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Jim Oberweis

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Jim Oberweis

Jim Oberweis
Member of the Illinois Senate
from the 25th district
Assumed office
January 9, 2013
Preceded by Chris Lauzen
Personal details
Born James D. Oberweis
(1946-06-10) June 10, 1946
Aurora, Illinois, United States
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Elaine (?-2003, div.),
Julie (2008-)
Children 5
Residence Sugar Grove, Illinois
Alma mater University of Illinois, Urbana-
University of Chicago (MBA)
Religion Roman Catholicism

James D. "Jim" Oberweis (born June 10, 1946) is an American businessman, investment manager and politician from the state of Illinois. The owner of Oberweis Dairy, in North Aurora near Chicago, he is currently a member of the Illinois Senate, representing the 25th district since January 2013.

A perennial candidate for higher office, he sought the Republican nomination for the United States Senate in 2002 and 2004 and the Republican nomination for Governor of Illinois in 2006. He was the Republican nominee for Illinois's 14th congressional district in a March 2008 special election and the November 2008 general election, losing on both occasions to Democrat Bill Foster. He was finally successful in an election campaign when he was elected to the Illinois Senate in 2012. He ran for the U.S. Senate again in 2014, losing to Democratic incumbent Dick Durbin.


  • Education 1
  • Career 2
  • Television 3
  • Political activity 4
    • 2002 U.S. Senate election 4.1
    • 2004 U.S. Senate election 4.2
    • 2006 gubernatorial election 4.3
    • 2008 Congressional elections 4.4
    • Illinois Republican Party State Central Committee 4.5
    • State Senate 4.6
      • Committee assignments 4.6.1
    • 2014 U.S. Senate election 4.7
  • Other accomplishments 5
  • Personal life 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


After graduating from Marmion Academy in Aurora, Illinois, he attended the University of Illinois, where he joined Phi Kappa Tau fraternity. He received a B.A. from Illinois, and then an MBA from the University of Chicago.[1]


In 1968, Oberweis became a junior high school teacher at Waldo Junior High in Aurora, teaching math and science.[2] In 1970, he changed careers and became an investment stockbroker. Within a few years, he was promoted to manager of a branch office.

In 1976, he began publication of an investment newsletter, the Oberweis Report, which reported on emerging growth companies. The Report was rated highly among investment advice newsletters. In 1978, Oberweis and his first wife, Elaine, established their own investment management company, Oberweis Securities in Aurora, Illinois. Oberweis Securities was very profitable. In 1986, Oberweis used his gains from Oberweis Securities to purchase control of his family's business, Oberweis Dairy.

After the death of his father Joe in 1984, and his successor and oldest brother John suffering an incapacitating stroke in 1986, Jim Oberweis turned day-to-day operations over to outside presidents who embarked on acquisition programs highly leveraged with debt. Elaine Oberweis (University of Chicago MBA '89)[3] left their brokerage business in 1989 to rescue the dairy business from near-ruin.[4]

He remained active in the investment field. In 1987, he founded Oberweis Emerging Growth Fund.

In 1989, he established Oberweis Asset Management (OAM). OAM specializes in "small-cap growth equities investing", and has individual accounts for institutional investors and a family of mutual funds for individual investors. As of 2015, OAM had about $2 billion under management.[5]

Oberweis moved the Oberweis Dairy from Aurora to its present location in North Aurora. He also began a chain of company-owned dairy stores, and has maintained a dairy delivery business to homes in the Chicago area. A franchise program began in 2004, to expand the dairy business outside of northeast Illinois.[6]


Oberweis became a financial news anchor and host of the show "Catching Winners Early" on the Financial News Network. In Chicago, Oberweis became a regular guest on the Ask an Expert show. Oberweis was also a popular guest on CNBC, CNN and Bloomberg TV.[1]

Political activity

Oberweis has sought elective office six times, finally succeeding in the 2012 race for the 25th State Senate district seat. His record of losing elections has earned him the nickname "the Milk Dud".[7]

