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Democrats had a banner year in Illinois in 2022. House Democrats expanded their majority to 78 seats, Senate Democrats retained a veto-proof majority, the party had a clean sweep of constitutional offices, and a 14-3 Democratic pounding in Congressional districts.
But it’s possible due to gerrymandering, fundraising advantages, and GOP struggles in the suburbs that Democrats could expand their legislative majorities, at least in the House, in 2024.
Donald Trump lost Illinois by more than a million votes in both 2016 and 2020, and most experts expect the next GOP nominee for president, whether it is Trump or someone else, will again struggle in Illinois.
That could have ramifications down the ballot.
Via Illinois Election Data, seven House Republicans represent districts won by President Joe Biden in 2020, adding to their difficulties in keeping their seats:
Rep. Amy Grant (R-Wheaton), pictured above, which Biden won by 12 percentage points in 2020
Rep. Jennifer Sanalitro (R-Hanover Park), Biden +2.6%
Rep. Marty McLaughlin (R-Barrington Hills), Biden +6%
Rep. Steve Reick (R-Woodstock), Biden +2.4%
Rep. Dan Ugaste (R-Geneva), Biden +1.1%
Rep. Mike Marron (R-Fithian), Biden +3.7%
Rep. Kevin Schmidt (R-Millstadt), Biden +7.3%
Former Rep. LaToya Greenwood, who Schmidt upset in 2022, has already announced she’ll attempt to recapture her Metro East seat next year.
“We’re going to win seats,” one top Democrat said Thursday. “It isn’t a matter of ‘if,’ but ‘how many’ do we win?”
Some Republicans who represent districts President Trump won in 2020 are also considered in danger. Trump won Rep. Brad Stephens’ (R-Rosemont) district by just over a point in 2020. Stephens is generally well-liked among some top Democrats, even to the chagrin of some in his own party. Michael Madigan went hard after Stephens (in his old GOP leaning district) in 2020, but House Speaker Chris Welch gave him a pass in 2022. Rep. Jackie Haas’ (R-Bourbonnais) Kankakee area district was won by Trump by just less than one percentage point.
Appointed Rep. John Egofske (R-Lemont) will have to defend the district vacated by former GOP Leader Jim Durkin, which Trump won by 2% in 2020. Another appointed Republican, Rep. Mike Coffey (R-Springfield), will have to defend a district Trump won by 5.6%.
No House Democrats represent a district won by Trump in 2020.
“This has all the makings of a bloodbath,” one GOP operative said. “A lot of things are going to have to go right for [House GOP Leader Tony] McCombie to keep the numbers where they’re at.”
The prospects aren’t as bleak for Senate Republicans. Only three incumbent Senate Republicans are up for re-election in 2024 (Bryant, Plummer, Stoller) and all represent safe Republican districts. Of the 17 Senate Democrats on the ballot in 2024, only Sen. Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) represents a district Biden won by fewer than ten points (6.9%) in 2020.
Of the 14 congressional seats controlled by Democrats, only the district represented by freshman Congressman Eric Sorensen (D-Moline) was won by Biden by fewer than ten points. (Biden won the 17th by 7.6% in 2020.) We’ve reported Republicans have had a difficult time fielding a candidate, even with overtures from House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, but a wealthy businessman is expected to jump in the race next month.
“Our party needs to get its act together,” said the GOP consultant. “Otherwise, we’re going to be wiped out.”
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March 25, 2023 at 09:13AM