Jim Oberweis and Doug Truax are facing off in the Illinois GOP Primary for Democrat Dick Durbin’s U.S. Senate seat. Durbin, presently the Majority Whip for the Senate, faces criticism from Republican seat-seekers, who have argued he is a career politician. He has held the seat for seventeen years, with fourteen years spent in the U.S. House of Representatives prior to that. Both Truax and Oberweis identify as mainstream Republicans, but their positions don’t line up everywhere.
About the Candidates
Oberweis has been campaigning in Illinois politics on and off for about a decade, contesting positions ranging from the same U.S. Senate seat to Illinois governor. A former math and science teacher, he represents the 25th District as a state senator, is the chairman of his family’s business, Oberweis Dairy, and lent his own campaign $500,000 of personal funding.
Though endorsed by the Chicago Tribune and Newt Gingrich, Truax is at fifteen percent support from likely GOP voters to Oberweis’s fifty-two percent, according to a Tribune poll. The forty-three-year-old West Point grad is a businessman and the co-owner of Veritas Risk Services, a strategic risk consulting firm.
In 2004, Oberweis was called out for a series of political ads that were widely considered anti-immigration and racist. Speaking to the Chicago Tribune this election cycle, he indicated support for comprehensive immigration reform—without a special path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.
Truax supports a legal path to citizenship and sees issues of immigration as intimately tied to homeland security. He cites the state in which he was born—New Mexico—as a reason for his focus on pragmatic immigration reform. He believes President Obama cannot successfully implement the necessary changes.
Oberweis argues the budget compromise was necessary to move forward political discourse, faulting Truax’s adherence to principle over policy as impractical. The government, he says, is overspending, which is harmful for the American people. A discussion of healthcare should also include the revising of medical malpractice policy, and a single-payer system is inadvisable.
Truax disagreee with last year’s bipartisan budget compromise. He argues that Washington leaders should have kept with their principles instead of agreeing with a political maneuver for the purpose of getting along. He thinks Obamacare is bad for the average American and detrimental to scientific advances. The tax code, he argues, is needlessly complex and that taxes should be limited to core government functions.
Oberweis has an eighty-three percent approval rating from the NRA, which indicates an overall pro-gun stance.
Truax publically criticized the Stand Your Ground hearings Dick Durbin supported in Washington, arguing that they do not address the Chicago-specific contributors to gun violence.