Illinois Dems unveil new congressional map Friday as Republican Kinzinger reviews his options
The new proposed map is designed to yield 14 Democratic and three GOP members of Congress from Illinois and will likely face court challenges.
WASHINGTON — Democrats in the Illinois General Assembly released the proposed new congressional map on Friday, with the lines drawn to yield 14 Democratic and three Republican districts.
The current House delegation is made up of 13 Democrats and five Republicans. Illinois lost a seat because of population shifts reflected in the 2020 census.
The potential three-seat pickup for Democrats in the Illinois remap could determine whether Democrats, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, continue to control the House after the 2022 elections.
Pelosi at present holds onto the House with a Democrat margin as slim as three votes.
The Illinois Democrats, who control the state House, Senate and governorship, drew odd-shaped districts — referred to as gerrymandered districts — designed to sweep in Democratic strongholds and shed GOP turf.
It appears that Democrats did not use all the available partisan firepower, said David Wasserman, the remap expert with “The Cook Political Report with Amy Walter.” “It’s both uglier and less effective for Democrats than expected,” he wrote. That may mean Democrats unwittingly created some potential swing districts rather than safe havens in 2022.
GOP Reps. Adam Kinzinger and Rodney Davis have said they may run for senator or governor if they determine there is no district where they have a chance to win.
Kinzinger, of Channahon, who carved out a national profile with his anti-Trump crusade, is in a district with freshman Democrat Marie Newman of LaGrange. The district has a Democratic edge. Kinzinger’s political problem is that he is a major target of the pro-Trump forces in the GOP and he would face a primary battle he may not survive no matter the district he picked to run in.
While the Democratic map draws separate districts for Republican Reps. Rodney Davis of Taylorville and Mike Bost of Murphysboro, Democrats did Davis no favor, drawing a snake-shaped district that slithers through central Illinois picking up Democratic turf.
Kinzinger, the best-known Republican in Illinois and the most vulnerable, is openly now looking at non-House options. “I have proudly served six terms in the U.S. House and it has been an honor to do so,” Kinzinger said in a statement. “Following the release of the new congressional maps for Illinois, my team and I will spend some time looking them over and reviewing all of the options, including those outside the House.”
In a statement, Davis said, “As expected, our lying governor teamed up with state Democrats to draw a shameful, partisan gerrymander in a desperate attempt to keep Nancy Pelosi in power. This proposed map, along with this entire redistricting process, is a complete joke. It’s clear Governor Pritzker and the Democrats will stoop to any low if it means they can keep their corrupt system going.”
LaHood said in a statement, “When I served in the Illinois State Senate, I was proud to support a Fair Maps redistricting process because Illinoisans have made it clear that they are tired of politicians picking their voters. Illinois Democrats and Governor Pritzker have shown with their proposed map that they care more about doing the bidding of Nancy Pelosi than giving Illinois voters fair representation in Washington. The proposed maps are a slap in the face to good governance everywhere. Illinois voters deserve much better than this non-transparent, corrupt process.”
In Illinois, a person does not have to live in a House district to run to represent it.
Freshman Rep. Mary Miller of Oakland, who has allied herself with the most controversial backers of former President Donald Trump, is thrown in the same district as Rep. Darin LaHood, R-Peoria. Since this is a heavily GOP district, the primary will determine who goes to Washington.
Republican National Committee spokesman Preya Samsundar said in a statement, “The Illinois Democrats’ proposed congressional map is a joke. National Democrats who claim to fight gerrymandering have officially lost any credibility with folks in Illinois and around the country with their silence on today’s announcement.”
State House and Senate leaders will hold hearings on the proposed map next week with a vote by the end of the month.
After the legislative map was released, state lawmakers took feedback and revised some districts before the state House and Senate chambers voted on the final version and sent it to Gov. J.B. Pritzker to sign.
The map shows three districts drawn to maximize the power of Black voters and one district to amplify Hispanic voting-age population strength — the same as the present map.
In a release, the House and Senate Redistricting Committees said the proposed map was “designed to comply with federal law and ensure the broad diversity of the state is reflected in the elected officials sent to represent Illinois in Washington, D.C.”
Rep. Elizabeth Hernandez, D-Cicero, chairperson of the House Redistricting Committee, in a statement, called the proposed map “an excellent first draft that amplifies diverse voices and gives every person in our state a say in government.”
Sen. Elgie Sims, D-Chicago, vice chair of the Senate Redistricting Committee, said in a statement, “Population changes over the last decade meant many of the current districts were unbalanced. This proposed map is an effort to ensure every community across our state receives fair and equal representation in Washington.”
Here is the hearing schedule:
• House hearing: 9 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 20 at the Illinois State Capitol, Room 114
• Senate hearing: 2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 20 at the Illinois State Capitol, Room 212 (Virtual Hearing — participants may testify at the hearing location or via Zoom)
Thursday afternoon update:
WASHINGTON — A draft of the proposed new 17-district lllinois congressional map will be released on Friday, several Democratic House incumbents were told on Thursday by representatives of Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Illinois Senate President Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, and House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside.
