"Congressman loses challenge to redrawn congressional districts." October
U.S. Rep. David Phelps has lost his challenge to the state's redrawn congressional map, but says he will appeal the decision to the Illinois Supreme Court.
Sangamon County Circuit Judge Donald Cadagin ruled Thursday that the lawsuit did not raise constitutional or federal law issues.
Phelps, a Democrat from Eldorado in southern Illinois, joined 45 people in suing to block the new map approved by the General Assembly last spring. The lawsuit claimed the new districts are not compact, are politically gerrymandered and do not protect so-called "communities of interest.''
Phelps finds himself in the Republican-leaning 15th District after the state had to expand districts to give up one of its 20 congressional seats. Illinois is losing one seat in the House of Representatives because its population did not grow as fast as other states in the 2000 census.
"Judge Cadagin, in my opinion, is wrong,'' said Robert Howerton, Phelps' attorney and a former Illinois appellate judge. "Ultimately, the Illinois Supreme Court will decide the issue.''
Cadagin ruled that the issues raised by the lawsuit were "subject to determination by the legislature and were properly resolved by the legislature within the confines of the Illinois Constitution.''
Rather than seek to represent the 15th District, Phelps has said he will run in the newly created 19th District, where the incumbent is Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville. A large part of Phelps' old district is also within the 19th District.
The dramatic effect that can be produced by redesigning state legislative districts will become evident soon when several local officials put their hats in the ring to run for the General Assembly next year.
So far, the jockeying for ballot positions on Election Day has been going on mostly behind the scenes, but a few names have surfaced in the guessing game of who's going to run for what office.
At the top of the list is Vernon Hills Trustee Kathy Ryg, who long has been urged by Democratic Party leaders to seek higher office. Ryg appears ready to jump into the race for the new House district in the Vernon Hills-Buffalo Grove area.
That would leave a big vacancy in the Lake County recorder of deeds office, where Ryg is chief deputy to Recorder Mary Ellen Vanderventer.
But Ryg, whose mother, Sheila Schultz, was the longtime mayor of Wheeling, is being encouraged to make the leap into what will surely be a big-money race as Springfield's Democratic and Republican Party leaders make an attempt to increase their numbers in the General Assembly.
On the GOP side, Lake County Board member Pamela O. Newton (R-Vernon Hills) or David B. Stolman (R-Buffalo Grove) could contend for the new seat.
But there's also a chance Rep. Sidney Mathias (R-Buffalo Grove) will move into the new district to run for re-election. The new map eliminated a big chunk of Mathias' district.
Will he or won't he? Conservative Al Salvi, the former state lawmaker from Wauconda, may try to revive his political career by challenging Rep. Andrea Moore (R-Libertyville), a moderate who could be a target of local conservatives like Salvi, thanks to redistricting.
Four's a crowd: In the Waukegan-North Chicago area, there apparently is no shortage of potential Democratic candidates for the new House seat.
But the Democrats could have a problem if they end up with a crowded field in the March primary.
Intraparty contests tend to be bloody affairs that drain finances better spent on the November general election.
That's not necessarily going to stop anyone from getting into the race. Names already in the rumor mill includeformer North Chicago Mayor Jerry Johnson, former North Chicago mayoral candidate Elroy Reed, Waukegan Township Trustee Lucy Rios and Democratic Party activist Eddie Washington.
If Washington gets into the race, watch for local Republicans to turn up the heat on State's Atty. Michael Waller to file election fraud charges against him.
Clerk Willard Helander says Washington illegally registered voters last year.
Ms. Popularity: Sen. Adeline Geo-Karis (R-Zion) sure knows how to throw a party. State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka, DuPage County State's Atty. Joseph Birkett, who's running for Illinois attorney general, and state Sen. Patrick O'Malley (R-Palos Park) were among an estimated 500 guests at Geo-Karis' annual fundraiser Thursday night in Grayslake.
One more candle on the cake: Antonietta "Ant" Simonian, executive director of the Lake County Republican Federation, will spend her birthday Saturday hosting U.S. Reps. Philip Crane of Wauconda and Mark Kirk of Highland Park at the federation's annual breakfast meeting.
A Democrat-controlled state panel approved new district boundaries for the state legislature Tuesday, despite objections from Republicans that the map was drawn to relegate the GOP to minority status in the House and Senate.
The five Democrats on the Legislative Redistricting Commission voted for the new map, while the four Republican members opposed it. The panel also voted along party lines to ask the Democrat-controlled Illinois Supreme Court to quickly declare the redistricting plan legal.
