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Aurora(s) and the Fight for the House

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo
The new lines in Colorado reshaped Rep. Mike Coffman’s district from a safe Republican seat to one of the most competitive districts in the country.

Similar to its Colorado twin, Aurora, Ill., is likely to be an ongoing struggle for Republicans. The Chicago suburb is home to two of the most famous fictional public access television talk-show hosts in history, Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar, but it also has an exploding minority population, with growing numbers of Hispanic voters to go along with black voters.

Aurora was split between the 13th and 14th districts before Democrats redrew the map and put the city entirely within the 11th district. That’s where Rep. Judy Biggert (R) faces former Rep. Bill Foster (D), who lost in 2010, in November. Both candidates have represented portions of Aurora before.

Biggert is winning the cash battle, with $1.5 million in cash on hand compared with $1.3 million for Foster. But the Democrat has personal money he could spend, and President Barack Obama will do well in the district.

The Republican lawmaker has to hold her own in Aurora and compensate for the votes she’ll lose in the city by winning by larger margins in the eastern and southern portions of the district.

Both Biggert and Foster have voting records to defend, and this race should remain competitive, even though it’s in the president’s backyard.

New York’s 27th District

East Aurora, N.Y. | Population: 14,000

We’re stretching the parameters of the story a bit, but East Aurora, N.Y., is part of one of the most competitive districts in the country. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) would have won the 27th district with 54 percent in 2008, and it is the most Republican seat in the Empire State. But Democrats are optimistic because they believe Rep. Kathy Hochul (D) is precisely the candidate who can hold it.

The former Erie County clerk, who was initially elected to Congress in a 2011 special election, will have to continue to win over and make a personal connection with voters who don’t care for President Barack Obama.

East Aurora is one of the Southtowns of Erie County: southwest of Buffalo, full of “squishy” Republicans, according to local observers, but lacking Walmart and Starbucks. It’s the type of town where presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and Hochul’s challenger, former Erie County Executive Chris Collins, need to do well. But that is no guarantee. Hochul is from Hamburg, about 15 miles to the west, and is regarded as a very good retail politician.

Minnesota’s 8th District

Aurora, Minn. | Population: 1,700

This town is small, but it’s part of an important region for Democrats in the northeastern part of the state. Rural areas are typically more conservative and Republican, but not in the Iron Range.

The area is known for its tradition of organized labor through the mining community. St. Louis County (including Aurora) voted 65 percent for Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) in 2004 and for President Barack Obama in 2008. The president would have won the redrawn 8th district with 53 percent.

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