IL-14: Jim Oberweis the Fragile Frontrunner, Part 2: Analytics

Jim Oberweis (r) with Senator Marco Rubio

Continuing the series about Jim Oberweis begun in Part 1, opportunities of Oberweis’ 2020 congressional candidacy continues with analytics.

As begun in Part 1, Oberweis has run for elective office in 7 of the last 9 election cycles from 2002 through 2018. The year 2020 will be his 8th run for public office, so let’s review the record in the Republican primaries & general elections per election cycles:

  • 2002 U.S. Senate Lost in Primary in a 3-candidate field
  • 2004 U.S. Senate Lost in Primary in an 8-candidate field
  • 2006 Governor Lost in Primary in a 5-candidate field
  • 2008 Congress 14th district
    • Won primaries for both special and general election on same day in early February
      • Special in head-to-head
      • General in 3-candidate field
    • Lost Special Election (March) to Bill Foster
    • Lost General Election to Bill Foster
  • 2012 State Senate
    • Won primary in 3-candidate field
    • Won general
  • 2014 U.S. Senate
    • Won primary in 3-candidate field
    • Lost General to Dick Durbin
  • 2016 State Senate Won General after Unopposed in Primary

With those top-level analytics in mind, here is “The Buzz” portion of Thursday’s POLITICO Illinois Playbook, headline viewed in Part 1:

POLITICO Illinois Playbook 10/24/19

Focusing on what’s circled in red, four things stand out:

  • Arrogance, entitlement mentality bordering on cockiness of Oberweis’ campaign spokesman
    • All Oberweis has to do is move to Florida & he’d win the 19th district seat
    • “…good shape to win the [Illinois] primary…”
  • Oberweis’ campaign actually believes the highly questionable polling done in late July and early August, but executive summary released in September with feedback published in McHenry County Blog
  • Oberweis’ campaign in 2019 reminds me of his 2008 campaign prior to his March special general election loss to Bill Foster
  • POLITICO‘s Shia Kapos having to inject reality noting the large primary field and naming 5 of Oberweis’ 7 primary opponents (the following day, Kapos did write about Jerry Evans’ entry into the race)

So look at the analytics again at the top of the article and which primary fields best match 2020?

Yes, 2004 and 2006, in spite of those primaries being statewide and hundreds of thousands of Republican primary voters, the 2020 14th district congressional primary matches 2004 and 2006 because:

  • 2004: 8-candidate primary field with 4 viable candidates
  • 2006: 5-candidate primary field with 4 viable candidates

And Oberweis finished 2nd in both races. The primary winners in both of those races only received a plurality of less than 40% of the primary vote. Oberweis finished down 12 percentage points in 2004 and nearly 6.5 percentage points in 2006.

Oberweis has never won a primary in a multi-candidate (4 or more) field with multiple viable candidates.

In the 14th district last year and with a hotly contested Republican gubernatorial primary, a little over 60,000 ballots were cast, and this includes primary voters who didn’t cast a vote in the uncontested congressional primary.

If the Democratic presidential nomination is still undecided by March, more voters in the 14th district may cast Democratic ballots, bringing that 60,000 Republican ballots-count down for 2020. But using 60,000 as the expected Republican ballot count and 40% plurality, no candidate may even receive 24,000 votes.

In the face of analytics, anyone who thinks Oberweis or anyone else has the nomination locked-up is very premature at this point.


Very briefly, we’re going to touch upon a couple of Oberweis’ endorsements.

