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Updated Oct. 14, 2010
Halvorson, the former Illinois Senate Majority Leader, won her seat in what was a fantastic year for Illinois Democrats. In a much less favorable year, she faces Republican Adam Kinzinger, an Iraq War veteran and former member of the McLean County Board.
Kinzinger has gotten support from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Vets for Freedom and tea party groups in the district. He and Halvorson have tangled over Social Security, tax cuts and employment.
An attack on Kinzinger's military record backfired, and in August Halvorson switched campaign managers. She got the endorsement of the National Rifle Association in late September.
Complicating factors are that this district overlaps with the expensive Chicago media market and other smaller markets, and the House candidates have to make their voices heard over messaging from the Senate and gubernatorial campaigns.
As September drew to a close, it was getting increasingly difficult to see a path to victory for Halvorson.
District Profile from Politics in America
Beginning south of Chicago in suburban Will County, the 11th heads west through the old industrial city of Joliet and into farm country, with a sliver making a southward turn in LaSalle County to run parallel to Interstate 39 as it heads to Bloomington-Normal.
Will County (shared mainly with the 13th) has seen an influx of families, and fast-growing Joliet's proximity to the Chicago metropolitan area has helped alleviate past economic troubles here. Many visitors to Joliet come to the Harrah's Casino and Hotel and the Rialto Square Theatre.
Ongoing debate over construction of a third Chicago metro-area airport in Peotone, southeast of Joliet, pits residents in the 11th's northern areas, who say a new airport would bring an economic boost to the suburbs, against rural residents, who worry it would disrupt their way of life.
South of Will, the 11th includes Kankakee County, still in the ambit of Chicagoland, before assuming a more rural posture as it takes in a small corner of Livingston County, all of Grundy and LaSalle counties, and most of Bureau County. A jaunt south takes it to Bloomington-Normal (shared with the 15th), home of Illinois State University. The politically competitive 11th gave Democrat Barack Obama 53 percent of its 2008 presidential vote but the U.S. House seat has switched party control in two consecutive elections.
Farm equipment manufacturing, agriculture
Joliet (pt.), 133,173; Bloomington (pt.), 33,339; Normal (pt.), 32,056; Kankakee, 27,537
The notoriously tough and now-closed Joliet Prison, immortalized in "The Blues Brothers," inspired the name of a new minor-league independent baseball team, the Slammers.
|2010||general||Adam Kinzinger (R)||129,108||57.3%|
|Debbie Halvorson (D)||96,019||42.6%|
|2008||general||Debbie Halvorson (D)||185,652||58.4%|
|Marty Ozinga (R)||109,608||34.5%|
|Jason Wallace (GREEN)||22,635||7.1%|
|2006||general||Jerry Weller (R)||109,009||55.1%|
|John Pavich (D)||88,846||44.9%|
|2004||general||Jerry Weller (R)||173,057||58.7%|
|Tari Renner (D)||121,903||41.3%|
|2002||general||Jerry Weller (R)||124,192||64.3%|
|Keith Van Duyne (D)||68,893||35.7%|
|2008||Barack Obama: 53%||John McCain: 45%|
|2004||John Kerry: 46%||George W. Bush: 53%|
|2000||Al Gore: 48%||George W. Bush: 50%|