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updated: 10/30/2010 9:27 PM

DuPage congressional incumbents face different battles

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  • Judy Biggert

    Judy Biggert

  • Peter Roskam

    Peter Roskam

  • Scott Harper

    Scott Harper

  • Benjamin Lowe

    Benjamin Lowe


The two Republican congressional incumbents who represent most of DuPage County in Washington, D.C. are facing wildly different challenges from Democratic nominees on Nov. 2.

Two-term U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam's previous campaigns pitted him against well-funded and established Democratic competition, but this cycle he's facing Benjamin Lowe, who admittedly is an outsider in his own party.

Lowe, a 26-year-old author and educator from Wheaton, has never run for public office before and said local Democrats questioned his sincerity because they had never heard of him.

Roskam, a 49-year-old Wheaton resident, has a lengthy history of public service. He served three terms as state representative and six years as state senator before going to Congress.

The two are competing for the 6th District seat, which makes up most of the northern part of DuPage and parts of northwestern Cook County.

Republican U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert is challenged by a candidate who is not only known by Democrats, but is receiving support from party leaders in a bid to unseat the six-term congresswoman.

Scott Harper, a 49-year-old college professor and former businessman from Naperville, is taking his second shot at Biggert's seat. He received about 47 percent of the vote in 2008, when fellow Democrat Barack Obama garnered 54 percent of the traditionally Republican DuPage vote.

With the political winds against Democrats heading into Tuesday's vote, Biggert's shot at a seventh term may be enhanced. The 73-year-old Hinsdale resident was first elected to Congress in 1998 after six years as a state representative. She and Harper are battling for the 13th District seat, which covers most of the southern half of DuPage, parts of southwestern Cook County and a portion of northwestern Will County.

All four candidates have said job creation and retention is the top priority of their respective campaigns.

Harper believes there's a future in renewable energy jobs for the area, and sees the 13th District as that technology's answer to what Northern California's Silicon Valley was for computers.

Biggert argues that the stimulus plan passed by the Democratic-controlled Congress and pushed by Obama has "failed." She believes in extending tax cuts that are set to expire at the start of next year because it would inspire "confidence" of the business community to create jobs.

In the 6th District race, Lowe believes jobs can be created by offering tax credits, creating hiring incentives and encouraging small business loans. He also suggests the government should invest heavily in public works and other infrastructure projects.

Roskam supports deregulation to help small and medium-sized businesses grow and innovate. He also wants to rein in government spending and borrowing.