Illinois Summary and Analysis

 Illinois:  New Map, Big Changes 

            Illinois lost one of its nineteen congressional districts following the 2010 census. With majorities in both houses of the state legislature and a Democratic governor, Illinois Democrats firmly controlled the process of eliminating one seat and carving the state into eighteen new districts.  SB1178, the Illinois Congressional Redistricting Act of 2011, passed both houses of the legislature on May 24, 2011 and was signed into law by Governor Patrick Quinn on June 24, 2011.[1] 

            The new congressional map withstood two court challenges.  First, the Committee for a Fair and Balanced Map sued the Illinois State Board of Elections for violations of the Voting Rights Act.  The plaintiffs were ten incumbent Republican members of Congress and six registered voters.  They alleged that the map dilutes the political power of Illinois’ Hispanic population, focusing primarily on the Fourth District.  The court upheld the map finding that “the weight of the evidence shows that the predominant intent of the 2011 Illinois legislature in maintaining Adopted District 4 in substantially the same shape as when it was created in 1991 was a desire to enhance Democratic seats in the state as a whole, to keep Democratic incumbents in Districts 3, 4, and 5 with their constituents, to preserve existing district boundaries, and to maintain communities of interest. Because race was not the predominant factor, the Committee failed to meet its burden of proof on its racial gerrymander claims under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act or the Constitution.”[2]  The League of Women Voters tried a different tact.  They sued the governor and members of the Illinois State Board of Elections claiming that the congressional and state legislative maps violate their First Amendment rights by trying to control their political voices.[3]  The district court dismissed this novel claim, finding that the redistricting plan in no way burdens the exercise of First Amendment rights of the League of Women Voters or its members.[4]

            The new map preserves the four minority-represented districts under the federal Voting Rights Act.  However, all four are Chicago districts and the city population declined by some 200,000 in the last decade, mostly from the districts of Representatives Jesse Jackson, Jr., Bobby Rush, Luis Gutierrez, and Danny Davis.  Because of this, the map makers stretched the city congressional districts well into the suburbs and beyond.[5]

            Illinois Democrats worked hard to draw a map giving their party the best chance of unseating Republican members.  The current delegation, elected in 2010 under the old map, has eleven Republicans and eight Democrats.  The new map is designed to flip that advantage in favor of the Democrats and could result in as many as twelve Democrats and only six Republicans.[6]  It accomplishes this by preserving the crescent shaped Fourth District (created 20 years ago to be a Latino district) and adding a number of new oddly-shaped, meandering districts including the First, Fifth, and Sixth. 

First District 

The new Illinois First adds 125,217[7] new people. As a Voting Rights Act district, it has long included traditionally black areas on Chicago’s south side, including the University of Chicago and much of its surrounding neighborhoods. However, due to declining population in the city, the district’s southern boundary now stretches well into Will County to include Manhattan and, on the west, to include Elwood. Adding such a large swath of suburban and rural areas has reduced the African American proportion from 61.22% to 52.4%.[8] Latino (7.4%) and Asian (2.1%) representation remain unchanged.  Long-time Democratic incumbent Bobby Rush is being challenged by Republican Donald Peloquin, the mayor of Blue Island. 

Second District 

The Second District runs along Illinois’ northern border with Indiana.  Similar to the First, it is protected under the Voting Rights Act and remains a majority African American district with 53.8%, down from 67.7%.[9] The old Second District ran from the urban south side of Chicago at its north to just over the Will County line at the south.  The new district now extends some 30 miles further south to include substantial chunks of Will and Kankakee Counties, adding large numbers of rural voters. Seven-term incumbent, Democrat Jesse Jackson Jr., will face Republican newcomer Brian Woodworth, a professor at Olivet Nazerene University. 

Third District

The Third District has changed substantially by losing much of its Chicago section, although it still covers a portion of the city’s southwest side, including Midway Airport. The Third also lost a large portion of the district in northwestern Cook County, including most of Brookfield, Riverside, North Riverside, Forest Park, and Berwyn. It picks up the northeastern portion of Will County.  Four-term Democratic incumbent Dan Lipinski will run against Republican political newcomer Richard Grabowski. 

