As we get closer to the March 20, 2012 primary election in Illinois, I wanted to review the races in each congressional district, to see who’s running and who’s likely to win. Here’s my review.
1st Congressional District – this south side Chicago district is heavily Democratic, and will likely continue to vote for incumbent Democrat congressman Bobby Rush. The only significant recent challenge to Rush came in 2000, when state senator Barack Obama ran against him and lost. The new 1st district is 52.4% black, which makes it an easy win for the Democrats.
2nd Congressional District – this district is currently represented by Jessie Jackson, Jr., who is under investigation by the House ethics committee for his role in the Rod Blagojevich senate seat scandal. Though Jackson has routinely won this district with 80% or more of the vote ever since he was first elected in 1994, he has a tough primary challenge this year from former representative Debbie Halvorson. Halvorson was ousted from her seat in the 11th district in 2010 by Adam Kinzinger, but is planning a comeback in the 2nd district, and has been capitalizing on Jackson’s ethics problems.
3rd Congressional District – the 3rd district has been represented by Democrat Dan Lipinski since 2005, when he practically inherited the district from his father, Bill Lipinski, who held the seat from 1993-2004. Lipinski was deeply involved in the Illinois redistricting, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, and is said to have drawn a potential primary opponent out of his district.
4th Congressional District – the 4th congressional district is one of the focuses of the Republican lawsuit against the Democrats’ new map. The Republicans’ contention is that the Democrats packed Hispanic voters into one district, when they should have (according to the ) created a second majority-minority Hispanic district. The fourth district, represented since 1993 by Luis Gutierrez, is 65.9% Hispanic, and the Republican plaintiffs say that a new Hispanic district could have been created (there are several other districts that have a 20%+ Hispanic population). Gutierrez is running unopposed.
5th Congressional District – the fifth district is currently represented by Democrat Mike Quigley, who won the seat in 2009 after Rahm Emmanuel left it to be the chief of staff to President Obama. The fifth congressional district is made up of heavily liberal white people (73% white), and is a safe Democrat seat.
6th Congressional District – the sixth district, where I live, is currently represented by Republican Peter Roskam, the chief deputy whip in the House. He won a contentious race in 2006 against Tammy Duckworth, who will run this year in the 8th district. The newly-drawn map packed a considerable amount of Republicans into the 6th district, which is another contention of the Republican lawsuit. Roskam is probably the safest Republican in Illinois right now. Roskam has drawn two challengers in his new district: Democrat Leslie Coolidge, an accountant and former partner at the KPMG auditing firm; and Geoffrey Petzel, a community activist and businessman.
7th Congressional District – the seventh district is currently represented by Democrat Danny Davis, who has held the seat since 1997. It is a heavily Democratic district and has a heavily black demographic. I used to live in this district as well. Danny Davis has no announced opposition in 2012.
8th Congressional District – the eighth district will probably be one of the most contentious districts in 2012. Rep. Joe Walsh, who currently represents the district, just announced today that he will be running again in the district, instead of in the 14th, where his home is located. He had announced previously that he would run against fellow Republican Rep. Randy Hultgren in that district, but now says that he doesn’t want to cede the 8th district to the Democrats. Walsh has two Democrat opponents so far, Tammy Duckworth and former Illinois deputy treasurer Raja Krishnamoorthi. While Krishnamoorthi has deeper roots in the district, Duckworth is much better known in the state due to her 2006 campaign against Peter Roskam, which she lost by fewer than 5,000 votes. Duckworth has garnered some high-level support from Democrats, and has been raising money faster than Krishnamoorthi, though Krishnamoorthi still has more money in the bank. While the Democratic primary may be tough, whoever wins it is likely to win the general election, even though the incumbent is a Republican.
9th Congressional District – currently represented by Democrat Jan Schakowsky, the 9th district, a northern suburban district is a heavily Democratic district, and the new district is almost a mirror image of the old district demographically. Schakowsky has one announced opponent in the March primary, Simon Ribeiro. Ribeiro ran against Schakowsky once before, and was defeated. This time around, he hopes that she is more vulnerable.
