Illinois 8: Greenberg to Challenge Bean

June 13, 2007 · 12:01 AM EDT

Wealthy businessman Steve Greenberg (R) is set to announce his candidacy against Cong. Melissa Bean (D) in Illinois’s 8th District.

GOP insiders believe the 8th District is one of their top ten opportunities in the country, particularly since Bean won reelection last year with 51% in the Democratic wave. There was a liberal third-party candidate who took 5% as well. In 2004, President Bush won the suburban Chicago district 55%-44%, while Bean was defeating Cong. Phil Crane (R).

Greenberg, 36, had previously been mentioned as a potential challenger to Sen. Dick Durbin (D), but he has his sights set on Congress instead. The Republican specializes in turning around corporations and his family owns the Ben Franklin stores.

Greenberg is also a former minor league hockey player, coming up through the Washington Capitals organization with goalie Olie Kolzig, until an injury shortened his career.