After victory in GOP primary for 14th U.S. House seat, Marter looks ahead to Underwood

Following a primary campaign in which he threw more than a little political mud at his opponent, the newly christened Republican nominee for Illinois 14th Congressional District seat on Wednesday praised that now-vanquished foe for “running a good race.”

Oswego’s James Marter claimed victory Tuesday over rival Charlie Kim for the GOP nomination in the 14th, which encompasses parts of Kane, Will and five other counties. Unofficial results showed Marter received about 79% of the votes cast in the race, which also featured a write-in campaign from Krystal Dorey of Lockport.

In a statement released on his campaign’s Facebook page, Marter said he’s “ready to defeat (incumbent) Lauren Underwood this November.” Underwood, a three-term Democrat from Naperville, couldn’t be reached for a response.

After thanking voters in that Facebook post, Marter had kind words for Kim, an Aurora resident and business owner who never before had run for office.

“He loves this country and wants to make a difference,” Marter wrote. “I wish him all the best for future success.”

That was a significant change of tone for Marter, who during the primary contest repeatedly accused Kim of not being a Republican and incorrectly accused him of running as a Democrat earlier in the election cycle.

“My opponent is only ‘Acting Red,’” Marter wrote in a March 14 Facebook post.

Kim has acknowledged he initially intended to run as a Democrat in the neighboring 11th District but feared he couldn’t defeat incumbent Democrat Bill Foster of Naperville. He said a friend suggested he instead run as a Republican in the 14th.

In addition to questioning Kim’s political allegiance, Marter criticized him for running in the 14th District despite living in the 11th. Congressional representatives are not legally required to live in the districts they represent.

In an email Wednesday, Kim congratulated Marter on the victory and wished for Republican victories in November.

On his campaign Facebook page, Marter thanked supporters and looked forward to the upcoming battle against Underwood.

“We are on this journey together to reclaim (the 14th District) for the people,” wrote Marter, an information technology consultant who leads the Kendall County Republican Party.

Tuesday’s victory was Marter’s first primary win in five attempts. He 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.

Underwood is a registered nurse who first was elected to Congress in 2018 by defeating Republican incumbent Randy Hultgren. She held onto the job by beating Jim Oberweis in 2020 and Scott Gryder in 2022.

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