2002 U.S. Senate election

In 2002, Oberweis sought the Republican nomination for U.S. Senator, but lost in the primary, finishing second of three with 31%.[8]

2004 U.S. Senate election

Oberweis ran for Senator again in 2004, but again lost in the primary, finishing second of seven with 24%.[8]

Soon after the primary, the winner, Jack Ryan withdrew due to personal scandal. Some Republicans felt that as the second-place finisher, Oberweis should replace Ryan, but the state central committee chose Alan Keyes instead. Keyes lost to Barack Obama by the largest margin for the Illinois U.S. Senate race in history.[9]

Oberweis's 2004 campaign was notable for a television commercial in which he flew in a helicopter over Chicago's Soldier Field and claimed enough illegal immigrants came into America in a week (10,000 a day) to fill the stadium's 61,500 seats.[10]

During his 2004 Senate campaign, Oberweis appeared in television commercials for Oberweis Dairies. The Federal Election Commission ruled that this was an improper corporate contribution to the campaign, and fined Oberweis $21,000 for violation of campaign finance law.[11]

2006 gubernatorial election

In 2006, Oberweis sought the Republican nomination for Governor of Illinois. (He started his campaign in April 2005.) He lost in the primary, finishing second of five with 32%.[8] As part of his campaign, he supported amending the Illinois Constitution to define marriage as opposite-sex only.[12] The winner of the primary was Judy Baar Topinka, who was defeated by Democrat Rod Blagojevich in the general election 49.8 to 39.3 per cent, with Rich Whitney, the Green Party candidate, receiving a little over 10.3 per cent.[8] Some media reports indicated that Oberweis received a large number of write-in votes in the November 2006 general election, and he spontaneously re-appeared in some tracking polls at 1 or 2 per cent in October of that year; this was apparently spontaneous and not officially organized. For that reason, the write-in votes were not officially tracked as they would with an official, declared write-in candidate, and a statewide total is not known.

2008 Congressional elections

When U.S. Representative Dennis Hastert resigned his seat (Illinois' 14th congressional district) on November 26, 2007, Oberweis ran to replace him. Oberweis was endorsed by Hastert.[13] He won the primary for the special election for the remainder of Hastert's unfinished term with 56%. He also won the primary for the general election for the next term, with 58%.[8]

However, Oberweis lost the March special election to Democrat Bill Foster, getting 47% of the vote to Foster's 53%. He lost to Foster again in November, 58% to 42%.[8]

Illinois Republican Party State Central Committee

During the elections for the State Central Committee in March, 2010, Jim Oberweis ran and won a seat on the Illinois Republican Party's State Central Committee representing the 14th Congressional District.[2][14] In 2013, as State Central Committeeman, Oberweis led the effort to oust former Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady after his controversial public support of same-sex marriage.[15][16] Oberweis's efforts failed, however Brady eventually resigned because of the controversy.

Oberweis did not run again for the State Central Committee for the election in April 2014.[17]

State Senate

In the 2012 general election, Oberweis won the 25th State Senate seat previously held by Chris Lauzen, his former GOP primary rival in the 2008 congressional race. He had announced his bid in September 2011.[18] He defeated his Democratic opponent, Corinne Pierog, 57.5%-42.5%.