And in another party line vote, the panel passed a resolution urging federal judges to resist Republican efforts to get them to overturn the Democratic map and impose one more favorable to the GOP.
"I think we have created a map that is fair to the citizens, that is fair to the political parties," said Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago), a member of the commission. "It gives each party an opportunity to campaign and win control of either the state House or the state Senate.
But Republicans didn't share her assessment and said the Democratic map would result in the election of up to 70 Democrats in the 118-member House and 34 Democrats in the 59-member Senate.
With 32 members in the Senate, Republicans have a majority there. They have controlled the chamber since they won the right to redraw legislative boundaries after the 1990 census. In the House, Republicans have 56 members and have been the minority party in the chamber for 16 of the past 18 years.
"To suggest that this is a fair map, a competitive map, is ludicrous. It's disingenuous," said Rep. Tom Cross (R-Oswego), another panel member.
But former Democratic Chicago mayor and retired state Supreme Court Justice Michael Bilandic said his party had modified its original map proposal to reduce the number of incumbent Republicans that would be shifted into the same district. Bilandic was added to the commission when Democrats won a lottery to break the stalemate over the map.
The Democratic map also would maintain the current number of 18 House districts where African-American voters have a majority, and it could double Latino representation in Springfield to eight House seats and four Senate seats. Republicans countered, however, that a remap plan they devised would have been even more favorable to minorities.
Under the Democratic map, six Republican senators would be paired off in three districts: Tom Walsh of Westchester and Dan Cronin of Elmhurst; Stan Weaver of Urbana and Judy Myers of Danville; and Claude "Bud" Stone of Lincoln and John Maitland of Bloomington. Maitland, recovering from a major stroke, has announced he will not seek re-election.
In theory, the map would pit only two Democratic senators against each other: Lisa Madigan and John Cullerton, both of Chicago. But Madigan, daughter of House Speaker Michael Madigan, has announced her candidacy for attorney general.
In the House, eight incumbent Republicans would be pitted against each other in four districts: James Durkin of Westchester and Bob Biggins of Elmhurst; Randy Hultgren of Wheaton and Tom Johnson of West Chicago; Gwenn Klingler of Springfield and Jonathan Wright of Atlanta; and Gerald Mitchell of Sterling and Keith Summer of Morton. Johnson has indicated he would not seek re-election.
Also, a dozen House Democrats would be paired up in six districts, including Robert Bugielski and William Delgado, both of Chicago; Howard Kenner and Shirley Jones, also of Chicago; Susan Garrett of Lake Forest and Karen May of Highland Park; Maggie Crotty of Oak Forest and Kevin McCarthy of Orland Park; and David Miller of Calumet City and Robert Ryan of Lansing.
Illinois Republicans on Thursday unveiled their own version of a map for new legislative district boundaries, knowing they lack the votes on a Democratic-dominated panel to make it become law.
But the Republican map is more than just an act of futility before the Legislative Redistricting Commission. It is intended to help guide the federal courts, where the GOP is contesting the remap process and is asking a three-judge panel to redraw General Assembly boundaries.
The redistricting commission, dominated 5-4 by Democrats, is expected to vote Friday on a Democrat-authored map that reflects population shifts in the 2000 census. It also shifts map lines to maximize Democratic voting strength.
Republicans maintain the map unfairly dilutes their power, pitting dozens of their incumbents against each other, and it would likely relegate them to minority status in the legislature for the next decade.
Republicans argued that under their map, the state's burgeoning Latino population would be virtually guaranteed eight House seats and four Senate seats in contrast to the Democratic map, in which an eighth House seat is less assured.
The Republican map would pit 14 Democratic incumbents against each other in House races compared with only two Republicans who would be forced to face off. In the Senate, six incumbent Republicans would be paired off for three seats under the GOP map, while no Democrats would be pitted against each other.
Also, Democrats rejected GOP bids to force settlement talks, supervised by the federal court, over new district borders.
In a letter to U.S. District Judge Philip G. Reinhard in Rockford, Democratic attorney William Harte said such talks would not be appropriate while the remap commission is meeting. Harte said the Illinois Supreme Court was a more appropriate forum for reviewing a new map.
This past week, there have been countless acts of heroism and self-sacrifice. There has been a heartening rise--and who cares how brief it turns out to be--above partisan politics in Washington.
But don't start looking for any such phenomenon in Illinois' General Assembly.
Particularly not when it comes to the legislative redistricting process, which this week predictably had Democrats taking aim at vulnerable Republican incumbents like crows on a telephone wire.
