Illinois 14: New Lauzen Poll Shows Dead Heat

November 6, 2007 · 4:26 PM EST

Chris Lauzen (R) is pushing back against some conventional wisdom, and has numbers to make his case. The state senator is running to replace former House Speaker Dennis Hastert in Illinois 14, but faces a very competitive primary with wealthy businessman Jim Oberweis (R).

An October 22-23 Public Opinion Strategies poll of 300 likely primary voters for the Lauzen campaign showed Lauzen and Oberweis even at 38% on the ballot, with Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns at 4%.

According to the memo, Oberweis has higher name identification in the district, due to multiple recent statewide runs for office. Many observers believe the name ID factor gives him the early edge, particularly if a special election were to occur.

But the survey shows that despite not being as well-known, Lauzen is competitive. He starts the race with 74% name ID, including 55% favorable/5% unfavorable ratings. In comparison, Oberweis had 97% name ID, and 63% favorable/20% unfavorable ratings.

It’s still unclear whether Hastert will finish his term. If he decides to resign, it’s unclear when he will officially step down. And according to insiders, there is no love lost between Hastert and Lauzen.