Republican congressional candidate switches races, will try to unseat Rep. Lauren Underwood

A Republican congressional candidate who had been seeking Illinois' 16th District seat instead will pursue the 14th District post now held by two-term Democrat Lauren Underwood of Naperville.

Oswego Republican James Marter on Wednesday filed a fresh statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission declaring his intent to run in the 14th District. Marter had been among the Republicans challenging 16th District Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Channahon.

In an email Thursday, Marter said he swapped races because he expects his home will be within the new boundaries for the 14th District once Illinois' legislative map is completed ahead of the 2022 primary election.

"The reality is, the old 16th is going to be sliced up and any new 16th will likely have little overlap with the old," said Marter, who unsuccessfully ran for Congress in the 14th District in 2020.

Previously, Marter tried to unseat Kinzinger in 2018 and ran for U.S. Senate in 2016.

Marter is the first GOP candidate to file paperwork for the 14th District race.

Marter's departure from the 16th District contest leaves six GOP candidates there: Kinzinger; Catalina Lauf of Woodstock; Michael Rebresh of Minooka; Jack Lombardi of Manhattan; Teresa Pfaff of Machesney Park; and Geno Young of Chicago. Democrat Marsha Williams of Wilmington is running in the 16th, too.

A software consultant and leader of the Kendall County GOP, Marter was coming at Kinzinger from the political right. Marter is among the Donald Trump loyalists who have said President Joe Biden used fraud to steal the 2020 election, despite a lack of evidence.

Marter has endorsed other controversial stances as well.

On Oct. 8, he retweeted a comment from Republican U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado in which she alleged technology companies are "just another arm of the deep state," a reference to a conspiracy theory that a secret network is running the federal government and other aspects of American society. Marter said "They are!" in his retweet.

Additionally, Marter tweeted support of Trump backer and conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell and called immigration attempts at the U.S. border with Mexico "insurrection and invasion." Two days after the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol, Marter tweeted: "No time for unity or getting along. Time to double down."

When asked about Marter's challenge, Underwood campaign spokeswoman Jordan Troy said, "The people ... deserve leadership that reflects their values and is connected to reality, and James Marter is not that person."

Underwood, Troy said, "will continue to work diligently for her community by delivering real results for her district such as securing tax cuts for the middle class and expanding access to quality, affordable health care."

Marter said new leadership is needed in Congress to help Illinois.

"Bad federal policies make bad state governance even worse, and Congresswoman Underwood and her party have failed our communities, state and nation," he said in a news release.

Congressional district lines are being redrawn based on population changes between the 2010 and 2020 censuses. Illinois' population decreased in that time, and the state will lose a congressional district as a result.

The 14th District now includes parts of Lake, McHenry, DuPage, Kane, Will, DeKalb and Kendall counties.

The 16th District now includes parts or all of 14 Illinois counties. It stretches from the Far Northwest suburbs and the Rockford area to downstate Ford County.

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Trump really won, say four Kinzinger challengers

Democrat U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood Daily Herald File Photo
U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger Jim Bourg/Pool via AP File
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