That's because politics is king in Illinois, and Democrats happened to win a blind draw from a hat, a trivial act that accords enormous power over what political direction the state takes over the next 10 years. This week the Democrats revealed their preferred redistricting plan, one they hope escapes a pending Republican challenge in federal court.
That plan, of course, was essentially drawn with Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan's own set of crayons, with as many squiggly lines as he could get away with legally to give Democrats as much legislative control as possible over the next decade.
Their version threatens to loosen, if not topple, the Republican stranglehold on the state Senate, and to solidify Madigan's control over the House.
Republicans are crying that the Democrats have rudely and unfairly forced dozens of GOP incumbents to run against each other. Of course, that's exactly what Republicans did to Democrats 10 years ago, when the Republicans drew the map.
Whatever remotely idealistic notion planners of this system had 30 years ago about how representatives of different parties would have to work together to avoid having remap decisions fall to pure luck of the draw grossly underestimated this state's obsessive zeal for partisanship. The remapping system has descended into winner-take-all, and the leaders prefer it that way.
Why? Because compromise isn't in their vocabulary. Because if they win by luck, they win big. They can draw a map that protects their incumbents from competition and gives them the chance to control the legislature for the next decade--until the next census. If they lose, they can send out their lawyers to try to defeat the map in court, and they can go down saying they fought valiantly for the entire party faithful, instead of having to decide which members of the flock to sacrifice at the altar of bipartisanship.
The winners wear a predictable that's-life gloat on their faces, while the losers hasten to reinvent themselves as righteous defenders of good government as they lambaste the system. Everyone winds up looking silly and voters lose, because they rarely get genuine competition on the ballot.
Illinois politics grows increasingly Balkanized with each decade. DuPage County Democrats have virtually no voice in the legislature; Chicago Republicans are a lonely bunch. With the Democratic map a handful of Republican politicians will be forced into retirement. The real loss for voters, though, is the opportunity to have genuine choices in spirited elections for the legislature.
Illinois Democrats have scheduled a Friday vote to enact a new legislative map that Republicans say would drastically weaken their political power, but GOP officials were guardedly optimistic Wednesday that a federal court might intervene.
Republicans have filed suit in federal court in Rockford to invalidate the redistricting process, which Democrats control. On Wednesday, a three-judge panel hearing that suit rejected attempts by Democrats to move the case to the Illinois Supreme Court, where Democrats hold a 5-2 advantage.
In addition to the ruling, Republicans saw reason for hope in what they said was a request last week by one of the federal judges, Philip G. Reinhard, for leaders of both parties to work out a compromise map.
Legislative redistricting is a political contest played out every 10 years, ostensibly designed to redraw political boundaries to conform to population changes revealed in the federal census. But it also is a game of political muscle as Republicans and Democrats each try to redraw district lines to maximize their own numbers at the expense of the other.
On one level, the political parties are battling before the Legislative Redistricting Commission. The panel, which until recently had been split evenly between Republicans and Democrats, had been stalemated until Democrats won a tie-breaking lottery earlier this month that gave them the right to draw the new map.
Democrats unveiled their plan this week, and it immediately prompted allegations from Republicans that it was designed to make the GOP the minority party in the legislature for the next decade.
But the battle is also being fought on another level--in the courts.
Democrats want any challenge to their map heard in the state Supreme Court. Republicans want it heard in the federal courts, which they believe have judges that are more sympathetic to the GOP.
By forcing a commission vote on the new map on Friday, Democrats may be trying to pre-empt any decision by federal judges to take control of the redistricting process, some attorneys familiar with the redistricting process said privately.
Republicans and Democrats alike concede that the power to draw a new political map for Illinois is only part of the equation in determining which party will control the General Assembly for the next 10 years.
It is a huge part of the equation, however, and Democrats are pulling out the stops to ensure their party has an edge in 2002, when all 118 House seats and 59 Senate seats will be up for grabs.
Senate Democrats contend the map currently under consideration contains 20 districts with safe Republican majorities, 23 districts with safe Democrat majorities and 16 seats that could go either way. A similar breakdown is not available for House districts.
In drafting the map, Democrats created nine Senate districts with no incumbent. One of those stretches all the way from Peoria north to the Wisconsin border.
To create those districts, Democrats crammed 13 Republican incumbents together into six districts. Those include
Peter Roskam of Glen Ellyn, Tom Walsh of LaGrange Park and Dan Cronin of Elmhurst.
Laura Kent Donahue of Quincy and Todd Sieben of Geneseo.
Stan Weaver of Urbana and Judith Myers of Danville.
