Pizzeris Owner Hopes to Flip Democratic District

According to the Wall Street Journal, “Earlier this year, Democratic Rep. Phil Hare was regarded as a shoo-in for re-election. His seat from the 17th district of Illinois has belonged to Democrats since 1982, and in 2008 no Republican bothered challenging him.”

“But suddenly, Mr. Hare faces the possibility of losing. Polls suggest that Republican Bobby Schilling, a pizzeria owner who has won tea-party support, has pulled even with and perhaps ahead of Mr. Hare. On Wednesday, their first and only televised debate will be aired across the district’s Mississippi River communities of western Illinois. “This race is very tight,” says The Cook Political Report, which this spring didn’t rate the contest as competitive, now calls it a ‘toss up.’ A one-time Democratic union steward, Mr. Schilling says he evolved into a Reagan Republican. He says that opening a pizzeria 14 years ago gave him a new appreciation for the burden of taxes. As an opponent of the health-care overhaul and tax increases generally, Mr. Schilling has been endorsed by former Republican presidential aspirant Mitt Romney along with various tea-party leaders—and received campaign support from the National Republican Congressional Committee.”