Newspaper Politics In Illinois

Newspaper endorsements generally don’t offer much of an impact on elections, but both leading Chicago newspapers are weighing in with especially biting commentary on Saturday’s special election for the seat of former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.)

The Chicago Tribune endorsed the Democratic nominee, scientist Bill Foster, earlier this week, But more notably, the paper’s endorsement also lashed out at Republican dairy owner Jim Oberweis, accusing his campaign style of being “nasty, smug, condescending ... and dishonest.”

And the paper followed up with an editorial today blasting a recent Oberweis mail piece that uses fictional characters to attack Foster. The mailer, writes the Tribune, shows that “Oberweis has shown in four campaigns that he plays fast and loose with the truth.”

The Tribune has endorsed both Republicans and Democrats in high-profile elections, supporting President Bush for re-election in his 2004 presidential bid, but also supporting Democrat Tammy Duckworth in a hotly-contested Congressional campaign in 2006.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Sun-Times weighed in favor of Oberweis in an editorial today, attacking Foster as a candidate who “failed to do his homework, unable to discuss important issues in anything but superficial terms.”
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