Photos and Videos
Jim Oberweis, Republican candidate for Senate, talks to Mary Ann Ahern about why he was away from Illinois a week before the Illinois Primary.
The U.S. Senate candidate who spent the last week at his winter condo in Florida is back in Illinois.
State Senator Jim Oberweis, a Republican candidate for Senate, attended a St. Patrick’s Day luncheon in Aurora Friday but refused to say on the record he was in Bonita Springs, Fla.
“You know where I have been," Oberweis said. "I’ve been helping my wife celebrate her birthday. Family comes first.”
NBC 5 on Tuesday first reported that Oberweis was not in Illinois the week before the Primary Election. Questions also developed surrounding his wife claiming their million-dollar penthouse condo as her residence and receiving the Florida Homestead Exemption worth $50,000.
Oberweis did not apply for the exemption but benefits from the Florida tax break.
"There’s some background on this," he said of the vacation, "and I’ve tried to avoid it as much as I possibly can."
"I would hope that you would respect people’s privacy, but apparently you won’t. A little over 10 years ago, my wife of 35 years left me, complete and utter shock.”
"One of her complaints was I didn’t spend enough time with her,” he said.
So with his second wife Julie, “I’ve tried not to make the same mistake over.”
As for the Homestead Exemption, which is $50,000 in Florida compared to $6,000 in Illinois, he says “I do not benefit from the tax break.”
Doug Truax, his opponent in next week’s primary, called Oberweis' trip bad judgment.
“The wife’s birthday, I can understand him saying that. My wife’s birthday was Feb. 19. We agreed, I was at a Lincoln Day dinner and she was out delivering signs. We just agreed, hey this has to be the time we’re doing the right thing.”