If the Republicans get swamped in November as many analysts predict, there will surely be some unexpected losses on top of those that we all saw coming. Is Judy Biggert, the 13th district congresswoman from Hinsdale, a possible upset victim?
A Washington Post story this week headlined "How the Economy Is Helping Democrats Downballot" reported that "In Illinois' 13th district, an exurban Chicago seat where veteran Rep. Judy Biggert(R) is running for re-election, [an analysis] found that voters trust Democrats to fix the economy more than Republicans by a 19-point margin. They gave Democrats a 15-point edge on energy issues and an 11-point advantage on the broad question of which party 'shares your values.' And that's all in a district where President Bush won by 10 points in 2004 and 13 points in 2000."
The story also concluded that Biggert will win her race, but the sentiment that Biggert's seat could be had has picked up steam on the liberal half of the blogosphere. (The SEIU-funded Progress Illinoisbelieved it started seeing the signs in September, but PI obviously backs Democratic challenger Scott Harper.)
The Tribune editorial page, while addressing the gathering notion in its endorsement of Biggert that Harper was gaining strength, isn't buying it.
"There's some talk that Republican Rep. Judy Biggert could be in for a surprise from Democrat Scott Harper, a businessman from Lockport. It's hard to figure why: Biggert's moderate conservatism is a good fit for the west suburban 13th District. She's a deficit hawk, wants government to promote job-generating business and targets math and science education and research to keep the U.S. competitive."
The suburban Daily Herald today also endorsed Biggert, but noted that Biggert "is facing one of the tougher battles of her political career as she seeks a sixth term representing a district that includes southern DuPage County in addition to portions of Will and Cook counties. Her Democratic opponent, Scott Harper, 47, of Lockport, has run a vigorous campaign and is knowledgeable on the issues."
Meanwhile, the Southtown Starreports today that "Harper has posted solid fundraising numbers but has been outraised by Biggert. He raised $632,000 and loaned himself $190,000 through Sept. 30. He had $333,000 on hand as of that date. Unions and attorneys are some of his largest donors.
"Biggert raised $1.23 million through Sept. 30 and had $833,000 on hand as of that date. She is one of Congress' top recipients of donations from the financial industry, according to the Center for Responsive Politics in Washington, D.C. "Biggert sits on the House Financial Services Committee and is the ranking Republican on its Housing Subcommittee."
And finally, the Southtown Star also reports that Harper "released selected polling results. But his campaign wouldn't reveal how voters responded when asked if they would vote for Biggert or Harper."
Like we said, a Biggert loss would be a surprise. But if it's going to happen somewhere in Illinois, this could be the place.