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Lauren Underwood, Jim Oberweis face off in Illinois’ 14th District Congressional race

Watch our editorial board interview with incumbent Democrat Underwood and her Republican challenger, State Sen. Jim Oberweis.

Democrat Lauren Underwood, Republican Jim Oberweis, 14th Congressional District, Illinois, endorsement interview, 2020 election
Republican state Sen. Jim Oberweis (left) is challenging U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood, a Democrat, in Illinois’ 14th Congressional District.
Sun-Times files

You want drama? You got drama.

This fall’s contest for Congress in Illinois’ 14th District, pitting incumbent Democrat Lauren Underwood against a prominent, wealthy and politically skilled Republican challenger, State Sen. Jim Oberweis, has become among the most watched in the nation.

The 14th District lies smack atop several political fault lines, including the debated values and priorities of suburban women voters, Trumpism versus progressivism and, somewhat inevitably, race relations.

The Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board interviewed Underwood and Oberweis via video conference on Sept. 3. You can watch the full conversation here or by visiting https://www.facebook.com/thechicagosuntimes/live/.

U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood and state Sen. Jim Oberweis will be interviewed by the Editorial Board at 10 a.m. Thursday.

Posted by The Chicago Sun-Times on Wednesday, September 2, 2020

The district, which includes large parts of Chicago’s far west and northwest suburbs and exurbs, is as purple as a district can get — neither strongly Democratic or Republican — as reflected in its recent voting history. It is among only 30 congressional districts in the nation that went for Donald Trump for president in 2016 but currently is represented by a Democrat in the House.

Underwood won the seat in an upset two years ago, as part of a larger backlash against Trump’s first two years in the White House, taking out an incumbent Republican, Randy Hultgren, who had been thought to enjoy job security in a “safe” GOP district.

Now Oberweis wants to take the seat back for the Republicans. And he’s got the party’s backing, the debate skills and experience, and the minimally necessary funding — from his own wallet, if need be — to mount a strong challenge.

This is a race to watch.