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Illinois Democrats prepare to unveil new congressional map – Crain’s Chicago Business

By this time next week, we finally may know how Springfield Democrats intend to change the state’s congressional map.

But exactly what to expect is still very much a secret, with Democratic leaders being extremely tight-lipped about what they’re planning not only with the media, but also with incumbent congressmen.

That leaves some key questions to be answered, including whether mapmakers really can retain three majority-Black districts, whether a second Latino-majority district is feasible, and whether GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger will lose his district, potentially forcing him into a race for governor or U.S. Senate.

What’s known for sure is that three-person panels—comprised of aides to House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, Senate President Don Harmon and Gov. J.B. Pritkzer—have been meeting separately in recent days with every Democratic member of the state’s congressional delegation to see what they want out of decennial reapportionment.

Sources who know say those meetings have been strictly one-way, with the congressmen talking but getting no answers as to what to expect. Members have been told only the General Assembly likely will adopt a new map in its fall veto session, which begins next week, on Oct. 19, and lasts six days over two weeks.

That’s similar to what House and Senate reapportionment committees have been doing. Headed by Sen. Omar Aquino, D-Chicago, and Rep. Elizabeth Hernandez, D-Cicero, they’ve started holding public meetings to ask voters what they want, with the last session scheduled for this Friday, Oct. 15. But as with the meetings with congressmen, no proposed maps have been unveiled.

Another major player in this is the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which serves as the main election arm for U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“D-trip,” as it’s known, is believed to have floated maps that would dismember Kinzinger’s district and seek to create a new Democratic-majority district downstate, potentially forcing Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, into a race for governor against Democratic incumbent J.B. Pritzker.

I hear some speculation that Pritzker is less concerned about Davis than Kinzinger, who has developed a following among independents and even some Democrats by repeatedly and sharply attacking former President Donald Trump. But others say Kinzinger prefers the national stage to a race for governor, and that he would have a difficult time unseating Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., who’s up for re-election in 2022.

Among other issues reportedly drawing some fighting among Democrats is whether to create a second majority-Latino district.

That might be technically possible based only on raw population. But with many Latinos not eligible to vote because they’re not citizens, and many others too young to vote, that could weaken Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, D-Chicago, while threatening the status of Rep. Marie Newman, D-Chicago.

There also are disputes over whether to push the district of Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Matteson, farther south and west, and whether the districts of not only Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Deerfield, but Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Evanston, and/or Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Schaumburg, up to the Wisconsin border.

Insiders say, if only because of pressure from Black state lawmakers, their nominally majority Black districts will remain. But the majorities could be very small, 51% to 53% or so, potentially opening the districts to more electoral competition.


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