10th Congressional District – the tenth district is a swing district, and has been held by moderate Republicans for the last 10 years. Mark Kirk, who left the seat to take his newly-won Senate seat, was succeeded by Robert Dold, who faces an uphill battle for reelection. Three Democrats have entered the race to challenge Dold: Air Force Reserve Col. John Tree, former Moveon.org organizer Ilya Sheyman, and businessman Brad Schneider. While Dold probably hopes that he’ll face a battered opponent in the general election, he has been ranked by the National Journal as one of the top ten most vulnerable House members.
11th Congressional District – the eleventh district is currently represented by Adam Kinzinger, but he will not run in the 11th district if the Democrat’s map is upheld in court. Instead he will run in the 16th district, which includes some of his current district. However, running in the more Democratic district will be former Democratic Rep. Bill Foster, who was unseated by Randy Hultgren in the 14th district in 2010, as well as James Hickey, the president of the Orland Fire District, and former Aurora Township clerk Juan Thomas. On the Republican side, Rep. Judy Biggert could choose to run in the 11th district, as her current district was dismantled in the redistricting. She has not officially announced which district she will run in, but is expected to run in the new 11th district.
12th Congressional District – Democrat Jerry Costello is retiring from his seat, which gives the Republicans a chance to win the marginally Democratic seat. A few Republicans have expressed interest in running for the open seat, including the 2010 Lt. Governor nominee Jason Plummer and former Belleville mayor Roger Cook. On the Democratic side, possibilities include U.S. Army veteran Chris Miller and Kenneth Wiezer, a retired carpenter.
13th Congressional District – the 13th district is currently represented by Republican Judy Biggert, but most of the new district was not included in her old district, so it’s likely that she will run in the 11th district. Much of the new 13th district is territory currently represented by Republican Rep. Tim Johnson, one of the House’s most quirky members. He reportedly personally calls hundreds of constituents each day to keep in touch with his district, with the goal of calling every constituent during each term, so while the new district is more Democratic than his old district, he has a good chance of winning the new district. He will be challenged by Democrats David Gill (a physician), James Gray (a retired school administrator), and Matt Goetten (Green County State’s Attorney).
14th Congressional District – Republican Randy Hultgren represents this district, and with Joe Walsh’s announcement today that he will not run in the district, looks likely to sail to reelection. He will have some token opposition from the former chairman of the McHenry Democratic Party, Frank McClatchey.
15th Congressional District – Republican John Shimkus is currently running unopposed in the 15th congressional district for a sixth term. He currently represents the 19th district, which was redistricted out of existence, since Illinois lost a seat in Congress.
16th Congressional District – There will be a brutal Republican primary in this heavily Republican district in 2012. Ten-term congressman Don Manzullo will face freshman Adam Kinzinger. Most of Kinzinger’s current district is now in the 16th district, and Manzullo currently represents the 16th district. Whoever wins the Republican primary will likely win the general election. Adam Kinzinger rose to prominence in Illinois politics after defeating incumbent Rep. Debbie Halvorson in the 11th congressional district.
17th Congressional District – Republican Bobby Schilling narrowly defeated Democrat Phil Hare in 2010 to represent this district, and hopes to hold on to his seat despite a more Democratic district and an onslaught of Democratic opponents. Here are the Democrats lining up to challenge Schilling: Greg Aguilar, a director at Augustana College; Cheri Bustos, an alderwoman from East Moline; George Gaulrapp, mayor of Freeport; and Eric Reyes, an attorney from Rock Island.
18th Congressional District – the eighteenth district is a safe district for Republicans, and it has been represented by Aaron Schock since 2008. He was the youngest person elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, at age 27. It’s been speculated that the Democrats gave Schock a heavily Republican district in order to entice him to stay in the House, instead of challenging Democrat Dick Durbin in the Senate in 2014.
Questions: What district are you in? Who are you supporting and why?