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Race Ratings: Illinois Democrats’ Map Makes GOP Sweat

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Rep. Joe Walsh’s (above) home was drawn out of Illinois’ new 8th district. Walsh has said he will run in the 14th district, setting up a GOP primary race with Rep. Randy Hultgren.

Davis has toyed with leaving Congress recently, including floating bids for Cook County Board and Chicago mayor last year. But until he leaves, he can easily hold on to this seat.

8th district
Open Seat
Rating: Likely Democratic

This is a prime example of Democrats' redistricting efforts.

Democrats moved this district from the Wisconsin border to near Chicago's northwest suburbs. They made it more Democratic in the process by folding in the city of Elgin, which has a growing Hispanic population. They also redrew freshman Rep. Joe Walsh's (R) home out of the district.

The 8th is becoming a popular destination for ambitious Democrats. Two fairly well-known candidates, former Illinois Deputy Treasurer Raja Krishnamoorthi and Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth, are running.

Duckworth has the initial upper hand in the Democratic primary. She's well-known in the Chicago media market from her high-profile, close loss against Roskam in 2006. But both Democrats are running aggressive and smart campaigns.

There are some Republicans looking at this seat: state Rep. David Harris, conservative activist Rich Evans, businessman Andrew Palomo and Long Grove Village Clerk Maria Rodriguez. Democrats will likely hold on to this seat, even after a nasty primary.

9th district
Incumbent: Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D)
7th term (66 percent)
Rating: Safe Democratic

This North Shore Chicago district took one for the Democratic team in the redraw by annexing some more competitive parts of Chicagoland's northwest suburbs, such as Wheeling. As a consolation prize, this district also picked up some of the wealthiest communities in the country, such as Winnetka. Schakowsky must be happy about having that fertile fundraising ground under her purview next cycle.

Democrats moved freshman Rep. Robert Dold (R) into this district, too. He has yet to make a formal announcement but Republicans expect Dold will seek re-election in the 10th district instead.

10th district
Incumbent: Robert Dold (R)
1st term (51 percent)
Rating: Leans Democratic

Dold holds the dubious distinction of representing the most Democratic district in the country held by a GOP Member. He won the seat by a mere 4,500 votes in the most Republican-friendly year in decades.

Democrats did their best to make re-election difficult for Dold. They drew his home base, the affluent village of Winnetka, into the 9th district.

They moved more Democrats into the area by shifting it north to the Wisconsin state line and west to the McHenry County border.

Two Democrats have announced bids here so far: former MoveOn.org organizer Ilya Sheyman and businessman Brad Schneider. Sheyman has the backing of Howard Dean, but Schneider is the local party favorite.

Dold is also more conservative than his predecessor, now-Sen. Mark Kirk (R), on some social issues. That could give many voters pause and, combined with the new territory, could be enough to knock him out of office after a single term.

11th district
Incumbent: Judy Biggert (R)
7th term (64 percent)
Rating: Leans Democratic

All signs point to Biggert running again in this district. Even though she's started circulating petitions to run here, she has not confirmed where she'll seek re-election.

There's a reason Biggert is leading the charge on the GOP lawsuit. Democrats carved up her current, Naperville-based district with a vengeance.

Biggert's home is in the 5th, but almost 50 percent of her Congressional district is in the new 11th.

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