Duane Noland of Blue Mound and Claude Stone of Morton.
Chris Lauzen of Aurora and Ed Petka of Plainfield.
Kathy Parker of Northbrook and Wendell Jones of Palatine.
Mapmakers also put Sen. Walter Dudycz, R-Chicago, into the same district as Sen. James DeLeo, D-Chicago. Only two incumbent Democrats were put into the same district Lisa Madigan and John Cullerton, both of Chicago. Madigan, however, is planning to run for attorney general.
By placing incumbents together, Democrats force them to make a decision run against each other in a primary, retire or move into a different district. Under state law, an incumbent can run from any area that includes part of his old district, but if elected, he must move into the area within six months.
In the House, Democrats created 21 districts that have no incumbent. In 19 other districts, incumbents were placed together in the same district. The list includes:
In Chicago: Robert Bugielski, and William Delgado, both Democrats; Howard Kenner, and Shirley Jones, both Democrats; Judy Erwin and Sara Feigenholtz, both Democrats; In the suburbs: Elizabeth Coulson, R-Glenview and Jeff Schoenberg, D-Evanston; David Miller, D-Calumet City, and Robert Ryan, D-Lansing; Anne Zickus, R-Palos Hills and Tom Dart, D-Chicago; Kevin McCarthy, D-Orland Park and Maggie Crotty, R-Oak Forest; Vince Persico, R-Glen Ellyn and Randy Hultgren, R-Wheaton; Doug Hoeft, R-Elgin and Terry Parke, R-Hoffman Estates; William O'Connor, R-Riverside, James Durkin, R-Westchester, and Bob Biggins, R-Elmhurst.
Also in the suburbs: Tom Cross, R-Oswego and Patricia Lindner, R-Aurora; Karen May, D-Highland Park and Susan Garrett, D-Lake Forest; Rosemary Mulligan, R-Des Plaines and Michael McAuliffe, R-Chicago;
Downstate: Donald Moffitt, R-Gilson and Mike Smith, D-Canton; Ron Lawfer, R-Stockton and Dave Winters, R-Shirland; Jerry Mitchell, R-Sterling and David Leitch, R-Peoria; Timothy Schmitz, R-Batavia and Tom Johnson, R-West Chicago; Kurt Granberg, D-Carlyle and John Jones, D-Mount Vernon; Jonathan Wright, R-Hartsburg, Keith Sommer, R-Mackinaw and Bill Mitchell, R-Forsyth.
In four House districts, the crowding shouldn't cause any disruption. Erwin, Lawfer, Persico and Johnson have announced they do not plan to run for re-election.
And Dart has said he will run for state treasurer, leaving Zickus as the lone incumbent in that southwest Chicago district. However, the district is heavily Democratic.
Doug Finke can be reached at 788-1527 or [email protected].
Illinois Republicans on Tuesday predicted a decade of political catastrophe for their party if a Democratic plan to redraw legislative districts is approved, as expected, by a state redistricting commission.
The Democratic map, drawn artfully to whittle away at Republican power bases, would in dozens of cases lump current Republican lawmakers into the same districts.
One of the proposed new Senate districts would be home to three GOP incumbents who now represent different districts in DuPage and west suburban Cook County. Three Republican House members in DuPage and Cook have also been drawn into the same district.
Privately, top Republicans in the legislature acknowledged that the new map would likely turn what is now a 32-27 Republican edge in the Senate into a 34-25 advantage for Democrats after next year's elections. While Democrats now control the House by a 62-56 margin, that majority could grow to a near veto-proof gap of 70-48 under the proposed map, Republicans predicted.
Democrats and Republicans have been at a stalemate for months over how to revamp state legislative boundaries to comply with the 2000 census. But Democrats recently won a constitutionally mandated lottery to break the stalemate by giving them an extra member on the redistricting commission, which they now control 5-4.
Republicans won a similar lottery after the 1990 census and used it to turn the remapping process to their advantage, so they were bracing for payback when Democrats unveiled their new map proposal on Monday.
Knowing that any attempt to derail the Democratic map in the commission will prove fruitless, Republicans are looking to a federal lawsuit they have filed as their only chance to prevent the new district boundary lines from taking effect.
One of the Democrat drawn districts would pack Republican Sens. Tom Walsh of Westchester, Dan Cronin of Elmhurst and Peter Roskam of Glen Ellyn into a single district. One new House district in the Democratic plan would take in the homes of three Republican House members: William O'Connor of Riverside, James Durkin of Westchester and Robert Biggins of Elmhurst.
