SPRINGFIELD — Many downstate voters could find themselves represented by a completely different member of Congress if a new legislative map is approved by the General Assembly.
The highly partisan process played out all over the state Friday, as U.S. representatives reacted to a map that separates several of them from their key constituencies.
With few exceptions, Illinois’ Republican U.S. representatives declined to comment outside of general statements.
“This proposal appears to be a little more than an attempt to undo the results of the elections held just six months ago, and we will take whatever steps necessary to achieve a map that more fairly represents the people of Illinois — they deserve nothing less,” a statement from all Illinois Republican members of the U.S. House read.
The General Assembly could take action to approve the map in the coming days.
U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger has been radically separated from his current constituency under the proposed map. The freshman Republican’s house in Manteno falls within the proposed 2nd District, a relatively compact area that includes Kankakee County and eastern portions of Will and Cook Counties along the border with Indiana.
U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. resides within that proposed district.
Kinzinger, a former McLean County Board member, currently represents a district that runs from Bloomington-Normal north into Will County.
McLean County Republican Party Chairman John Parrott Jr. said GOP representatives like Kinzinger are feeling the failure of state Republicans to capture majorities in the 2010 election.
“When you don’t win the Statehouse and you don’t have the governorship, there are serious consequences, and these are serious consequences for the Republican Party,” Parrott said Friday.
U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson seems to have been granted a relatively safe district, if an exhausting one to drive.
The proposed 15th District, which the Republican’s Urbana residence falls just inside, captures the entire southeastern portion of Illinois. The proposed 15th District comprises 33 of Illinois’ 102 counties, but takes out much of his existing base in Champaign-Urbana and McLean County.
“This map is a slap in the face to the notion of representative government,” Johnson said in a statement Friday.
Johnson’s spokesman Phil Bloomer said Johnson should be a strong candidate in the new district, but it’s still an unfortunate turn of events.
“It’s easily the largest district, geographically, within the state,” Bloomer said. “It was a challenge before to represent 22 counties, and now it’s going to be even more challenging (representing 33). It’s extremely unfortunate we were given this map two days before the Legislature exits.”
U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, a Republican from Collinsville, faces a far more urban district than the one to which he’s been elected for the past 10 years.
Shimkus’ house is just within the boundaries of the proposed 13th District, which includes Champaign, stretches west to take in Monticello, Clinton, all of Decatur and parts of Bloomington.
The district also includes parts of Springfield, Taylorville, Litchfield, and parts of Springfield. His house falls within a rectangular protrusion that juts out at the district’s south end.
Under the new map, he would lose much of the area he represents in southern Illinois.
U.S. Rep. Donald Manzullo would face an election in an area of the state in which he’s never campaigned.
Manzullo’s new district, the proposed 16th, would surround Rockford on the north, east, and south, then stretch southward and eastward to take in Livingston and Iroquois counties and parts of Ford County.
Currently, he serves in the 16th District, which encapsulates the Rockford area and stretches to the Iowa border.
Peoria-based U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock may not face a significant challenge in seeking re-election under the Democratic proposal.
Schock’s residence falls just inside the proposed 18th District, which includes portions of Peoria County, stretches eastward to take in parts of McLean County that include much of the eastern Bloomington-Normal area, then cuts southwest through Logan, Mason, Menard Counties, captures part of Sangamon County surrounding the Springfield area, then heads west to the Missouri border.