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Illinois Democrats Target GOP Freshmen With New Map

File Photo
Illinois' new map puts freshman Republican Reps. Joe Walsh (above) and Randy Hultgren in the new 14th district.

The central urban Chicago districts currently represented by Democratic Reps. Danny Davis, Luis Gutierrez and Mike Quigley have been stretched out west into the suburbs. Quigley’s district in particular has increased greatly in geographical size. It now stretches west to include O’Hare airport and all the way south to the Hinsdale border.

The new map also puts areas represented by Reps. Judy Biggert and Peter Roskam into the same suburban Chicago 6th district, setting up what could be a second face-off for these two Republicans. Biggert defeated Roskam in the primary for an open seat in 1998, and Roskam won his own seat in 2006.

But Biggert’s Hinsdale residence is right on the border between the new 5th and 6th districts, so she could choose to run against Quigley instead of her GOP colleague — or she could move slightly south and run in the new 11th district. It’s also worth noting that the seven-term Congresswoman has also been rumored to be considering retirement.

Freshman Rep. Robert Dold’s (R) home of Kenilworth has been moved into Rep. Jan Schakowsky’s (D) heavily Democratic lakeshore district north of Chicago. This is now one of the most Democratic districts in the state, and Dold will have a tough time running for re-election there.

Dold could move instead into the new 10th district, where no current Member resides. In what can only be described as great timing, Democrat Brad Schneider, a Deerfield businessman, announced his bid earlier this week for that 10th district seat.

Two other freshman Republicans, Reps. Randy Hultgren and Joe Walsh, have been moved into the new 14th district. This new district includes more of Hultgren’s current territory, which means Walsh will face an uphill battle in the primary against his colleague or decide to move to run in the newly drawn, more suburban 8th district.

However, at least two Democrats have indicated their interest in the newly drawn 8th district. Former Illinois Deputy Treasurer Raja Krishnamoorthi has already announced his candidacy, and Department of Veterans Affairs official Tammy Duckworth has reportedly also expressed interested. Duckworth lost her first bid for the House in 2006, when Roskam defeated her in a race that garnered national headlines in part because of the Democrat’s profile as a wounded veteran.

Meanwhile, the Congressional boundaries in downstate Illinois were also changed, but they are not nearly as detrimental to Republicans in the Chicago suburbs.

Republican Reps. Bobby Schilling and Aaron Schock were moved into the 17th district, which includes the northwestern corner of the state. Schilling, a freshman, is from Rock Island, which is on the state’s border with Iowa and smack center in the middle of the district. Schock hails from Peoria, which would be in the southeastern corner of the new 17th district — an easy move for the two-term Congressman if he’d like a clear shot at the new heavily Republican 18th district. That district stretches from the western part of the state all the way to include McLean County in the central part of the state.

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