Jim Oberweis and his Florida problem

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Illinois or Florida — that is the question surrounding U.S. Senate candidate Jim Oberweis’ residency.

The Florida connection was first reported by Lynn Sweet in November, but was pushed into the spotlight this week when Oberweis decided to spend some time in Florida, just a week before Tuesday’s primary. NBC 5 Investigates decided to look into some property tax records and discovered that Oberweis claims the home in Bonita Springs, Fla. as his only “primary” residence, which allows him a homeowner’s tax exemption.

Oberweis and his wife, Julie, also own a home in Sugar Grove and after purchasing their property in Florida, applied to have the homeowner’s exemption moved to Florida.

What’s that homeowner’s exemption worth in each state? In Illinois, it’s $6,000, but $50,000 in Florida.

While Oberweis didn’t comment on the homeowner’s exemption, he did email a statement to the Illinois Review about his trip to Florida.

It is certainly no secret that in a highly contested U.S. Senate race in one of America’s most populous states, I will be expected to travel quite a bit over the next six months, mostly inside Illinois but occasionally outside Illinois, to meet with contributors and to attend fundraising events, Oberweis said. I have currently traveled to Florida for two reasons. First, to fulfill a promise to my wife to spend a few days with her in Florida for her birthday, and second, to raise money for my U.S. Senate race.

Doug Truax, Oberweis’ opponent in Tuesday’s primary, is trying to capitalize on the situation, complete an email with this postcard embedded in it:

Truax says:

No, I am not in Florida. But you know who is? My Republican primary opponent: Jim Oberweis. While Oberweis is vacationing in the sun; I am criscrossing Illinois talking with voters about the importance of this election and the issues at hand. If elected I will always put Illinois families first. You won’t have to worry about whether your Senator is busy vacationing in a different state or even VOTING in a different state (you can’t even make this up – Jim Oberweis’ wife is registered to vote in Florida NOT Illinois).

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