Illinois Democrats float congressional map that could axe 3 of its 5 Republicans

Andrew Trunsky, DCNF

Democrats in Illinois’ state legislature are weighing new maps as they try to expand their party’s majority in Congress, and one could axe three Republican seats if adopted.

After releasing a proposal that would likely doom two of the Republicans and bring their advantage from 13-5 to 14-3, Illinois Democrats late Friday unveiled an even more aggressive 15-2 gerrymander.

The maps, which show some districts that splice up Chicago and others that snake through the state, come as Democrats try to defend their current 220-212 majority ahead of a potentially difficult 2022 midterm cycle. In doing so they have increasingly relied on Illinois and New York, two states that forecasters say could result in a 10-seat swing. 

Under the 15-2 map, one Republican seat would encompass much of the southern part of the state, while the other would spiral outwards from the middle, avoiding small to mid-sized cities that vote Democratic at higher rates than rural areas. Republicans blasted both maps, though they can do little to stop some type of gerrymander given their legislative minorities.

“This redistricting process has been anything but transparent, which comes as no surprise to anyone,” Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger said in a statement Friday. “I believe the people of Illinois deserve better.”

The Illinois legislature is set to vote on its new districts on Oct. 28, and if passed it will go to Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk for his final approval. Other states including Oregon, Colorado, Maine, Nebraska and West Virginia have also finalized their maps, while proposals in states like Texas and Georgia show Republicans trying to shore up their own incumbents and jeopardize Democrats as well.

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