A closer look at the key congressional matchups in Illinois
CHICAGO (AP) — From Chicago’s suburbs to the southern tip of the state, Tuesday’s election will feature several closely watched congressional races in Illinois.
Here’s a closer look at key districts:
REMATCH IN THE 13TH
Four-term Republican Rep. Rodney Davis faces a tough reelection bid from Democrat Betsy Dirksen Londrigan in what’s expected to among the most competitive races in Illinois.
The rematch follows Davis’ narrow win over Londrigan in 2018 by less than 1 percentage point. The Republican-leaning district covers a swath of central and southwest Illinois, including farmland, universities and Illinois suburbs of St. Louis.
Davis, who first took office in 2013, has tried to portray himself as someone who can work with Democrats, touting his efforts on farm bills and transportation projects. He says Londrigan’s ideas are too liberal for the district, including her support of public option health insurance.
“I went to Washington by promising the voters of this district, if they sent me there, I’d be a bipartisan voice for governing,” Davis, of Taylorville, said at a recent debate. “And I’ve done that.”
Londrigan made health care and coverage of preexisting conditions a central issue, saying it’s even more urgent because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Springfield woman has targeted Davis’ opposition to the Affordable Care Act.
“The stakes of this election have never been clearer for the hundreds of thousands of Central Illinoisans who rely upon the health care protections of the Affordable Care Act,” she said in a statement.
NEW NAME IN THE 3RD
For the first time in more than three decades there’ll be a new name in a congressional seat covering parts of Chicago’s southwest side and suburbs.
Democrat Marie Newman and Republican Mike Fricilone are running to replace Rep. Dan Lipinski, an eight-term Democrat ousted in the primary. Considered one of the most conservative Democrats in the House, he was preceded in office by his father, Bill Lipinski, who was first elected in 1982.
Newman of La Grange has an edge in the Democrat-leaning district, having vastly outraised Fricilone, racking up numerous endorsements and with name recognition built on an unsuccessful attempt for the seat in 2018. Fricilone, who works in sales and lives in Homer Glen, is on the Will County Board.
SPIRITED CHALLENGE IN THE 6TH
Democratic Rep. Sean Casten is trying to fend off a spirited challenge from Republican Jeanne Ives.
The first-term congressman flipped the longtime Republican seat covering suburbs west and northwest of Chicago two years ago. Casten, a Downers Grove businessman, has played up his background as a scientist in addressing the coronavirus pandemic and says Ives is too extreme for the district.
A former state legislator, Ives is an outspoken, and at times divisive, social and fiscal conservative from Wheaton. She made an unsuccessful bid for governor in 2018 and argues Casten’s views don’t fit the district.
Libertarian Bill Redpath of West Dundee is also on the ballot.
BIG MONEY IN THE 14TH
Rep. Lauren Underwood, a Democrat, is seeking a second term against GOP state Sen. Jim Oberweis in a Chicago-area district that leans Republican.
Underwood, who is Black, was the first woman and first minority to win the congressional seat once held by Republican former House Speaker Dennis Hastert. She ousted four-term Republican Randy Hultgren two years ago in a Democratic wave.
The race is among the most expensive in the state. Underwood, a nurse who lives in Naperville, raised more than $7 million, while Oberweis, a dairy magnate from Sugar Grove, raised about $2.5 million.
OPEN SEAT IN THE 15TH
Republican Mary Miller and Democrat Erika Weaver are squaring off for retiring U.S. Rep. John Shimkus’ seat in GOP-leaning downstate Illinois territory.
Both candidates emerged from crowded primary fields.
Miller of Oakland runs a grain and cattle farm with her husband state Rep. Chris Miller. She has said that creating economic opportunities is her top goal, something she understands as a local farmer.
“I will fight for fair trade agreements, to remove regulations limiting job growth and hiring, and to promote and utilize our region’s unique assets and hard-working people to get our economy booming again,” Miller told the (Decatur) Herald & Review.
Weaver is a public defender from Mattoon who also serves on a school board. She said the coronavirus pandemic has confirmed that health care, education and economic development are the highest priorities.
“I believe nothing is more important than creating good-paying jobs that can support a support a middle-class life,” Weaver told the newspaper.
The district covers much of southeastern Illinois, running along a stretch of the Indiana border.
OTHER RACES IN THE SPOTLIGHT
—Rep. Cheri Bustos, the chairwoman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, faces a lively challenge from Esther Joy King, an attorney and captain in the U.S. Army Reserve who lives in East Moline. Bustos, of Moline, is seeking a fifth term in the northwestern Illinois territory that has historically leaned Democratic but voted for President Donald Trump in 2016.
—While judicial retention votes aren’t often contentious, an effort to boot Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kilbride has drawn millions of dollars. He’s part of the seven-member court’s Democratic majority, which Republicans are now targeting. Voters in nearly two dozen counties in north-central Illinois will decide if Kilbride should get a third 10-year term.
Follow Sophia Tareen on Twitter: https://twitter.com/sophiatareen.