After runner-up finishes in the 2020 and 2022 GOP primaries for 14th District Congress, software consultant James Marter of Oswego looks to be a strong favorite on March 19.
Back in November, it appeared there would be yet another crowded GOP primary field. However two challengers, Matt Leiv of Plainfield, and Jack Lombardi Jr., a previous primary candidate, did not file petitions with the Illinois State Board of Elections.
Then in late December, the nominating petitions of Krystal Dorey, a 2022 primary candidate, were challenged. When an examination of her 638 petition signatures was conducted on Dec. 21, a total of 232 of 264 line objections were sustained, resulting in just 406 valid signatures, 146 fewer than the statutory minimum of 552 required
under the Illinois Election Code. Dorey was not certified for the primary
Candidate Charlie Kim of Aurora was also challenged, but the ISBE certified him for the ballot.
In recent years, the person able to win the GOP primary has been someone with both a substantial local political track record and an adequate campaign fund. Marter checks both boxes. He finished second in the 2022 primary to then Kendall County Board President Scott Gryder in a competitive five-candidate race. Marter is a member of the Oswego Library Board, and Kendall County GOP Chairman. In March 2022 he was appointed Deputy State Central Committeeman of the 14th Congressional District.
Marter has shown an ability to raise money, at least for a primary race. He attracted approximately $100,000 in contributions for his 2022 primary run, in addition to loaning himself $41,000. At the end of the year, Marter had just over $30,000 on hand, according to the Federal Elections Commission filings. Kim has raised $8,730 so far, all from himself, and had $262 on hand at the end of the year.
Marter says he is pro-life, supports Second Amendment rights, and wants to see the Affordable Care Act be repealed. He said his other key focuses would be cutting federal spending and reducing the size of the federal government. He came out swinging upon his announcement in June, saying “Our nation and values are under assault,” and accusing U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood’s voting history of being responsible for the country’s economic inflation and “massive federal debt.”
Kim’s website ( https://www.charlieincongress.us ) reads in parts rather like a Democratic candidate’s website, with a wide array of issues, including an emphasis on healthcare for all and supporting immigrants. He also supports first responders, a strong national defense and “less government interference for prosperity of businesses, governmental support of technology and export trade for global competitiveness.”
Whoever wins the right to face Underwood in November will need to quickly accrue expanded support and plenty of cash. Underwood has both excellent name recognition and a potent war chest at $1.4 million as of Oct. 1.
Since defeating GOP incumbent Randy Hultgren in 2018, Underwood has shown herself to be a highly effective fundraiser. In addition, she has received substantial seven-figure support from Democratic fundraising committees. She spent $4.89 million to win her first election in 2018, including a shade under $2.5 million for TV advertising alone. Against James Oberweis, she spent approximately $5.3 million.
While Underwood is not on formal lists of vulnerable Democratic House members, Republican officials have made it clear they intend to compete hard against her in the fall.