"This is Cannibalism 101," Durkin said. "This is not fair. This is not equitable. In the long run, you're just disenfranchising people who have made good contributions to the state of Illinois. This is a way the Democratic Party is trying to muscle their way for the next 10 years to keep a majority of the House and the Senate."
Durkin, who has been exploring a run for the Republican nomination for attorney general, said "after looking at this map, my interest in a higher office is going to continue."
But Sen. Vince Demuzio (D-Carlinville), a member of the commission, said Democrats were virtually mirroring what Republicans did a decade ago.
On Tuesday, Demuzio and other Democrats on the panel rebuffed a flurry of last-ditch efforts by Republicans to delay a vote on the map, which is expected this week.
Republican panel member Walter Dudycz, a state senator from Chicago, asked for a two-week suspension of proceedings to prevent "disenfranchising those of the Jewish faith" during the High Holy Days, which began Monday night. His request was rejected.
Democrats unveiled their proposed new map of Illinois General Assembly districts Monday, and Republicans immediately complained that they are being targeted for defeat.
The Legislative Redistricting Commission, where Democrats hold a 5-4 majority, could approve the new political boundaries as early as today. Democrats won the right to design the new map during a random drawing two weeks ago.
"As a result of a coin flip, the Democrats are trying to eliminate the two-party system in Illinois," said Gregg Durham, spokesman for House Republican Leader Lee Daniels, R-Elmhurst. "They're either pitting our members against one another or putting them in heavily favored Democratic districts."
The mood was the same for Senate Republicans, who have held the majority since Republicans won the right to draw the current boundaries 10 years ago.
"We're still reviewing the map, but it appears it is clearly driven by greedy, partisan politics," said Patty Schuh, spokeswoman for Senate President James "Pate" Philip, R-Wood Dale. "Districts do not appear to be compact. They split communities, they split counties, and they split municipalities all over the state."
However, Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, D-Chicago, said the Republicans are "dead wrong." Currie is a member of the redistricting commission, and the remap proposal is dubbed "the Currie plan."
We did our best to make districts compact, to respect community lines and political boundaries. We tried to pay attention to incumbency," Currie said.
Republicans believe the map crams as many Republican incumbents as possible into the same districts, forcing them to fight it out with each other.
In the Senate, 14 of 32 incumbent Republicans are paired with other candidates, all but one of them with other Republicans. In central Illinois, the Democrats put Sen. Laura Kent Donahue, R-Quincy, into the same district as Todd Sieben, R-Geneseo. Sen. Claude "Bud" Stone, R-Morton, is in the same district as Sen. Duane Noland, R-Blue Mound.
Some Republicans were given districts that on paper appear to favor Democrats, including Rep. Raymond Poe, R-Springfield.
Poe now represents the northern part of Springfield, all of Menard County and part of Cass County. Under the Democratic map, Poe's district will cover most of Springfield.
However, Poe said more than half the voters in his current district are from Springfield and surrounding towns, and he isn't too worried.
"It doesn't look like I'm going to have to travel much," Poe said. "I feel comfortable running in the district."
Rep. Gwenn Klingler, R-Springfield, will pick up some of the territory Poe will lose. She estimated she already represents 60 to 70 percent of her new district.
"I can't say I'm pleased, but this looks feasible," Klingler said.
Democrats hold a 62-56 majority in the House, even though Republicans drew the current legislative boundaries. Republicans hold a 32-27 edge in the Senate. Legislative boundaries must be redrawn every 10 years to reflect population changes.
The map doubles to eight the number of House districts with majority Hispanic populations, reflecting the huge growth in Hispanic population in the last decade.
The map also creates 18 districts where African-Americans have majorities.
Under the Illinois Constitution, the House must have 118 districts.
The Legislative Redistricting Commission is scheduled to meet in Chicago today and could approve the Democrat map, although the map inevitably will be challenged in court.
Adriana Colindres contributed to this report. Doug Finke can be reached at 788-1527 or [email protected].
Dozens of incumbent legislators would be forced to run against each other, and the Republican grip on the state Senate could be lost under a Democratic-authored redistricting plan that is expected to be approved as early as Tuesday.
The map also would double Hispanic representation from Chicago in Springfield and, for the first time, create a collar county legislative district in which Hispanics could have a significant say in who gets elected to the legislature.
The plan carves out a House seat in Kane County, where Latinos in and around Aurora would make up 45 percent of the constituents.
The map was unveiled by Democrats on Monday. It is scheduled to be voted upon by the Legislative Redistricting Commission, which came under Democratic control recently after a lottery to break a deadlock on the panel.
