Congressional remap pushes Chicago Democratic districts to Hinsdale, Oak Brook
Judy Biggert speaks during the 2011 Memorial Day ceremony in Hinsdale. | Jeff Krage~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 7, 2011 2:00PM
Hinsdale, meet Mike Quigley
Illinois Democrats released their proposed remap of congressional districts this morning, splitting Hinsdale and Oak Brook in half with the western portions becoming the 6th Congressional District now served by Republican Peter Roskam and the eastern portions, including the home of incumbent Republican Judy Biggert, now falling into the 5th Congressional District of Chicago Democrat Mike Quigley.
Hinsdale Village Manager Dave Cook said it would be “devastating” for Hinsdale to lose Biggert as its representative in Congress.
“She’s from Hinsdale and has been very supportive of us,” Cook said. “We have had direct access to her. We’ve been very blessed to have a congressman, state senator and state rep all in Hinsdale.”
Quigley is an unknown factor, Oak Brook Village President Gopal Lalmalani said. But he said he is willing to work with anyone.
“(The maps) are still something that’s in progress, but I know we’ve had good representation in the past from Judy Biggert and Peter Roskam,” Lalmalani said. “We don’t know Mike Quigley. He’s never represented any of the surrounding municipalities. I know Roskam very well and I have a good rapport with Biggert.”
Oakbrook Terrace Mayor Ragucci said the remap is not of great concern.
“We have good representation now and I’ll work with Democrats and Republicans,” Tony Ragucci said. “I have friends on both sides and you need both. I think it’s good to deal with both and I’ll accept the map the way it is.”
Western Springs and La Grange would remain solidly in the 3rd Congressional District of Western Springs Democrat Dan Lipinski.
Biggert spokesman Zachary Cikanek said Biggert does not believe the map will stand and she has no intention of retiring.
LaGrange Park, however, will now have a larger chunck of the Hispanic horseshoe shaped district of incumbent Democrat Luis Gutierrez of Chicago, while incumbent Democrat Danny Davis of Chicago will extend into LaGrange Park and even more of Westchester.
LaGrange Park Village President Jim Discipio said he would be sad to see Lipinski no longer representing the village in Congress, but would look forward to working with Quigley, Davis and Gutierrez.
“Congressman Lipinski is such a good guy, and he’s done good things for LaGrange Park,” Discipio said. “That would be a new start for us with him no longer representing us. I’ll have to sit down with congressmen Quigley, Davis and Gutierrez and talk with them. I’m sure we’ll work well with them. Maybe, now we’ll have three voices, instead of one. Maybe, with Congressman Lipinski liking us, we’ll have four voices.”
Most of Burr Ridge will now be in the 11th Congressional District, a number now represented by recently elected Republican Adam Kinzinger whose home is no longer within that district.
Democrats also went an extra step to protect Lipinski from a challenge within his own party.
The Burr Ridge home belonging to John Atkinson, who has raised more than $500,000 this year in what he had hoped would be a 2012 primary bid against Lipinski, was moved two blocks outside Lipinski’s 3rd Congressional District. Atkinson now lives in the 11th Congressional District that could be without an incumbent because of Kinzinger being redrawn into Jackson’s district.
“I haven’t measured the distance, but when I woke up this morning, I was living in the 11th congressional district, not the 3rd District,” said Atkinson, who added that he has not decided which district he will run in.
There is no requirement that congressmen live in the districts they represent, but not doing so can give opponents a potential carpetbagging issue to use in a campaign.
Former Democratic U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, who served the 14th District until his defeat in November by Winfield Republican Randy Hultgren, lives in the new 11th District and has indicated he will run in 2012.
Every 10 years, after the census figures are released, redistricting begins. Shifts in population mean a new balance must be found for congressional as well as state Senate and House districts.
Because the Illinois’ growth didn’t keep up with other states, Illinois is going to lose one seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. In 2012, Illinois will have 18 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, 59 state senators and 118 state representatives. And because Democrats won the governor’s race, and hold majorities in the Senate and House, they control the remapping process.
The 11 Republican congressmen from Illinois released a joint statement Friday, criticizing boundaries drawn “under the cover of darkness.”
“The proposed map carves up towns and communities with little regard to the values and beliefs of the people who live there,” the statement said. “This proposal appears to be little more than an attempt to undo the results of the elections held just six months ago.”
The state GOP chairman, Pat Brady, called the Democratic congressional map “an insult to the state’s voters” and called on Gov. Quinn to slow down the process to allow more transparency into how boundary lines were drawn.
“By drawing a new map that goes against the grain of a rising tide of fiscal conservatism, Illinois Democrats are desperately moving the goalposts to try winning a game in which the ultimate losers will be Illinois voters,” Brady said in a prepared statement.
In Springfield, Quinn was asked about his impression of the Democratic maps, but the governor stayed mum on the newly emerged legislative and congressional maps.
“I think it’s premature for me to opine on that until they have a final product. When that happens, I’ve said it over and over, it’s got to be fair. I’ll tell every member of the General Assembly, both houses, both parties, emphasize fairness,” Quinn said.
Check back for more updates and reaction.
— Steve Schering, STM contributed to this report