Illinois Dems poised to unveil new congressional map as Republican Kinzinger posts strong fundraising quarter

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GOP Reps. Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney are leading the charge against Trumpism. A new lllinois congressional map may determine his political fate. | Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images

U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger’s next political move depends on the new congressional map being drawn by Illinois state Democrats.

WASHINGTON — A new congressional map drawn by Illinois Democratic state lawmakers will be unveiled in the coming days, with the revised district lines to determine the next move for GOP U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who is bolstered by strong third quarter fundraising results.

The latest:

KINZINGER CASH HAUL: Kinzinger, the best known Republican in Illinois, is also the most vulnerable because he and U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, are the leading Republicans in Congress willing to speak out against former President Donald Trump’s lies, election denials and embrace of conspiracy theories. While being a national leader of the non-Trump wing of the GOP party has raised his profile and fundraising ability, it also means it will very difficult for him to win a GOP primary for a House seat in Illinois — no matter what the new Democratic-designed map looks like.

For the third quarter — covering July, August and September — Kinzinger raised $957,177 for his two political committees, the Sun-Times has learned. He took in $562,355 for his re-election war chest and $394,822 for his Future First Leadership PAC, used to bankroll his “Country First” drive to build a movement to break Trump’s grip on the Republican Party.

Kinzinger has $3.3 million cash-on-hand just for his reelection campaign. What is noteworthy about the haul is that Kinzinger raised the cash mainly through direct mail and digital appeals — not big events with headliners. That is a sign of strength.

What will Kinzinger do? He’d like to stay in the House. “His intention is to run,” said spokeswoman Maura Gillespie, who added, “We’ll have to see what the map shows, and then we can review his options.”

Third quarter fundraising results must be reported to the Federal Election Commission by Oct. 15.

DUCKWORTH 3Q HAUL: U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., is running for a second term in 2022 and so far no brand name Republican is challenging her. Kinzinger has said in past months he would consider a Senate or governor run, depending on the map.

Her campaign announced Wednesday it raised more than $1.8 million in the third quarter, with nearly $5.8 million cash on hand.

NEW CONGRESSIONAL MAP: Staffers for Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Illinois Senate President Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, and House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, have been holding one-on-one “listening sessions” with the 13 Illinois House Democrats to gather their input for their district lines. The new map will be out any day now with a vote in Springfield by the end of October.

My sources are telling me the Democratic House members are talking to the state folks hat in hand with requests for their “ideal” districts.

While Illinois will have to lose a seat due to reapportionment based on the 2020 Census — from 18 seats to 17 — it’s not bad from a Democratic perspective.

Though you will hear Democratic state lawmakers talk a lot about a “fair” map, the real deal is this: Democrats are drawing the new lines to maximize Democratic opportunities.

Dave Wasserman, the remap expert at the Cook Political Report with Amy Walter who has drawn sample maps using new Census data, wrote Republicans could end up losing two seats: “Dems could replace the current 13D-5R map with a 14D-3R map — and they might need to to have any chance of holding the House majority.”

The most endangered Democrat, Rep. Lauren Underwood will get a district shifted south, adding more Black Democrat voters and subtracting heavy GOP turf around McHenry County.

If Kinzinger’s district disappears, it’s recognition that with Trumpism alive in Illinois, Kinzinger will have a primary fight no matter the map. Downstate GOP strongholds will become packed with more Republicans to free up Democratic precincts.

Though the map has to pass the Illinois General Assembly, Pritzker, will need to sign off on it, which is why Chief of Staff Anne Capara and deputy governors Andy Manar and Christian Mitchell have been part of the listening sessions.

BLACK AND HISPANIC DISTRICTS: The issue here is how Democratic voters in Chicago, the collar counties and a bit further out will be allocated.

State mapmakers want to keep the three districts drawn under the Civil Rights Act to amplify the power of Black voters, with the job made harder because of a decrease in the Black voting-age population. That means that districts for U.S. Reps. Robin Kelly, Bobby Rush and Danny Davis may be in for some redesign with ripple impacts on other Democratic incumbents.

At present there is one Hispanic district, represented by U.S. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia. At a public Senate Redistricting Committee hearing on Tuesday, Frank Calabrese, speaking on behalf of Latino elected officials, made the argument that Hispanic population gains justify a second district drawn to maximize the Hispanic vote.

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October 13, 2021 at 08:50PM

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