Endorsement: Underwood for the Democrats in Congress Dist. 14
In a midterm election, so the theory goes, the president's party generally has a tougher time holding seats in Congress. Seven Democratic candidates, however, believe there is a chance to unseat four-term Republican Congressman Randy Hultgren of Plano.
Still, Ballotpedia rates the 14th as safely Republican, so the emerging Democrat will face an uphill battle, and some of the candidates show the potential for mounting it. The candidates' views on access to affordable health care, immigrant rights and the role of the U.S. military in world affairs are largely similar and follow the party platform, with the slight exception of John Hosta, who describes himself as a "pro-life Democrat."
But the larger consideration that differentiates these candidates has a lot to do with the perspective each brings.
Lauren Underwood grew up in Naperville, became a registered nurse and was appointed to be a senior adviser at the Department of Health and Human Services during the Obama administration. At a time when women's equality, access to reproductive health care and the Affordable Care Act are at the forefront of the political discussion, Underwood provides a strong advocate's voice.
Sugar Grove Village President Matthew Brolley, a civil engineer, and Jim Walz, who works in customer service and is a board member in Warren Township High School District 121 in Gurnee, also offer promise. Walz beat Hosta in the 2016 Democratic primary but lost badly to Hultgren in the general by a 3-2 ratio. Underwood's background gives her a solid edge, and she offers the best potential to provide a competitive alternative to the incumbent Hultgren.
Also running are: Victor Swanson, of Batavia, a high school social studies teacher; George Weber, of Lakewood, a retired engineer; and Daniel Roldan-Johnson, of Volo, a teacher.