No congressional candidate running in next week's election has received more in campaign contributions from civil servants than Representative Bill Foster (D–IL). And most of those dollars have come from scientists.
The Center for Responsive Politics says $99,002 from public servants/officials has flowed into Foster's campaign—topping the list. Of that amount, $75,050 came from employees at the Department of Energy's Fermilab National Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, where Foster spent the bulk of his career. Current polls suggest that he needs all the help he can get to retain his seat against businessman Randy Hultgren in a historically conservative district.
Scientists have always been a key constituent and contributor for Foster, whose King County district not only includes Fermilab, the top U.S. particle physics lab, but also sits close to Argonne National Laboratory in nearby Lemont and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. In the 2008 election, for his first full term, Foster got over $160,000 from scientists. He featured himself as a working "scientist and businessman" in television ads, eventually calling his win a "successful experiment."
Foster's current crop of election ads cultivate his nerdy persona—in one he appears with a periodic table of the elements on the wall behind him. But they're also more hard-hitting, quoting newspaper stories attacking his opponent, an Illinois state senator.