Fourth District 

The Illinois Fourth made huge population gains following redistricting, adding 111,657[10] new voters. The new district, which remains entirely within Cook County, looks like the gaping jaws of a robot, and has been cited as a gerrymandering champion by The Economist[11].  It consists of northern and southern portions that sandwich District Seven, narrowly connected by a half-mile stretch along I-294.  It was constructed this way 20 years ago to be a Hispanic district under the Voting Rights Act and remains at 65.9% Latino. The northern portion consists of suburban Melrose Park and portions of northwest Chicago, while the southern portion includes Berwyn, Brookfield, Cicero, and Lyons and the Chicago neighborhoods of Brighton Park, Sleepy Hollow, and Archer Heights. While the northern and southern portions are nothing new for the Fourth, the latest redistricting cycle has given the district additional population, adding substantial portions of Melrose Park to the north and Berwyn, Brookfield, and Lyons to the south. Democratic incumbent Luis Gutierrez is running uncontested in 2012.

Fifth District 

The new Illinois Fifth adds 186,834 new voters, making it the largest beneficiary of the 2011 redistricting cycle[12]. The district includes downtown Chicago and neighborhoods like Lincoln Park and Irving Park to its north and northwest, extending to include O’Hare Airport. It continues south of the airport to include the suburbs of Schiller Park and Northlake, along with parts of Oakbrook and Western Springs. Despite its large population gains, the Fifth is actually losing territory, giving up area west of Chicago including River Grove, Franklin Park, and Northlake. It will be contested by Democratic incumbent Mike Quigley and Republican Dan Schmitt. 

Sixth District 

The Sixth District has gone from a fairly compact shape to another of Illinois’ serpentine, crescent-shaped districts. It northern section includes portions of Lake and McHenry Counties.  It picks up a sliver of Kane County to connect to the southern portion which is mainly DuPage County. The district curves around the city of Elgin and Schaumburg, a change from its old, more compact lines that was centered around the cities of Addison and Lombard. Democrat Leslie Coolidge, a former partner at the auditing firm KPMG, is challenging three-time incumbent Peter Roskam, a member of the House Republican leadership team. 

Seventh District 

The Illinois Seventh remains largely unchanged from years past, with the sole exception that its southern extension has been drawn to include more of central Chicago, adding 74,708[13] constituents. It fills the large hole left by the Fourth District’s strained, crescent shape. The district, which is protected under the Voting Rights Act, remains an African American district with 50.3%. Latinos now make up another 11.4%[14]. Eight-time Democratic incumbent Danny K. Davis has no challenger in 2012. 

Eighth District

The Illinois Eighth has changed completely.  It used to occupy the northeastern corner of the state, with Wisconsin and Lake Michigan at its borders. As part of the redistricting process, it lost 26,027 voters, and all of its territory in Lake and McHenry Counties. It retains only the southern tip of its old district, cities like Schamburg and Hoffman Estates.  It extends west to Elgin and picks up parts of the old Sixth District to the east of Schamburg such as Elk Grove Village and parts of DuPage County like Bloomingdale, Glendale Heights, Addison, Lombard, and Villa Park. Incumbent Republican Joe Walsh, who was first elected to office in 2010 is seeking reelection, despite no longer living in the district. He is challenged by Democrat Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq War veteran who served in the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.  Duckworth ran a spirited campaign for the Sixth District in 2006. 

Ninth District 

The Illinois Ninth has shed much of its northern component centered around Northfield Woods in order to expand westwards towards Mount Prospect and add 83,954[15] constituents. The eastern portion of the district keeps its Lake Michigan border, and has not changed, save for a slight southern expansion along Lakeshore Drive. The district includes Northwestern University. Six-time Democratic incumbent Jan Schakowsky will face a challenge from Republican Timothy Wolfe, a political newcomer. 

Tenth District 

                    The Illinois Tenth is a lakeside district comprised mainly of the northern suburbs from Glencoe to Lake Forest to Waukegan. Previously, the district was more compactly centered on the Highland Park area, with a small, gerrymandered arm into the Deer Park area. The new district adds 62,338[16] voters by extending north to the Wisconsin border.  It also reaches west to Fox Lake.  Republican incumbent Robert Dold and Democratic management consultant Brad Schneider are contesting the district in the 2012 elections. 

Eleventh District 

The Illinois Eleventh is a completely new district that is slightly north of its former location and encompasses much of the old Thirteenth District, resulting in a net loss of 46,632[17] people. It is another of Illinois’ meandering districts, picking up parts of five counties:  Kane, DuPage, Cook, Kendall, and Will. The new district follows, in part, the contours of Interstate 55 to include portions of the western suburbs such as Bollingbrook, Joliet and part of Naperville.  To those it adds Aurora in Kane County – all Democrat-friendly areas[18].  Due to the shift in district lines, incumbent Adam Kinzinger no longer resides in the district. The race is between Democratic former representative of the Fourteenth District, Bill Foster, and Republican Judy Biggert, the incumbent of the former Thirteenth District. 