Under the guidance of House Speaker Michael Madigan of Chicago, who also heads the state Democratic Party, the map maximizes his political leverage by making it much more difficult for Republicans to get elected, starting with next year's legislative elections.
The map, if approved, is certain to be challenged. Already, Republicans have asked a federal court panel in Rockford to redraw the boundaries, hoping its Republican leanings would be more favorable than a Democrat-led state Supreme Court.
At stake for Republicans is the threat of losing the Senate, which they have controlled without interruption since 1993, when they drew the last map. The new boundaries also could mean further losses for Republicans in the state House, where Democrats have held a majority in 16 out of the last 18 years.
Under the Democratic plan, a total of 14 Republican senators would be lumped into seven districts. That guarantees severe GOP losses in next year's election.
Among those who would be paired off are Republican Sens. Dan Cronin of Elmhurst and Peter Roskam of Glen Ellyn; Kathleen Parker of Northfield and Wendell Jones of Palatine; Thomas Walsh of Westchester and Christine Radogno of La Grange; and Chris Lauzen of Aurora and Ed Petka of Plainfield.
In the House, the new map would create as many as 17 challenges pitting colleagues against each other. Already though, some affected lawmakers have opted not to seek re-election, and others may follow suit, move into a different district or seek statewide office.
Among Chicago House Democrats, the potential matchups include Reps. Robert Bugielski and William Delgado on the Northwest Side, and Reps. Howard Kenner and Shirley Jones on the South Side.
In the north suburbs, Democratic Reps. Susan Garrett of Lake Forest and Karen May of Highland Park are in the same district. And in the south suburbs, Democratic Reps. Maggie Crotty of Oak Forest and Kevin McCarthy of Orland Park would be matched against each other, as would Reps. David Miller of Calumet City and Robert Ryan of Lansing.
Among House Republicans, Michael McAuliffe of Chicago and Rosemary Mulligan of Des Plaines would square off in the Northwest Side and suburbs, as would Doug Hoeft of Elgin and Terry Parke of Hoffman Estates. In the western suburbs, Republican Reps. Tom Cross of Oswego and Patricia Lindner of Aurora would face off.
The current number of Latino legislative districts on the Near Northwest and Southwest Sides would double to eight House seats and four Senate districts as a result of the Democratic map. Eighteen House districts with an African-American population of more than 50 percent would be maintained.
State lawmakers are looking at a major shake-up in district boundaries in East Central Illinois under the map the Democrat-dominated Legislative Redistricting Commission is expected to approve this afternoon.
Democrats won a tie-breaker lottery drawing earlier this month and now hold a majority on the commission, so the proposed map they released Monday night is expected to pass easily, to the dismay of Republicans who are fighting the lottery provision of the Illinois Constitution in court.
"This is why we said all along why a game of chance, followed by a winner takes all scenario, can't produce anything that's good for voters," said Gregg Durham, spokesman for House Minority Leader Lee Daniels, R-Elmhurst.
Steve Brown, spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, said the map speaks for itself and he would not comment further.
A new Senate district containing Danville and the vast majority of Champaign-Urbana would make it easier for a Democrat to win than the current setup where those more urban areas are split into two separate Republican Senate districts, said Laurel Prussing, a former Democratic state representative from Urbana.
"I would imagine they've really tried to get a senate seat out of this," said Prussing, who noted that many bills passed by the Democrat-controlled Illinois House went on to die in the Republican-controlled Senate.
State Sen. Stan Weaver, R-Urbana and state Sen. Judy Myers, R-Danville, could not be reached for comment on the proposed map.
The Democrats' proposed map gives the party a better chance to win a Senate seat than they have now, but either Weaver or Myers could win in that new senate district, said Champaign County Clerk Mark Shelden, a Republican.
Lawmakers have some flexibility to move and run in other nearby districts during a redistricting year.
But based on where current lawmakers' homes stand, State Rep. Rick Winkel, R-Champaign, would be in a new district containing the northwest part of Champaign County, Ford County, most of Iroquois County, the northern quarter of Vermilion County and eastern parts of McLean and Livingston counties, Durham said.
While it would be a lot of new territory, that proposed new district is heavily Republican and winnable for Winkel, Shelden predicted.
Winkel said he had not seen the proposed map and could not comment.
The new district would strip Winkel away from the University of Illinois, where he has focused much of his energy, Durham said.
State Rep. Tom Berns, R-Urbana, currently lives in the tiny proposed district containing the vast majority of Champaign and Urbana, including the UI.
