Remap Battle: New Congressional Map Upsets GOP, Some Democrats

Despite holding all the power, Democratic state lawmakers are getting pushback from both sides of the aisle for the newly drawn congressional map which shrinks the number Republican House members from five to three.

Democrats control making the new Congressional map because they have a supermajority in the state’s House, a majority in the Senate and Democrat J.B. Pritzker as governor. Illinois is losing one congressional seat because a shift in population based on the latest census figures.  

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But some of these newly drawn districts could actually make elections competitive by creating swing districts, according to The Cook Political Report.

“Today, Illinois’ state Senate Democrats proposed a gerrymander that would make deceased Gov. Elbridge Gerry blush. With some adventurous cartography, Democrats are attempting to stretch their lead in the delegation from 13D-5R to 14D-3R by eliminating GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger (IL-16) and turning GOP Rep. Rodney Davis’s IL-13 blue. But the proposal carries a risk of backfiring: it’s both uglier and less effective for Democrats than expected,” wrote  David Wasserman, the Cook Political Report senior editor.

Longtime South Side U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush and Rep. Marie Newman are two Democrats opposed to the new map.

“It is abundantly apparent that what has currently been proposed for Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District is not only retrogressive but substantially diminishes the diverse and progressive voices of Chicago’s Southwest Side and suburbs,” Newman said in a statement.

State Sen. Jason Barickman is the Republican Caucus Chair and is the Senate Redistricting Committee’s Republican spokesman.  

“The manner in which these maps have been produced by the Democrats is just downright shameful,” Barickman said. “[These] congressional maps are drawn for one purpose only, which is to fulfill a partisan goal. It’s not about giving voters choices.”

“It’s about giving more votes to Speaker Pelosi so that she can continue her reign at the federal level,” Barickman added.

Despite being on the House Redistricting Committee and being its’ Republican spokesman, Assistant Republican Leader State Rep. Tim Butler (R) said that the new map was created in a Democratic backroom.

“The Democrats have decided to go down a road where they are going to do this on their own behind closed doors,” said Butler. 

Butler also said that it’s ironic that Democrats in Congress support HR1, which is also known as the voting rights act or the “For the People Act of 2021” which draws maps by commission, with public input, and with a “ban on drawing maps to favor a political party.”

“All the Democrats on the congressional level in Illinois within the delegation have supported HR1, which in it has an independent process to draw congressional maps,” said Butler.

However, in another ironic twist, there are currently no Republicans in the U.S. Senate who have agreed to pass HR1 which is being brought up for a vote Wednesday.  The bill needs 60 votes to pass and the Democrats have only 50 votes.  

Butler and Barickman join the discussion on Chicago Tonight. All Democratic members of both the state’s House Redistricting Committee and Senate Redistricting Committee were invited to participate, but none agreed.

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