Barack Obama cut a spot for Foster, and his home state popularity does suggest that Republicans could lose other Illinois open seats in November--the 11th and 18th districts--and Democrats could fare well in seats Republicans held marginally in 2006--the 6th, 10th, and 15th. And that Obama, at least at his current levels of popularity, could help Democratic House challengers elsewhere.
Demographically, the 14th is the fastest-growing Illinois district. Kane County, Hastert's home at the edge of the Chicago metropolitan area, is one of the fastest-growing counties in the country. This suggests that an Obama-led Democratic Party could be fully competitive in the exurbs, as the Mark Warner- and Tim Kaine-led Virginia Democratic Party has been in the exurbs of Washington, D.C. George W. Bush got huge margins in the exurbs; he carried 97 of the 100 fastest-growing counties in both 2000 and 2004. John McCain can't count on that kind of support in 2008.
By Michael Barone