Committee assignments

  • Appropriations I
  • Labor and Commerce (Minority Spokesperson)
  • Environment
    • Subcommittee on Special Issues
  • Local Government
    • Subcommittee on Special Issues (Minority Spokesperson)
  • Public Health

2014 U.S. Senate election

Oberweis was the Republican nominee for the 2014 Senate election, for the seat held by Democrat Dick Durbin.[19] He defeated Doug Truax in the Republican primary with 56% of the vote. He was defeated by Durbin in the November election.[20]

Other accomplishments

Oberweis is an avid chess player. In 2013, he had a USCF rating of 1926 (class A).[2] He supported the Fox Valley Chess Club for many years. He also served as President of the Illinois Chess Association for two years, as Illinois delegate to the USCF,[21] and as a trustee of the American Chess Foundation and the Chess Trust Fund.[1]

Personal life

Jim Oberweis and his first wife, the former Elaine Marie Cisek, have five children but divorced in 2003.[3] He has two stepchildren with his current wife, Julie, and sixteen grandchildren.[22][23]

Oberweis is a Roman Catholic.[24]


  1. ^ a b c "Alumni Hall of Fame - James D. Oberweis University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign". Retrieved February 12, 2008. 
  2. ^ a b c Dietrich, Matt (September 24, 2014). "Ice Cream and Politics: Jim Oberweis Fun Facts". Reboot Illinois. Retrieved October 15, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "A Senate story". University of Chicago. February 2004. Retrieved September 9, 2014. 
  4. ^ Lea Murphy (November 14, 1994). "Making a Big Moove After Troubles, Oberweis Dairy on Expansion Trail". Crain's Chicago Business. 
  5. ^ "Senator Jim Oberweis (R)". 99th Illinois General Assembly. Retrieved April 1, 2015.
  6. ^ Martha Leonard (2004-11-26). "Oberweis looks to enter ice cream market". Business First of Columbus. 
  7. ^ "He's the Milk Dud No More - Oberweis Wins State Senate Seat". CBS2 Chicago. 2012-11-06. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f "Illinois State Board of Elections". Retrieved 2015-03-29. 
  9. ^ "Keyes Concedes Says Obama Stands For Evil". Indianapolis Star. 
  10. ^ Ford, Liam; Avila, Oscar. "Oberweis ads rile immigrant groups". Chicago Tribune. 
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ "Oberweis injects potentially divisive issue into GOP primary". Crain's Chicago Business. 2006-01-23. 
  13. ^ "Hastert endorses Oberweis". The Courier News. 2007-12-14. 
  14. ^ "Illinois Republican Party State Central Committee Members" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-03-29. 
  15. ^ Bondioli, Sara (April 21, 2014). "Illinois GOP Ousts Officials Who Opposed Former Chairman's Support Of Same-Sex Marriage". The Huffington Post. Retrieved October 15, 2014. 
  16. ^ Lester, Kerry (January 24, 2013). "Will Gay Marriage Stance Cost GOP Chairman His Job?".  
  17. ^ "Illinois GOP Announces 2014 Candidates for State Central Committee". Illinois Review. March 28, 2014. Retrieved October 23, 2014. 
  18. ^ [2]
  19. ^ Pearson, Rick (November 22, 2013). "Oberweis to run for U.S. Senate seat held by Durbin".  
  20. ^ Skiba, Katherine & Kim Geiger (November 4, 2014) - "Sen. Durbin Charges to Victory, Will Serve Record 4th Term". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  21. ^ "United States Chess Federation". 2007-06-01. Retrieved 2007-02-12. 
  22. ^ "98th Illinois General Assembly". Retrieved 2014-03-21. 
  23. ^ "Family matters -- a correspondence with Jim Oberweis' daughter". Chicago Tribune. March 15, 2008. Retrieved September 9, 2014. 
  24. ^ Henderson, Harold - 15 Candidates! We Can Help--The Reader's Guide to the Big Showdown Association of Alternative Newsmedia, May 15, 2005

External links

  • Senator Jim Oberweis (R) 25th District at the 99th Illinois General Assembly
    • By session: 99th,98th
  • Illinois State Senator Jim Oberweis constituency site
  • Jim Oberweis for U.S. Senate
  • Jim Oberweis at DMOZ
  • Profile at Project Vote Smart
  • Profile at
  • Profile at Ballotpedia
Party political offices
Preceded by
Steve Sauerberg
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Illinois
(Class 2)

Most recent
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