It’s newcomer vs. five-time federal candidate in GOP’s 14th Congressional District contest

The race for the Republican nomination in Illinois’ 14th Congressional District pits a rookie candidate against a campaign veteran who has run for office in every federal election since 2016.

Political newcomer Charlie Kim of Aurora is taking on Oswego’s James Marter in the March 19 primary. The winner will face Democratic incumbent Lauren Underwood of Naperville in the Nov. 5 general election.

Marter, a self-employed information technology consultant who chairs the Kendall County Republican Party, unsuccessfully ran for the 14th District seat in 2022 and 2020 and for the 16th District seat in 2018. He also ran for U.S. Senate in 2016.

Marter was elected to a four-year term on the Oswego Public Library board in 2021 as a write-in candidate.

Marter supports former Republican president and current presidential candidate Donald Trump and publicly alleged fraud in the 2020 presidential race despite no evidence of widespread cheating. Marter criticized the U.S. House committee that investigated the Jan. 6, 2021, siege of the U.S. Capitol, which followed a rally at which Trump spoke, as “a sham and a fraud.”

Marter denies humanity has played a role in global climate change or that there is a climate crisis.

“There is a climate of false information and propaganda by media and political elites that don't know anything about science,” Marter said in a Daily Herald questionnaire. “Climate change occurs naturally and has been from one Ice Age to another.”

Marter has opposed abortion without exception and has said he favors a federal abortion ban.

Marter said he supports Israel in its war with Hamas in Gaza but opposes sending more support to Ukraine in its war with Russia.

“Neither Ukraine nor Russia are allies,” Marter said in the questionnaire. “There are bad actors on both sides.”

Kim, a business owner, hasn’t returned a Daily Herald candidate questionnaire.

Kim lives in the neighboring 11th District and initially planned to run for Congress there as a Democrat before filing in the 14th. Congressional representatives don’t need to live in the districts they represent.

In a telephone interview, Kim said he changed parties because he had problems with “Democratic ideology.” Kim also said he knew he couldn’t defeat the Democratic incumbent in the 11th District, Bill Foster of Naperville.

Foster is seeking reelection there and is facing a primary challenge from Qasim Rashid, also of Naperville.

Kim said a friend suggested he run as a Republican in the 14th. Kim once lived in what’s now the 14th District.

On his campaign website, Kim supported a bill calling for stricter immigration restrictions, including limits on asylum eligibility, that was approved by the House. He said there shouldn’t be exceptions for immigrants who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children.

Also on his website, Kim opposed sending U.S. aid to Israel, Ukraine and other nations.

Kim supports 2023 school-related legislation that’s been called a “Parental Bill of Rights” by its backers. The bill, which has cleared the House but stalled in the Senate, aims to increase transparency in curriculum, transgender student policies, accommodations made for LGBTQ students and more.

Kim criticized the Affordable Care Act on his website, too, saying the U.S. needs a health care system with fewer government controls and that isn’t funded by taxpayers.

Underwood is running unopposed in the Democratic primary. She’s represented the 14th District since 2019 and is seeking a third term.

The 14th District encompasses parts of Kane, Will, DeKalb, Kendall, LaSalle, Bureau and Putnam counties.

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