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Illinois - 13th District

Incumbent -- Judy Biggert (R) ; Running for re-election

Safe Republican
Race Ratings Key
 

Updated Feb. 3, 2010

Biggert's district at the southwestern edge of Chicago suburbia has long-standing Republican tendencies. But the congresswoman's run of routine election victories was interrupted in 2008 when Democratic businessman Harper ran a serious challenge and held her to a career-low margin of 10 percentage points.

Harper is back for a rematch and is off to a much earlier start than in his 2008 campaign.

The key question for the 2010 midterm campaign is how much Harper benefited last time from sharing the ticket with Barack Obama. Then a senator from Illinois, Obama's favorite-son presidential candidacy earned him a 10-point edge among the usually GOP-leaning 13th District electorate.

But Harper - after collecting $1.1 million for his 2008 campaign - hasn't exactly gotten off to a roaring start at fundraising for this year's campaign. He reported a modest $173,000 in receipts and $99,000 cash on hand as of Jan. 13. That left incumbent Biggert with big advantages at the time, with $804,000 in receipts and $638,000 in cash.

 

District Information

District Profile from Politics in America

More than half of the suburban Chicago-based 13th's population lives in the district's southern part of DuPage County, an area that includes Naperville. Nearly 40 percent of district residents live in fast-growing northern Will County communities such as Bolingbrook and Romeoville, with the rest living in the southwestern edge of Cook County.

Naperville, Downers Grove (a small part of which is in the 6th) and Oak Brook (shared with the 6th) have become leading suburban Chicago business centers, and companies such as OfficeMax, Sara Lee and McDonald's have corporate headquarters here. These large corporations and other high-paying employers have been attracted to the district by Chicago's busy O'Hare International Airport (nearby in the 6th), as well as by a mostly white-collar workforce. The presence of these corporations has helped the 13th achieve one of the highest median household incomes in the state and the nation.

The Argonne National Laboratory, in southeast DuPage, and the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, in the neighboring 14th, have made the area into a scientific research and technology hub. DePaul University also has a campus in Naperville.

Even as suburban communities here grow, some cities in the district are experiencing rising unemployment rates and municipal budget shortfalls. The growth in the district has been in minority populations, while the white population has decreased overall. The district's growth over the past decade also has created serious traffic problems for its suburban residents.

Voters in the 13th tend to be fiscally conservative and have a history of voting Republican in federal elections. But many residents here hold moderate views on social and environmental issues, and home-state Democrat Barack Obama won the 13th with 54 percent of the vote in the 2008 presidential election.

Major Industry

Scientific research, health care, insurance

Cities

Naperville (pt.), 141,838; Bolingbrook, 73,366; Aurora (pt.), 59,075

notable

The Millennium Carillon in Naperville is among the four largest in the world, with a system of 72 bronze bells weighing up to 6 tons each.

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