An afternoon in Batavia, IL

October 23, 2008

Today, Tony Arnold did another great piece in a series of profiles of congressional district races in our area. He's already profiled the races in the 10th and 11th, and today was all about the fighting 14th. The 14th district was represented by Dennis Hastert for years. He retired last year and in the spring a special election was held to replace him in Washington. Fermi Lab scientist Bill Foster beat out his republican challenger Jim Oberweis for the seat. But the fun part? That seat is up for re-election this November. So the two candidates have to go at it again. I called up both offices to see if I could come out and take some photos and videos to capture a day-in-the-life of a campaign. When I talked to both campaigns, they both told me their headquarters were in Batavia, IL. And after a quick Google map session, I realized that they are not only in the same town, but they are almost directly across the river from each other in downtown Batavia. The 14th includes several different towns from Aurora up to Dekalb, so for them to almost be able to look in each other's windows is priceless. Batavia is not that big, so I asked Oberweis campaign director David From about how often they cross paths. I followed Steve Klaske out to put yard signs up in Batavia subdivisions. On the other side of the river at the Foster campaign, I walked around for a good part of the day with Emma Eschenfeldt, a recent college grad from St. Charles. She is volunteering for the Foster campaign and is going door-to-door to drum up votes. In total, we probably walked and rang doorbells at 10+ different houses. There was a woman home, but she shoo'ed us away without answering the door. I might have been part of the problem because my black pants and black sweater gave me sort of a Bible-salesman vibe. And it probably didn't help that I was video-taping. Finally, after 10 houses, Emma hit pay-dirt. Luckily, it was a nice day in Batavia when I went out. Both campaigns are zeroing in on the final 2 weeks. And for Batavia, IL, that means more door-to-doors and more yard signs. If you are in the area, go check out the Panera Bread and hope that you see both campaigns staring each other down over a bread bowl and a latte'.
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