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Former Rep. Melissa Bean will not run for her old seat in Illinois, admittedly disappointing Democratic Party leaders, including incoming Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
“I’m not running,” Bean told Roll Call in a phone interview Wednesday.
The Democrat represented the 8th district for three terms before her upset loss in November to Republican Joe Walsh. Her tea-party-backed opponent won the district, which is northwest of Chicago, by fewer than 300 votes.
Wasserman Schultz “was not happy to hear” that there won’t be a rematch, Bean said when asked about her former roommate’s reaction. Wasserman Schultz represents Florida’s 20th district and was tapped this week to take the helm of the DNC.
Bean wants to focus on her new job as CEO of the Executives’ Club of Chicago, a local business forum, she said.
Party officials are actively recruiting many of the House Democrats who lost their races last year to run for their former seats. While Bean’s name can now officially be crossed off that list, former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick has already announced that she will run for her old seat in Arizona, and former Reps. Dina Titus (Nev.), Kathy Dahlkemper (Pa.) and Dan Maffei (N.Y.) are all publicly mulling rematches.
Bean’s decision might actually help Illinois Democrats with redistricting, given that the state will lose a seat in the next cycle. Democrats essentially control the map-making process in the state, so they will likely target one of the four Republicans who picked up Democratic-held seats in 2010. Now that Bean is out for the count, Illinois Democrats will have more freedom to alter or even eliminate Walsh’s district.