As Evelyn Sanguinetti’s now defunct campaign in the 6th district showed, endorsements do not guarantee fundraising support. But 2 of Oberweis’ high profile McHenry County area endorsements reveal how potentially soft Oberweis’ support is:

  • Chuck Wheeler, McHenry County Board member and vice chairman of the McHenry County Republican Party
    • According to FEC disbursements report, Wheeler is on Oberweis’ campaign payroll
      • $600 in both July and August for “campaign work”
      • $712.37 in September for “staff”
  • State Representative Allen Skillicorn
    • Endorsement announced in early September through press release
    • Skillicorn’s Twitter activity from September 1 forward:
      • # of Tweets with images of Oberweis or endorsement: 0
      • # of Tweets with image of competitor Catalina Lauf: 3
        • 9/15: Selfie with Lauf saying “Young Republicans like @CatalinaLauf are proof that the conservative movement has a future!”
        • 10/13: Group shot with Skillicorn, Lauf, 6th district congressional candidate Jeanne Ives and U.S. Senate candidate Peggy Hubbard at DuKane A.B.A.T.E. event in Maple Park
        • 10/14: Retweet of DuKane A.B.A.T.E. president with comments who sent two images of himself, one with Lauf, the other with Ives
      • No tweets from Oberweis fundraiser on 10/25 with Senator Marco Rubio

If Oberweis’ polling reflects the soft support of Skillicorn or the reimbursed support of Wheeler, then more reason not to believe the questionable polling Oberweis’ campaign revealed last month.


Jim Oberweis is a fragile frontrunner due to:

  • Electability
    • Age, the “old white guy” as one high dollar donor described him as he gave a maximum contribution to a competitor
    • Career politician with 18 years of running for office 8 times and only winning twice, and serving 2 terms as a state senator
    • Could be seen as out-of-touch with district given multiple home ownership and wife living and voting in another state
  • Analytics
    • Oberweis has never won a primary with 4 or more candidates and 4 or more viable candidates
    • Highly questionable polling Oberweis’ campaign trying to convince voters the primary campaign is over
    • Entitlement/arrogance/cockiness of campaign reminiscent of failed 2008 congressional campaigns
  • Support soft
    • Two high profile endorsements sending mixed messages
    • Any polling done this early reflects name ID only

Even without hitting on issues or his accomplishments in the state senate, Oberweis’ congressional bid has many components discerning voters will want to determine, and compare with the other viable candidates in the race.

And there is plenty of time between now and March 17.


IL-14: Jim Oberweis the Fragile Frontrunner, Part 2: Analytics — 6 Comments

  1. More objective reporting by the one man Catalina Fluff campaign.

    When you are done denigrating Milk Shake Jim, who is next?

    You have still not mentioned a single position she has on anything other than maybe what she likes in a man (your worst article yet).

    Keep praying Lopez, maybe she will look your way one day.

  2. Every Heinrich comment could be improved by ending with:

    “I think I’m going to kill myself”.

  3. Not a good record. Running for an office 8 times and only winning twice.

  4. Too bad he didn’t beat our rotten senator “Dirtbag Durbin” (D-Isr)

  5. “After careful consideration” requiring a humble and introspective moment which Oberweis is incapable of having “I have looked at the brilliant field of solid Republicans running for your vote in the 14th” requiring humility and awareness of others this man has always failed to have “and decided to heed my nation’s higher calling for me to serve in the Florida district our family is blessed to own another home within” requiring the humility to feel blessed rather than entitled which isn’t in the Oberweiss DNA ” so I am honorably withdrawing from the 14th to allow my wonderful friends and neighbors a smaller field of qualified future Congressional Representatives from which to choose. I have my Illinois district always in my heart but I cannot deny the needs of my nation in a district now vacated by one of the finest Congressmen whom I have been asked to replace. I will now and forever help my Illinois friends from this new position. Good luck in the Primary to those I leave to the fine people of the 14th to choose between. “. Oberweiss will never do this. He never once has learned the earned honor of magnanimity. He could surprise us but he lost in the past due to his insane ego so wish in one hand and …. We’ll see.

  6. I heard a rumor about a young, female, Latina, German candidate who just launched a campaign to unseat Honorable Congresswoman and accomplished nurse Lauren Underwood in US Congressional District 14. As of today, I have not seen anything reported about this alleged candidate on this sunshine blog, the shining city in the journalism hill. Is there any lonely soul, sunshine journalist wannabe out there willing to report on this? It will be very much appreciated. Stay tuned…tic, tock, tic, tock, tic, tock, tic, tock, tic, tock, meeeeeeeeoooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwww…

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