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Oberweis calls win ‘bittersweet’

Jim Oberweis spent most day after winning seIllinois Senate making phone calls his office Oberweis Dairy North AurorWednesday November 7

Jim Oberweis spent most of the day after winning a seat on the Illinois Senate making phone calls in his office at the Oberweis Dairy in North Aurora on Wednesday, November 7, 2012. | Steven Buyansky~Sun-Times Media

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Election analysis forum

Two longtime, legendary Illinois political figures — former U.S. Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert and former U.S. Rep. William Lapinsky — will offer a post-presidential election discussion today in Naperville.

The forum, sponsored by Northern Illinois University-Naperville will be at 7:30 p.m. in the event room at NIU-Naperville, 1120 E. Diehl Road.

The program is free and open to the public.

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Updated: November 7, 2012 8:58PM

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again... and again and again and again and again and again.

Sugar Grove Republican Jim Oberweis, who after running for elected office five previous times, won a seat in the Illinois Senate in Tuesday’s election.

Oberweis, 66, chairman of Oberweis Dairy and founder of Oberweis Asset Management took about 58 percent of Tuesday’s vote, and defeated Democratic challenger Corinne Pierog of St. Charles in the 25th State Senate race.

Despite finally getting a win — after running unsuccessfully in previous races for governor and the U.S. House and Senate — Oberweis said the victory was bittersweet.

“It was a very disappointing evening, actually,” Oberweis said on Wednesday from his North Aurora office. “After last night’s results, I’m afraid it will be very difficult to accomplish anything in Springfield.”

As a Republican, Oberweis said he was hoping to find his party leading in the House or Senate — or “at least hold down or gain a seat or two.”

But, that wasn’t the case, and now, the first-time Senator will have to work even harder to make his voice heard.

With the defeat of four House Republican incumbents and a net gain of seven seats, House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, secured a 71-47 veto-proof majority in the Illinois House.

The results were similar — and more historic — in the Senate for Senate President John Cullerton, also a Democrat from Chicago. Democrats picked up a net gain of five seats in the Senate, giving Cullerton a 40-19 veto-proof majority. No party has ever had a 40-vote majority in the Illinois Senate, the Senate president told the Chicago Sun-Times.

“It was a perfect combination of the president of the United States being from Illinois and winning so big, the redrawing of boundaries to reflect a shift of population that attracted Democrats and really good candidates,” Cullerton said.

Despite the setback for the GOP in Springfield, Oberweis said he will keep moving forward.

“When I get to Springfield, I will try to understand the position of the other side, and see where there might be common ground where we can work together,” he said. “Had things gone the other way, I’d feel a lot more optimistic that we could fix some of the financial problems [Illinois] is facing. I hope we can, but I’m much more concerned about that.”

Oberweis said he will continue to work his hardest to bring pension, workers compensation and Medicaid reform.

“I think it’s critical that we send a message from Springfield that Illinois is open for business,” he said. “I will also take effort to make sure the state’s temporary tax increase stays temporary.”

He thanked the voters of the 25th District for their votes, and their faith in his candidacy. He also applauded Pierog for running a positive campaign.

“I hoped and thought people were tired [of the smear campaigns],” Oberweis said. “People always say they’re tired of negative campaigning, but then we see more of it. We went a different route.”

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