A similar district containing both cities was drawn by a Democrat-controlled redistricting commission in the 1980s and was held by a Democrat, former state Rep. Helen Satterthwaite of Urbana.
Shelden said Berns would be the front-runner to represent such a district, but admitted it would be a highly targeted race.
Prussing said the district could definitely go Democratic in the next election.
Berns said regardless of which party would win or whether he even runs again, he opposed combining the cities into one district.
"I don't see how it serves the people of the district well at all," Berns said.
The UI is the "economic engine that drives the region" and it is better off with two state representatives watching out for its interests than just one, Berns said.
While the proposed new boundaries have most of Champaign-Urbana in one small district, it is not exactly the hole-in-the-doughnut scenario predicted by area political observers.
Instead of two districts, one containing the cities and one comprising the rest of Champaign County and surrounding rural areas, the county is split among four state representative districts and three Senate districts.
Under the new map, state Rep. Bill Black, R-Danville, would live in a district containing the eastern half of Champaign County outside of Champaign-Urbana and all but the top part of Vermilion County.
State Rep. Dale Righter, R-Mattoon, lives in a proposed district covering the southwest corner of Champaign County, Piatt, Douglas and Coles counties and the northwest part of Edgar County.
Black has said several times that he would retire if the new map required him to run against Righter in a primary, but that does not look like it would be the case under this map.
Black was out of town and could not be reached for comment.
A Democrat's name was pulled out of a hat Wednesday to become the tiebreaking member of a state commission in charge of drawing new legislative boundaries.
Former state Supreme Court Justice Michael A. Bilandic will be the ninth member of the commission that has deadlocked along partisan lines.
Democrats can now draw a map that favors their candidates, within the limits of the federal Voting Rights Act and population trends.
Both Democrats and Republicans cautioned that any map produced by the commission is likely to be challenged in court, giving judges the final say over new legislative boundaries.
Secretary of State Jesse White had asked the state Supreme Court for permission to postpone the name-drawing event while the redistricting system is being challenged in court. But the justices denied the request Wednesday.
State House and Senate districts must be redrawn every 10 years to reflect changes in population. The Legislature failed to do that this spring, and a special commission appointed to do the job also deadlocked.
The state Constitution then required White to choose a tie-breaking ninth member of the commission. He did so Wednesday out of a replica of Abraham Lincoln's stovepipe hat.
Rep. David Phelps has suffered two setbacks in his battle to defeat the state's new congressional map, which eliminates his southern Illinois district.
A U.S. District Court judge in Chicago on Monday rejected Phelps' motion to dismiss a petition by some congressional Republicans - including House Speaker Dennis Hastert - that effectively asks the court to approve the state's new map.
Phelps, D-Ill., contends Hastert and the other Republicans who brought the petition - U.S. Reps. Phil Crane and Henry Hyde - are trying to keep the matter in federal court rather than state court, where Phelps filed his own lawsuit in his home territory, Saline County.
Monday's ruling does not mean the federal court approves of the map, but that it will maintain jurisdiction over the matter, something that Phelps' attorney was trying to avoid. "
As far as the decision in federal court, I'm not happy with it, but it doesn't mean we're going to lose," said Robert Howerton of Marion.
Phelps' district was eliminated in the new congressional map approved by Gov. George Ryan in May. It is based on 2000 census figures that resulted in Illinois losing one of its 20 representatives in Washington.
The General Assembly chose to eliminate the only district based completely in deep southern Illinois, where the population either shrank or failed to grow as quickly as in other parts of the state. The district was folded into existing districts that also include big chunks of central Illinois.
Phelps contends the area deserves its own representative.
In a separate action Monday, Saline County Associate Judge Thomas Jones moved Phelps' lawsuit challenging the map out of Saline County in far southern Illinois to Sangamon County in the central part of the state.
The State Board of Elections had requested a change of venue, claiming the lawsuit, in which Phelps contends the region deserves its own representative, would not get a fair hearing in the heart of southern Illinois.
Atty. Gen. Jim Ryan's
decision to appoint Democrats to defend the state in a high-stakes battle
over legislative redistricting is aggravating a split among Republicans
already divided over who their next candidate for governor should be, GOP
Republicans contend Ryan miscalculated by naming Democratic lawyers to
defend the state in a lawsuit that was filed by Democrats and will be
decided by a Democrat-dominated Illinois Supreme Court.
U.S. Rep. David Phelps, a Democrat from Eldorado, said Thursday he will not run against U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson of Urbana in the 2002 election.
Phelps was the only incumbent Illinois congressman to lose much of his district in the redrawing of congressional districts.
