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Illinois - 16th District

Incumbent -- Donald Manzullo (R) ; Defeated by Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R, in a primary on March 20, 2012

Safe Republican
Race Ratings Key

CQ Politics rates this race as "Safe," meaning the incumbent party is virtually certain to win the seat.


District Information

District Profile from Politics in America

The 16th spans most of the Illinois-Wisconsin border, taking in Rockford and covering the rolling northern prairie where family farmers grow corn and raise dairy cows. It includes all of six counties and parts of three others, including all of Winnebago and the majority of McHenry counties.

McHenry County (shared with the 8th) contains large expanses of farmland, and its proximity to Chicago draws many residents to the county's suburban enclaves. McHenry experienced several decades of growth, as did Boone County, to its west. Both counties were largely white GOP strongholds a decade ago, but growing Hispanic and black populations have brought diversity.

Roughly one-fifth of the 16th's voters live in the industrial hub of Rockford in Winnebago County. At one time a major machine-tool manufacturing center, Rockford suffered a typical Rust Belt decline. Although the transition from traditional manufacturing was difficult, the city upgraded to technology manufacturing. It is still one of the most densely populated manufacturing communities in the United States. An upswing in unemployment rates hurt the city, but construction of new manufacturing facilities has provided some jobs.

The 16th includes Illinois' leading dairy producers, and Jo Daviess County, in the northwest corner, is a state leader in raising beef cattle and producing hay. Galena, in the rolling hills of Jo Daviess near the Mississippi River, has a tourist-based economy.

About 70 percent of the district's black residents live in Rockford, giving the city a base of loyal Democrats. But the 16th overall covers historically conservative, GOP territory, and only once in the 20th century did voters here elect a Democrat to the House. Democrat Barack Obama won 53 percent of the district's vote in the 2008 presidential election.

Major Industry

Manufacturing, aircraft and machine parts, agriculture, trade


Rockford, 152,871; Crystal Lake (pt.), 40,320; Lake in the Hills, 28,965


The Rockford Peaches, three-time champions of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, were one of only two teams to play every season of the league's existence (1943-54).




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