U.S. Rep. Janice Schakowsky, D-9th, of Evanston -- regarded as one of the most liberal members of Congress -- will take on more conservative turf in the long-time Republican 10th District under a new Illinois Congressional map, which was approved by the Democrat-controlled Illinois Senate 34-25 on Tuesday and sent to Gov. Pat Quinn.
Democratic map makers are apparently betting that Schakowsky can afford to absorb some Republican areas, as she won her seventh term with 66 percent of the vote. The new map is designed to erase the Republican gains in the last election and adjust for Illinois’ loss of one seat following the 2010 census.
The 9th Congressional District has been shifted north along the lakefront, including the 10th District home of U.S. Rep. Robert Dold of Kenilworth. The first-term Republican defeated three-time Democratic candidate Dan Seals, garnering 51 percent of the vote in November. The 10th District will still include all of Deerfield, Lincolnshire, Bannockburn, Riverwoods and Prairie View.
Dold is one of four Republicans who have been placed in districts with Democratic incumbents or rivals of their own party. Federal law does not require that members of Congress live in the districts they represent, but candidates who live outside the district are often assailed as carpetbaggers.
Dold issued a blistering statement after the new map was made public Friday.
“This map was gerrymandered to ensure suburban voters will have little voice in Congress,” said Dold, contending the map was drawn behind closed doors without any input from Republicans or consideration for hours of testimony at public hearings. “This proposal appears to be little more than an attempt to undo the results of the election held just six months ago. My Republican colleagues and I will take whatever steps necessary to achieve a map that more fairly represents the people of Illinois.”
Dold said he and his Republican colleagues have put forward solutions to the nation’s serious challenges and he plans to continue to work for constituents until the work is done.
The redrawn 9th Congressional District still includes a portion of Chicago’s lakefront and Evanston, Lincolnwood, Skokie, Morton Grove, Niles and Park Ridge. Schakowsky has taken on some new territory in Glenview and southeast Northbrook. The new district also gives her new constituents in the northwest suburbs of Arlington Heights, Mount Prospect and Rolling Meadows.
The 10th Congressional District, which has been in Republican hands for more than three decades, has moved north along the lakefront to include less of Cook County and extend to the Wisconsin border. The new 10th District incorporates some new areas of central and west Lake County that were previously part of the 8th Congressional District.
Two Democrats have announced their intention to run for the 10th Congressional District seat in the March, 2012 Democratic primary. They are Deerfield businessman Bradley Schneider and Waukegan resident Ilya Sheyman.