He has sued the state over the map, which reduced the number of districts from 20 to 19 because of population changes in the census.
Phelps lives in what would become the new 15th district, which is represented by Johnson.
Instead, he said he will run in 2002 against incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. John Shimkus of Collinsville in a reconfigured 19th Congressional District.
"I can't make a formal announcement about it yet," Phelps said during a break at the Illinois State Fair. "But I won't be running against Johnson."
Candidate makes it official
Democrat Sue Myerscough used the backdrop of Democrat Day festivities at the fair to make official her run for the Supreme Court.
Myerscough, of Springfield, is a member of the 4th District Appellate Court and is the only Democratic candidate to announce for the high court post. She would run in a district that encompasses 30 counties in Central Illinois, including McLean, Woodford, Livingston, Ford, DeWitt, Logan, Piatt and Champaign.
Republican candidates already campaigning for the opening created by the retirement of Justice Benjamin Miller include Supreme Court Justice Rita Garman, who was appointed to Miller's seat, and Appellate Court Justice Robert Steigmann.
Attorney general candidacy
State Sen. Lisa Madigan, D-Chicago, is thus far the lone candidate seeking to become the state's top prosecutor.
In an announcement to county Democratic officials Thursday, Madigan, the stepdaughter of House Speaker Michael Madigan, made her bid official.
With incumbent Attorney General Jim Ryan, a Republican, attempting to become the next governor, no Republicans have stepped forward to seek the position. State Rep. Jim Durkin of Westchester and DuPage County State's Attorney Joseph Birkett are mulling the race. Lt. Gov. Corinne Wood has shown interest in the position.
Madigan, serving her first term as senator, was the keynote speaker at a Democratic Party fund-raiser in Bloomington last week.
Hispanics propose ward remap
By Fran Spielman
August 14, 2001
Chicago would have 12 super-majority Hispanic wards--up from seven currently--at the expense of some of the city's most powerful ward bosses, under a new map drawn by Hispanic aldermen that sets the stage for a political donnybrook.
Finance Committee Chairman Edward M. Burke (14th), Rules Committee Chairman Richard Mell (33rd) and incumbent Ald. Michael Wojcik (30th) would all find themselves representing super-majority Hispanic wards, under the proposed Hispanic map, which faces a tough fight.
Chunks of the 11th, 13th and 23rd wards represented by three of the city's most powerful Democratic ward committeemen--mayoral brother John Daley, Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan (13th) and U.S. Rep. William O. Lipinski (D-Ill.)--would also help create new Hispanic wards with over-populations from the already Hispanic 12th, 22nd and 25th wards, sources said.
The bottom line would be two new super-majority Hispanic wards on the North Side and three more on the South Side to create an even dozen, up from seven currently.
"The whole Hispanic agenda is divisive. It's race-based. People are going to find it offensive. I'm not going to be pushed out by this," Wojcik said.
Ten years ago, Wojcik survived reapportionment, only after being thrown into the same ward with fellow incumbent Carole Bialczak. This time, he's vowing to run and win again, even if Hispanic aldermen prevail in what he called their thinly veiled attempt at self-preservation.
"Mell and I don't have to change even a block. You could move [another Hispanic ward] right around us. The only reason they want to change is to slash and burn," Wojcik said.
Mell refused to comment and Burke, Lipinski and Daley could not be >reached. Ald. James Balcer (11th) said he won't talk about the Hispanic map until he sees it.
Ald. Billy Ocasio (26th), a spokesman for the City Council's Hispanic caucus, denied that the map was deliberately drawn to take out powerful white incumbents. In fact, the new lines were drawn to make certain incumbents live within their new ward boundaries, he said.
"Most of the incumbents are going to run again and they have a very good chance of winning. But, if one of those powerful aldermen decides to step down, that opens up an opportunity for a Hispanic to take over," Ocasio said.
"All we can do is create Hispanic wards. We can't guarantee that Hispanics will win those wards."
Census figures released in March showed that the number of Hispanics in Chicago increased by nearly 210,000 while whites lost 150,000 people and blacks declined by 20,000.
That prompted demands for at least two and as many as five more super-majority Hispa-nic wards. Currently, Chicago has 23 majority white wards, 20 black and seven Hispanic wards.
Black, white and Hispanic aldermen are drawing their own versions of the city's new ward map after hiring their own consultants and attorneys at taxpayers' expense. The maps will then be compared, in hopes of working out a compromise that averts a repeat of the 1990 battle that cost taxpayers $20 million in legal fees.