Professor Says New Congressional Map Will Hurt Chicago-Area GOP

December 16, 2011

With Illinois' new congressional map now intact, a professor of political science at the University of Illinois says Republicans from around Chicago will have the most trouble in next year's elections.

On Thursday, a 3-judge appeals panel threw out a suit filed by the GOP over a new map of congressional boundaries drawn by Democrats. Brian Gaines says the map was specifically rough on Republicans, but he said the party had to know the chances of having it thrown out were slim. The federal judges agreed that it was a blatant political move, but added that it wasn't illegal.

Gaines says Republican Congressman Tim Johnson of Urbana could have some problems in 13th district, where he's running this spring, since much if it is unfamiliar territory. But Gaines says Johnson, incumbent John Shimkus, and other downstate Republicans should not be the party's concern with March's primary approaching.

"The Republicans that lose their seats will the be Republican members in the (Chicago) suburbs who were newly elected last time, and have been drawn either together, so that after the primary only one of them will be left standing, or their residences were put into districts that were pretty tough for the general election."

But Gaines says even if the GOP wins the presidency, there's a good chance the party won't hold the 11 to 8 seat advantage it has in Illinois. As a result of the lawsuit, the filing period was pushed back to late this month. But Gaines says it's likely too late for newcomers to get involved.

"You never know if there's someone capabable of self-financing - someone sitting on a couple million dollars who's restless," he said. "But other than an extremely wealty candidate who can self-finance all the way, it's awfully late to be appearing now."

The filing period for the March 20th primary for Congress in Illinois is December 23rd through the 27th.

Story source: WILL