Then-state Rep. Aaron Schock, who was the GOP nominee for a congressional seat to the south, loudly threw Oberweis under the bus for his defeat, declaring, “Anybody in Illinois who knows Jim Oberweis knows that was not a referendum on the Republican Party; it was a referendum on Jim Oberweis.” Schock, whose own congressional career would self-destruct the next decade and is now awaiting charges of corruption, also volunteered that when it came to Oberweis, “The people that knew him best, liked him least.” Oberweis didn’t listen, and he lost to Foster again 58-42.
Things finally changed in 2012 when Oberweis won both the primary and the general election for an open state Senate seat. But some habits can’t be broken, and the next year, he launched a second longshot bid against Durbin. That campaign started on a strange note when Oberweis partly apologized for his crummy electoral record, saying, "I made statements and commercials that I regretted and I've said so." Oberweis also had to answer questions about why his wife was registered to vote in Florida, admitting that the couple has spent a lot of time in the Sunshine State and awkwardly defending himself by claiming that he's "been in the state Senate every day the Senate has been in session."
Oberweis finally won a statewide primary, but his 56-44 victory against an underfunded foe wasn’t exactly the stuff of legends. It hardly mattered, though, since the contest against Durbin was never on anyone’s radar, and Oberweis lost 54-43. In 2016, Oberweis was re-elected 55-45 even as his state Senate seat was swinging from 53-45 Romney to 48-45 Clinton.
Unlike in 2014, Oberweis would need to give up his place in the legislature if he ran for Congress. However, Illinois 14th District is more conservative than the seat he holds now, and despite his track record, he may have better odds against Underwood than if he seeks re-election.
Still, there’s no guarantee Oberweis would win the GOP nod. Navy veteran Matt Quigley has already announced he’s in, and the local political newsite Capitol Fax speculates that state Rep. Allen Skillicorn could run. We haven’t heard anything from Skillicorn about any interest, though Capitol Fax wonders if a potential congressional campaign would explain “why he’s been holding so many press conferences lately.”