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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.

Hultgren has a slight upper hand here because he's represented about 40 percent of the district. Walsh has only represented about 30 percent.

But Walsh has been underestimated before. There's no telling what kind of campaign he'll run now that he's a Member with resources.

15th district
Incumbent: John Shimkus (R)
8th term (71 percent)
Rating: Safe Republican

Shimkus is one of the luckiest Republicans in the delegation and will seek re-election in a safer Republican district than his current one. He has a great deal of new territory, but it's all rich with Republican voters.

16th district
Member-vs.-Member Race
Rating: Likely Republican

This district will likely feature a brutal GOP primary that highlights the generational divide between Illinois Republicans.

Ten-term Rep. Don Manzullo, 67, and freshman Rep. Adam Kinzinger, 33, are expected to face off. Although neither Republican has made a formal announcement, Manzullo lives in this district and Kinzinger already started circulating petitions to run here.

Earlier this year, Republicans believed that Manzullo might retire. But sources say Manzullo turned a corner late this summer and is gearing up for another campaign.

Kinzinger lives in the redrawn 2nd, but his current district was split into three different House districts. The majority of his current territory now lies in the 16th district.

Democrats removed populous Rockford in the redraw, and as a result, the seat will most likely stay in GOP hands.

Democrats could make this seat competitive if the primary gets ugly, but without a candidate and with so many other competitive contests in the state, Democrats would be wise to put their money elsewhere.

17th district
Incumbent: Bobby Schilling (R)
1st term (53 percent)
Rating: Leans Democratic

Schilling's bid for a second term is going to be much harder than his first attempt.

The current 17th earned the nickname "Rabbit on Skateboard" for its odd and obviously gerrymandered shape. The lines around the redrawn 17th are much cleaner, effectively moving the district into the northwest corner of the state. It also is more favorable to Democrats, and candidates are lining up to run against Schilling. State Sen. Dave Koehler, Freeport Mayor George Gaulrapp and East Moline Alderman Cheri Bustos are already in the crowded Democratic primary. Whoever wins the nomination will have an advantage over Schilling in the general election.

18th district
Incumbent: Aaron Schock (R)
2nd term (69 percent)
Rating: Safe Republican

Democrats went relatively easy on Schock by packing Republicans into this redrawn district.

Why did Democrats spare an up-and-comer like Schock? Some Republicans speculate it's because they want Schock to stay in the House instead of challenging Sen. Dick Durbin (D) in 2014. But given the make-up of this new district, almost any Republican could hold on to this seat until the next redraw.

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