Representative Lauren Underwood is just settling into her office on Capitol Hill, but a serious Republican challenger has already emerged.
State Senator Jim Oberweis, who has represented the state’s 25th district since 2013, has confirmed that he will challenge Underwood in the 2020 election, and the former owner of the Oberweis Dairy chain of milk and ice cream stores says he’s ready to take on the challenge.
“I believe that it is important that we have people in Congress who understand how to keep our economy growing rapidly, focused on working toward a balanced budget, (and) understand what it takes to grow jobs,” he told NBC 5. “That’s my whole life experience.”
This is the state senator’s latest attempt to break onto the national political scene. He lost the GOP primary for Illinois’ U.S. Senate seat in 2002 and 2004, and he also ran for Congress in 2008, losing that race as well. Oberweis was also a contender for the Republican nomination for governor in 2006, but ultimately lost the race to former Illinois State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka.
This time around, Oberweis will be looking to unseat the 32-year-old Underwood, who beat four-term Republican Representative Randy Hultgren by five points in the 2018 midterm elections. Her election marks just the second time in the last 75 years that the district has been represented by a Democrat.
Ronnie Cho, Underwood’s political advisor, did not respond directly to Oberweis’ announcement and said that “the congresswoman is laser focused on being with her community” and that she’s doing exactly what she promised she would on the campaign.