Illinois 14: Now a Toss-Up

March 6, 2008 · 10:22 AM EST

The race to succeed former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R) is too close to call, and we’ve changed our rating of the race from Lean Republican to Toss-Up, in advance of Saturday’s special election.

Jim Oberweis (R) and Bill Foster (D) have both spent heavily from their own pockets, and both the NRCC and DCCC are involved as well. A March 3-4 SurveyUSA poll for Roll Call (subscription required) showed Foster leading the race 52%-45%, but some private polling contradicts the Roll Call numbers.

Republicans are at serious risk of losing the seat, but they could benefit from turnout in the Republican-leaning district. It would be a symbolic victory for the Democrats, and NRCC Chairman Tom Cole predicted that if his party were to lose the seat there would be a flood of stories spelling out the end of the GOP. At least he knows what he’s in for.