Illinois Republicans say Former House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert has decided to resign from Congress Nov. 6 rather than finish out his term, even though that step could enhance Democratic prospects of picking up his seat.
Speculation is that Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich may set the special election date to coincide with the Feb. 5 presidential primary. The candidacy of Illinois' Sen. Barack Obama presumably would swell the number of Democratic voters.
But some Republicans believe Hastert's early departure could aid the candidacy of his probable chosen successor: Jim Oberweis, a wealthy businessmen and unsuccessful aspirant for statewide office. Hastert is known to oppose State Sen. Chris Lauzen, who long has had his eye on the seat.
RUDY IN NANTUCKET
Two major political contributors to President George W. Bush, who later named them as U.S. ambassadors, were principal hosts at a $2,300-a-ticket reception last Sunday in the chic resort of Nantucket, Mass., for Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani.
Peter Terpeluk, a Washington lobbyist who became ambassador to Luxembourg, is Giuliani's national finance chairman. Richard J. Egan, a Massachusetts industrialist who was ambassador to Ireland, is the former New York mayor's state finance chairman.
A third major co-host was former Massachusetts Gov. Paul Cellucci, who, instead of joining the state's Republican leaders backing former Gov. Mitt Romney, is Giuliani's Massachusetts political chairman. On the host committee was former General Electric CEO Jack Welch. The event was held at the home of Giuliani's lecture agent, Bernie Swain.