Foster won the Republican stronghold despite the speaker’s history and the weight of John McCain’s endorsement of Foster’s opponent, Republican Jim Oberweis. He won it with the backing of Barack Obama, who did a TV ad for him, and by running strongly against President Bush.
It was a shocking upset, but I really should have noticed the sea change Feb. 5, when I showed up to vote in the Illinois primary and there was electioneering going on near my precinct. Nobody in the history of elections has given a damn about my precinct; my Congressman wins his primary and the general election every time in a walk, and it’s about that way for every other race, too. Voting takes a couple of minutes at most, and I usually end up hanging out to yak with the poll workers because they’re just so completely bored.
This time, though? A line. Not out the door, not quite, but I actually had to wait a few minutes to get my ballot. And outside, three separate campaign volunteers had pressed literature into my hands. The precinct workers didn’t even have time to say hello. It was bizarre, like dropping into an alternate universe.