Twelfth District

The Illinois Twelfth has largely retained its shape and has added 46,354[19] people. It still follows the contours of southwestern Illinois, bordering Missouri, and includes the cities of Alton, East St. Louis, and Carbondale, home of Southern Illinois University. The district has been represented by Democrat Jerry Costello since 1993, who will retire this year, rather than run for reelection. The Democratic candidate for the district is former St. Clair County Regional Superintendent of Schools Brad Harriman. He will face Republican Jason Plummer, 2010 nominee for the position of Illinois Lieutenant Governor in the 2012 election. 

Thirteenth District

The Illinois Thirteenth is no longer in the far southwestern suburbs of Chicago, but now stretches from the Missouri bother to encompass a large portion of central Illinois, from the East St. Louis area to Champaign. It includes parts of Springfield, the state capital, as well as the university towns of Campaign-Urbana and Bloomington-Normal.  Originally, Republican Tim Johnson of the Illinois Fifteenth was seeking reelection in the new Thirteenth. However, weeks after winning the primary in March, Johnson chose to retire, leaving local Republican officials the task of choosing a replacement to run in November. The Democratic nominee for the race is David Gill, an emergency room doctor from the area. 

Fourteenth District

The new Illinois Fourteenth has been heavily modified, shedding portions of the western DeKalb, Lee, Whiteside, McHenry Counties. The new district runs from McHenry County at the Wisconsin border through much of Kane and Kendall Counties.  It also includes a slice of eastern DeKalb County and bits of Lake, DuPage and Will Counties.  It loses 128,143[20] voters. Democratic political newcomer Dennis Anderson is challenging one-term Republican incumbent Randy Hultgren. 

Fifteenth District

The Fifteenth District makes up the entirety of southeast Illinois and includes Vermilion, Moultrie, Douglas, Coles, Edgar, Shelby, Cumberland, Clark, Fayette, Effingham, Jasper, Crawford, Lawrence, Richland, Clay, Marion, Clinton, Washington, Wayne, Edwards, Wabash, Hamilton, White, Saline, Gallatin, Hardin, Pope, Johnson and Massac Counties, as well as portions of Ford, Champaign, Bond, and Madison Counties. The district expands to the southwest to take over much of what was previously the Nineteenth. It is the geographically largest district in Illinois. With its expansion, the Fifteenth District adds 31,233[21] constituents. Republican John Shimkus, the incumbent of the eliminated Nineteenth District, will face Democrat Angela Michael. 

Sixteenth District 

District 16 used to occupy the northwestern corner of Illinois.  It remains a northern district, but has now shifted to the midpoint of the northern border, situated between District Seventeen to the west and District Fourteen to the east.  It has an “L” shape that starts with Boone and parts of Winnebago Counties at the Wisconsin border, runs south to include Bureau, Putnam, and LaSalle Counties and then east to Iroquois County at the Indiana border. Population changes resulting from these shifts were minimal, with a loss of just under 6,000[22] constituents. Adam Kinzinger, incumbent of the old Eleventh District, defeated the Sixteenth District’s incumbent, Don Manzullo, in the Republican primary on March 20, 2012.  The Democratic Party is not fielding a candidate in this race.

Seventeenth District 

District Seventeen has the distinction of being one of the few Illinois districts to become more compact in the current redistricting cycle. It is now the northwestern most district in Illinois and is made up of Stephenson, Carroll, Whiteside, Rock Island, Henry, Mercer, Henderson, Warren, Knox, and Fulton Counties, as well as parts of Winnebago, Peoria and Tazewell Counties. In order to add just over 78,000[23] people, District Seventeen extends all the way to the top of the state. The district also had significant expansion to the east and lost its southern tail consisting of McDonough and Hancock Counties. Republican incumbent Bobby Schilling will face Democrat Cheri Bustos in November. 

Eighteenth District 

District Eighteen maintains mainly the same shape in west-central Illinois.  It now extends west to the Missouri border, incorporating the thin slice of the old Seventeen that connected that district’s north and south sections. The new district adds 47,090[24] new constituents, mainly from the Bloomington-Normal area. Two-term Republican incumbent, Aaron Schock, the youngest member of Congress, will face Democrat Steve Waterworth, a farmer and former master sergeant in the Air Force and Air National Guard.