Democratic challenger for the 11th Congressional District, Bill Foster is heading back to Washington after defeating Republican incumbent U.S Rep. Judy Biggert, 58 percent to 42 percent, with 99 percent of precincts reporting.
Foster, who was first elected to office in 2008 in the 14th Congressional District, lost his seat to Tea Party-backed Republican Randy Hultgren in the 2010 mid-term election.
A member of the U.S. Congress since 1999, Biggert faced an uphill battle toward re-election, since the district was redrawn in 2011 to include more areas that tend to vote Democratic.
Despite the disadvantage, the race was still one of the tightest and hardest-fought contests this election cycle, with each candidate attempting to characterize the other as an out-of-touch millionaire who was more interested in lining their own pockets than serving the public.
In speaking with supporters, Foster said the results of this election should put an end to the kind of divisiveness over issues that have bogged lawmakers down in partisan gridlock over the past two years.
“For this district and for our country, the debate on Obamacare is over,” Foster said to loud applause last night. “For this district and for our country, the debate over whether our financial system should return to a world of unlimited leverage and zero regulation – that debate is over too.”
Here is an excerpt from Foster’s remarks as he spoke to supporters from his election night headquarters in Bolingbrook after receiving a concession phone call from Biggert:
Foster goes back to a U.S. House that remains in Republican control, as Democrats were unable to gain the necessary 25 seats to have a majority. Democrats were able, however, to maintain their majority within the U.S. Senate.
Democrats did make significant gains in Illinois congressional races, winning five of six seats considered to be competitive.
After months of polls indicating a race that would be separated by just one or two percentage points, Foster’s margin of victory was somewhat surprising.
As he explained earlier in the day, Foster attributed what he felt would be a strong showing to good voter turnout in heavily-Democratic areas, such as Joliet and Aurora, a city Foster once represented as part of the old 14th district.