'No mercy': Republican group adds Foster to list of targeted congressional Democrats

A national group supporting Republican congressional candidates has added Illinois' 11th District - now served by Democrat Bill Foster of Naperville - to a list of seats it's focusing on this year.

The National Republican Congressional Committee announcement brings the number of targeted races in the Chicago area to three. The others are the 6th District seat held by Democrat Sean Casten of Downers Grove and the 14th District post held by Democrat Lauren Underwood of Naperville.

"Republicans have the message, the candidates and the resources needed to take back the majority," NRCC Chairman Tom Emmer said in the announcement. "Vulnerable Democrats who chose not to retire will be shown no mercy."

Team Foster doesn't sound overly concerned.

"Rep. Foster has been in the GOP crosshairs throughout his entire career, so this is not new territory for him," campaign spokesman Greg Cybulski said. "We look forward to the campaign."

The NRCC is targeting 72 Democrat-held or newly created seats ahead of the 2022 election. Illinois' primary is June 28, and the general election is Nov. 8.

The only other Illinois seat being eyed for capture by the NRCC is in the 17th District. Democratic U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos of Moline isn't seeking reelection.

Foster has served the 11th District since 2013. The district includes parts of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, Will, DeKalb and Boone counties.

Foster handily won reelection in 2020, defeating a poorly funded Republican who denied there is a constitutional separation of church and state and who doubted the science pointing to man-made climate change.

This year, seven Republicans are vying for their party's nomination to face Foster in November. They are Mark Carroll of North Aurora; Jerry Evans of Warrenville; Susan L. Hathaway-Altman of the Geneva area; Andrea Heeg of the Geneva area; Catalina Lauf of Woodstock; Cassandra Tanner Miller of Elgin; and Naperville resident Juan "Johnny" Ramos.

Ramos' nominating petitions have been challenged and he could be knocked off the ballot.

Carroll welcomed the NRCC's belief that the 11th District can be flipped.

"This race is critical in helping the Republicans regain the majority in the House," Carroll said. "From our campaign's inception we have believed District 11 (is) within our reach to win."

In a news release, Evans said Illinoisans "no longer wish to be represented by (President Joe) Biden yes-men like Bill Foster."

"They want a representative who will go to Washington and fight for them, not kowtow to Nancy Pelosi and the far-left fringes of the Democratic Party," Evans said.

Heeg said she isn't surprised the NRCC is targeting Foster.

"I spoke to almost 1,000 voters on the street during the petition phase. The overwhelming majority of the people I spoke to were excited to meet a local Republican candidate and sign my petition," she said.

Lauf shared the NRCC's announcement on Twitter, calling it "huge news."

Lauf's candidacy was highlighted by the NRCC in February after she reported $275,855 in campaign donations during the final quarter of 2021, far more than any other GOP candidate in the race.

Team Foster reported collecting $415,578 during the same period. But Lauf, who unsuccessfully ran for the 14th District seat in 2020, received more money from individual donors than Foster. Foster came out on top because of money from political action committees.

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