IL-14: Obama Wins First Big Surrogate Fight Against McCain
by Jonathan Singer, Sun Mar 09, 2008 at 11:20:58 AM EDT
Yesterday's special election in Illinois' 14th congressional district suggested a number of things about this cycle, one of which is what a presidential matchup between Barack Obama and John McCain might look like.
Foster ran a very aggressive and focused general election campaign. He came out swinging just days after his primary victory, hitting Oberweis on Iraq in TV ads, and kept Oberweis off balance throughout the rest of the one-month campaign. In the final week, Foster ran an ad featuring an endorsement by homestater Barack Obama.
But as well as Foster ran his campaign, this race was mostly about Oberweis. Polling in the final weeks of the race showed Oberweis' past had caught up with him, and his favorable ratings continued to sink. He did have John McCain in for a fundraiser and a press conference, but none of McCain's popularity among indies appeared to have rubbed off.
Because of both of their involvements in the race, many described this contest as a proxy war between Obama and McCain. And if it was, Obama came out the big winner.
This is a district that tends to lean about 5 points more Republican than the nation as a whole in presidential elections. Though there has been a trend in the region towards the Democrats and though this is home country for Obama, the fact that Bill Foster, with Obama's support out front, was able to so convincingly defeat Jim Oberweis, with McCain's support front and center, says a lot about what the race between the two Senators might look like.
The section above from The Hotline suggests that "none of McCain's popularity among indies appeared to have rubbed off" on Oberweis. Perhaps that's the case. But perhaps, too, in a matchup against Obama, McCain doesn't have any coattails among independents, or at least nearly as much as the establishment media give him credit for. In that case, without independent voters at his side and without an energized GOP base, how is it, exactly, that John McCain would be able to win a head-to-head campaign against a Democratic ticket headed by Barack Obama?