Footlik falls in Illinois primary

President Bill Clinton’s former liaison to the Jews lost in a landslide in an Illinois congressional primary.

Jay Footlik won just 19 percent of the vote in the 10th District’s Democratic race to 81 percent for businessman Daniel Seals, who captured the popular vote, 72,704 to 16,563.

Seals will meet Republican incumbent Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) in November in a rematch of the 2006 congressional election. Kirk, one of Israel’s strongest supporters on the Hill, won that contest, 53 percent to 47 percent over Seals, then a political newcomer. Seals’ strong ’06 showing apparently bolstered his primary run.

Footlik, who also was the Jewish liaison to U.S. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) in his 2004 presidential campaign, ran a campaign that relied heavily on national support from high-profile Jews. He had reached out to Jews in the 10th District, in the northern suburbs of Chicago, and took heat in the local press for sending out a flier to Jews saying they would be “meshugena” not to vote for him.

“He was a formidable opponent. I like the campaign he ran,” Seals told the Chicago Sun Times Tuesday night after his victory. “I think I’ve got stronger ties throughout the district.”

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