Several Democratic members were shown a map with only their own new district lines on Thursday. No member was permitted to see the entire map. The situation is a bit fluid and the timing of the release could change. What’s important is this: Illinois state Democrats drafted a map to maximize the election of Democrats to Congress.
The Chicago Sun-Times has learned the new congressional map, based on the 2020 Census, will be drawn to favor voters electing Democrats in 14 districts leaving only 3 where Republicans can easily win.
The current map, based on the 2010 Census has Illinois sending 13 Democrats and 5 Republicans to Congress.
There is only one Hispanic district on the proposed map, which must be approved by the Illinois General Assembly. There was a push to create two. The number of Black Districts will remain at three.
The state House and Senate are expected to vote on the map by the end of the month.
Wednesday’s report below...
WASHINGTON — A new congressional map drawn by Illinois Democratic state lawmakers will be unveiled in the coming days, with the revised district lines to determine the next move for GOP U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who is bolstered by strong third-quarter fundraising results.
KINZINGER CASH HAUL: Kinzinger, the best-known Republican in Illinois, is also the most vulnerable because he and U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., are the leading Republicans in Congress willing to speak out against former President Donald Trump’s lies, election denials and embrace of conspiracy theories. While being a national leader of the non-Trump wing of the GOP has raised his profile and fundraising ability, it also means it will be very difficult for him to win a GOP primary for a House seat in Illinois — no matter what the new Democratic-designed map looks like.
For the third quarter — covering July, August and September — Kinzinger raised $957,177 for his two political committees, the Sun-Times has learned. He took in $562,355 for his reelection war chest and $394,822 for his Future First Leadership PAC, used to bankroll his “Country First” drive to build a movement to break Trump’s grip on the Republican Party.
Kinzinger has $3.3 million cash on hand just for his reelection campaign. What is noteworthy about the haul is that Kinzinger raised the cash mainly through direct mail and digital appeals — not big events with headliners. That is a sign of strength.
What will Kinzinger do? He’d like to stay in the House. “His intention is to run,” said spokeswoman Maura Gillespie, who added, “We’ll have to see what the map shows, and then we can review his options.”
Third quarter fundraising results must be reported to the Federal Election Commission by Oct. 15.
DUCKWORTH 3Q HAUL: U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., is running for a second term in 2022 and so far no brand-name Republican is challenging her. Kinzinger has said in past months he would consider a Senate or governor run, depending on the map.
Her campaign announced Wednesday it raised more than $1.8 million in the third quarter, with nearly $5.8 million cash on hand.
NEW CONGRESSIONAL MAP: Staffers for Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Illinois Senate President Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, and House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, have been holding one-on-one “listening sessions” with the 13 Illinois House Democrats to gather their input for their district lines. The new map will be out any day now with a vote in Springfield by the end of October.
My sources are telling me the Democratic House members are talking to the state folks hat in hand with requests for their “ideal” districts.
While Illinois will have to lose a seat due to reapportionment based on the 2020 census — from 18 seats to 17 — it’s not bad from a Democratic perspective.
Though you will hear Democratic state lawmakers talk a lot about a “fair” map, the real deal is this: Democrats are drawing the new lines to maximize Democratic opportunities.
Dave Wasserman, the remap expert at the Cook Political Report with Amy Walter who has drawn sample maps using new census data, wrote Republicans could end up losing two seats: “Dems could replace the current 13D-5R map with a 14D-3R map — and they might need to to have any chance of holding the House majority.”
The most endangered Democrat, Rep. Lauren Underwood, will get a district shifted south, adding more Black Democrat voters and subtracting heavy GOP turf around McHenry County.
If Kinzinger’s district disappears, it’s recognition that with Trumpism alive in Illinois, Kinzinger will have a primary fight no matter the map. Downstate GOP strongholds will become packed with more Republicans to free up Democratic precincts.
Though the map has to pass the Illinois General Assembly, Pritzker will need to sign off on it, which is why chief of staff Anne Capara and deputy governors Andy Manar and Christian Mitchell have been part of the listening sessions.
BLACK AND HISPANIC DISTRICTS: The issue here is how Democratic voters in Chicago, the collar counties and a bit further out will be allocated.
State mapmakers want to keep the three districts drawn under the Civil Rights Act to amplify the power of Black voters, with the job made harder because of a decrease in the Black voting-age population. That means that districts for U.S. Reps. Robin Kelly, Bobby Rush and Danny Davis may be in for some redesign with ripple impacts on other Democratic incumbents.
At present there is one Hispanic district, represented by U.S. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia. At a public Senate Redistricting Committee hearing on Tuesday, Frank Calabrese, speaking on behalf of Latino elected officials, made the argument that Hispanic population gains justify a second district drawn to maximize the Hispanic vote.