Oberweis (r) with House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy earlier this month

Today, McHenry County Blog begins its follow-up series to the initial rankings published last week, ranking the candidates in the 14th district Republican primary.

The rankings, based on the objective evidence of 3rd quarter fundraising and subjective observations are as follows:

  1. Jim Oberweis
  2. Ted Gradel
  3. Sue Rezin
  4. Catalina Lauf

While the initial rankings only assessed the first 7 announced candidates who still plan to be on the 2020 Republican primary ballot, Jerry Evans’ entry into the race on Monday has enlarged the field to 8.

Finally, multiple campaigns have been telling McHenry County Blog there are 2 to 3 additional last minute entries about to announce, names unknown. We remind everyone at this point in the election cycle, a lot of rumors are floating around, and what someone else may or may not do is something out of your control. Just focus on your own campaign.

Oberweis’ Strengths

Briefly, here are the strengths cited that placed Oberweis at #1 in the October 18th story which was clear to state Oberweis is a “nominal frontrunner”:

Condensed view of Q3 fundraising including Cash On Hand for the Primary

Now, an objective look, with discernment, of Oberweis’ opportunities as McHenry County Blog sees them, based on months of observing Oberweis’ 2020 congressional campaign, and other subjective observations.

Electability in General Election 11/3/2020

This factors down to 3 observations:

  • Age
  • Career Politician
  • Florida, including wife’s Florida residency

Jim Oberweis is 73 years old, and should he win the primary, he will be 74 years old in the fall of next year. In many ways, he is the Joe Biden of the 8-person 14th district Republican field. Unlike the Democratic presidential field Biden is running, Oberweis is the only septuagenarian running for Congress.

And when Biden entered the presidential field, he was the frontrunner for many months. Look at him now. His fundraising has fallen off considerably, and so has his top spot in several polls to slightly younger candidates.

Combined with his age, Oberweis is the only real “career politician” in the race. Going back to the turn of the century, Oberweis has been a candidate on the ballot in 7 of the previous 9 election cycles beginning with the 2002 cycle.

His high profile losses for U.S. Senate in 2002, 2004 and 2014, governor in 2006 and Congress twice in 2008, were years ago. He did win election to an open state senate seat in 2012 and won reelection in 2016.

And, Oberweis in one of the 2 election cycles he was not on the ballot, he was elected to the Republican state central committee by the committeemen in the 14th district (2001 apportionment) in 2010.

But the Democrats pulled out something on Monday which will dog Oberweis in the General Election if he is the nominee.

Source: DCCC Press Release 10/21/19

On Sunday, McHenry County Blog published an article about Rooney’s surprise retirement announcement, and admittedly musing about a potential Oberweis run for Congress in Florida, by Mr. or Mrs. Oberweis, and noting the congressional primary in Florida is late August.

The above Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) press release did not source McHenry County Blog like was done last month.

And then yesterday’s POLITICO Illinois Playbook headline published this headline:

Does Oberweis have one-foot-out-the-door from Illinois, especially during the winter months?

Several years back, a local township assessor worked out of their Florida home in their final term. Be certain, the Democrats will use the Florida residency & home ownership questions, and remind voters one reason Underwood was elected in 2018 was because her predecessor was not in-district enough.

Especially with a Democratic incumbent congresswoman who at this point, does not own property in her own name in Illinois, let alone in another state.

The Democrats are already prepared for an Oberweis nomination and already have “in-the-can” opposition research on Oberweis and his Florida properties ownership. Also, most married couples do not have 1 spouse as a legal resident and registered voter in another state.

The Chicago Sun-Times confirmed earlier this year Mrs. Oberweis is still a resident of the state of Florida in a February article. As the blog pointed out, we do not know if that has changed in the past 8 months.

While many people, even modest incomes, own property in another state and will take advantage of the tax laws of that state, that will not play well with General Election voters. Especially in the face of the class warfare the Democrats will be banging for socialism.

And speaking of class warfare, this Facebook post appeared on Oberweis’ Facebook page:

It’s a beautiful autumn picture and many residents aspire to own a home with that kind of view some day if they don’t own one already.

But in a country with a median annual income of $63,000, the bulk of voters do not own a home with a lake in the backyard.

Given how any Republican will be tied to President Trump and his tax policies that allegedly “favor the rich”, images inferring Oberweis’ fruit of his lifetime of labor and his Florida holdings projecting an image he does not pay his fair share of taxes, in spite being legal, undermines his electability in a fall match-up against Underwood.

Combined with the 40 years age difference, Florida properties ownership and the residency of his wife, and the career politician Oberweis exhibits in a projected matchup against Underwood, Republican primary voters will have much to consider if they want to go with the choice of Oberweis, or go with someone younger than Oberweis and without the career politician baggage, and living in one home year round that represents the residents of the district.

Part 2 will cover Oberweis’ Opportunities of his endorsements and overconfidence/over-reliance on faulty analytics.



IL-14: Jim Oberweis the Fragile Frontrunner, Part 1: Electability — 6 Comments

  1. This piece is so badly written as to be pointless.

    Admittedly Milk Shake Jim is a lost cause but not really because he has a good view in his backyard.

    And what is the point of calling these “candidate rankings” when you admit to their subjectivity?

    Have you ever written for anything other than this blog?

  2. Mr. Heinrich, I appreciate your opinion, and opinions vary, but I think you’ll find Part 2 brings everything together.

    But please, don’t omit the objectivity of metrics used, most notably fundraising through the 3rd quarter, and why this race is culled at the moment to 4 candidates out of 8.

    Yes, I’ve heard the rumors too of 1 to 3 candidates ready to jump in, with $300,000 seed money on day 1.

    I’ll believe those rumors once I see a filing.

  3. I think one of Rezin’s biggest liabilities is that she lives outside the district.

    I thought the same about Allen Skillicorn when he was pretending to run for congress, and I’ll say the same about Oberweis.

    How can his “primary residence” be Florida but he serves in the Illinois Senate?

    Someone needs to get to the bottom of this otherwise Jim might as well just throw in the milk colored flag because that will be a HUGE problem for him if there is doubt or confusion.

  4. Correcting, let’s put the DCCC opposition research aside about the “primary residence” of Jim Oberweis.

    Legally, through his Illinois voter registration, Oberweis is a resident of Illinois at his Sugar Grove address and he is allowed to serve in the state senate on the basis his voter registration is in Illinois in the 25th legislative district.

    He legally lives, by virtue of his voter registration, in Illinois and lives in the boundaries of the 14th district.

    You are right, Oberweis should respond and make it clear the DCCC distortion is just that, a distortion.

    What I was pointing out is his wife is a legal resident of Florida, and that has been documented in the media for several years she votes in Florida beginning in 2012.

    Not many people, even successful husbands-and-wives have separate legal residencies including separate voter registrations.

    Bob and Liddy Dole is the most recent high-profile public officials I can think of, and for a little while, then-President Bill & then-Senator Hillary Clinton.

    Apart from DCCC oppo research confusion, while 14th district voters won’t begrudge the owning multiple homes/properties in multiple states, many people Oberweis’ age choose to “winter” in Florida during the winter months, and Underwood/Democrats could take advantage of that fact and raise doubts of Oberweis’ accessibility to constituents while not in Washington.

    As I pointed out, this can be a problem for Oberweis, and is something his campaign will have to address in the primary, so primary voters can see if he will be effective in the general against Underwood if he’s the nominee.

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