Former Congressman Bill Foster took a decisive step back toward Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, securing the Democratic nomination in the 11th Congressional District.
Foster, who served the 14th District from 2008 to 2010, won the nomination in the newly-drawn 11th by a significant margin, besting attorney Juan Thomas and Orland Fire District President Jim Hickey. Unofficial totals show Foster with 11,990 votes across the district, more than twice the number pulled in by Thomas, his closest competitor.
Foster joined the DuPage County Democrats at an election night party at Village Links in Glen Ellyn on Tuesday night. Taking the podium around 9 p.m., he declared victory, and set his sights on his November battle against 13th District Rep. Judy Biggert, who ran unopposed on the Republican side after Kane County Clerk Jack Cunningham was .
“My background is as a scientist, and there is no other conclusion to draw than that the 13-year long Judy Biggert experiment has failed,” Foster said. “She’s been in Washington a long, long time, and her party-line prescription for the economy has been proven all wrong for Illinois.”
Foster touted his own background as a scientist and a businessman, having worked for more than 20 years at Fermilab in Batavia as a physicist, and, with his brother, founded Electronic Theatre Controls, a company that now manufactures the lion’s share of theater lighting in the United States.
He touted his “common-sense solutions” for job creation and the economy.
“This is the contrast we’re going to make in this election,” Foster said. “But it’s going to be tough, and we’re going to need all the help we can get.”
Reached by phone around 9:30 p.m., Thomas said he planned to call Foster and concede. He said he is disappointed in the low voter turnout, and said it is “nearly impossible to run against the establishment.”
“It seems like name recognition and having been there (in Congress) before is all it takes,” Thomas said. “Those who voted have spoken.”
In a written statement, Hickey said he won every precinct in which he walked and campaigned.
"Like Abraham Lincoln stated during his numerous political losses, I shall continue to work hard, study and prepare, and perhaps my time will come in the future," Hickey wrote. "I will always continue to work for the underdog, and let us hope and pray that Foster will help the working class.
"I congratulate Bill Foster and wish him the best moving forward in the November election."
The new 11th Congressional District has no incumbent. It includes the major cities of Aurora, Naperville and Joliet, and spans from Aurora in the west to Burr Ridge in the east, and as far south as Channahon.
Watch excerpts from Foster's victory speech in the attached video.
Cook Kane Kendall Aurora DuPage Will Total Precincts Reporting 4 of 4 15 of 15 23 of 23 71 of 71 162 of 162 148 of 148 Bill Foster 104 428 635 2009 3927 4887 11,990 Jim Hickey 44 32 61 159 1065 1990 3351 Juan Thomas 31 130 121 1116 1171 2546 5115