Candidate drops out, citing need to take down Hastert

A conservative congressional candidate is dropping out of the race against Rep. Bill Foster (D-Ill.) because he doesn't want Ethan Hastert to be the GOP nominee.

Businessman Jim Purcell called out Hastert by name in his press release, saying he doesn't want the former House Speaker's son to carry the GOP's hopes in November.

"Ethan is a very nice young man, but the reality is that his family is a liability in the general election," Purcell said. "Dennis Hastert is the very kind of Republican that voters resoundingly rejected in 2006. I don't believe Ethan will be able to get past that, regardless of how far right he runs in the primary. Voters are tired of actors. They want real leadership."

Republicans could be headed for an arduous primary, but anti-establishment types risk splitting up the non-Hastert vote among several candidates.

Purcell's exit will likely be a boost to state Sen. Randy Hultgren, who is setting himself up as the main alternative to Hastert. But the field isn't clear yet, with political newcomer Jeff Danklefsen and former Defense Department employee Mark Vargas still in the running.

It's a familiar situation for the GOP to have a pitched primary battle in Foster's district. Still, observers agree Hultgren would be much more formidable in a head-to-head matchup with Hastert.

Purcell joined the race less than a month ago.