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Some good news for Shimkus, bad news for Johnson

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

* The House tweaked the congressional map yesterday

In an amendment filed Monday afternoon and voted on roughly two hours later, [Republican Congressman John Shimkus’] home was moved from the proposed 13th Congressional District — which includes most of Springfield, all of Decatur and most of Champaign-Urbana — into the 15th Congressional District, which takes in southern Illinois.

The home of U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Urbana, is now in the 13th Congressional District.

The move is a break for Shimkus because it gives him back most of the territory that is in his current district. Johnson will now face an electorate that is more Democratic-leaning.

Johnson will now have to decide whether to run against Shimkus or face a strong push by Democrats next year. He says he’ll run in the 13th

Johnson spokesman Phil Bloomer said the congressman expects to run in the reconfigured 13th district in the 2012 election. But, he decried the process that led to the new boundaries.

“It’s not only unfortunate, it’s crazy, that they didn’t include any members of the delegation on the Republican side when they created the map. That’s not only a disservice to the congressman, but a disservice to the people he represents,” Bloomer said.


* You can find the newly revised maps by clicking here. And here are the voting age population breakdowns by district…

Notice that African-American congressmen had to give up super-majority black districts in order to maintain the current level of representation.

* Related…

* Illinois House give OK to congressional redistricting map

* Sunday Remapalooza: Republicans and Democrats begin to cannibalize

* Saturday Remapalooza: An intensely partisan work of art

* Latino division over legislative maps

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, May 31, 11 @ 5:43 am:

    If Johnson’s home is in the proposed 13th, then the rest of Urbana proper is probably in it, and that most likely means a few more D votes. Additionally, it helps with rallying the C-U area around one common D opponent against Johnson instead of having some Urbanans face off against Johnson and other C-U folks facing off against Shimkus.

  2. - Just sayin 3 - Tuesday, May 31, 11 @ 6:29 am:

    Look at how this amendment really gerrymanders the 15th - it takes a few precincts and wraps around the southern protrusion of the 13th just enough to grab Shimkus’ house. And it wasn’t as if it was just the homes of Johnson and Shimkus that were tweaked…look at the areas around Springfield and Bloomington/Normal. The 13th went from hold-R with Shimkus and his $1m+ to a really tough deal with the new changes. Johnson got screwed, royally. What kind of deal got cut here? The Ds wouldn’t risk more outcry, etc. unless they got a really sweet deal. It looks to me as if they essentially gave Shimkus a safe R seat and in return they have a D seat in the new, new 13th.

  3. - wordslinger - Tuesday, May 31, 11 @ 7:28 am:

    What did Shimkus do to deserve the good fortune?

  4. - Aldyth - Tuesday, May 31, 11 @ 7:36 am:

    To the victors go the spoils. If the Republicans had swept the Illinois House and Senate, we would be hearing the Democrats complaining about being gerrymandered out of their seats.

  5. - Man in the Middle - Tuesday, May 31, 11 @ 7:38 am:

    The thing that impresses me most about the maps is how oddly-shaped and hard-to-explain many of the new districts are. I wish there were a way to require each district have a compact regular shape.

  6. - Will - Tuesday, May 31, 11 @ 8:29 am:

    Shimkus would have lost 13. It’s a terrible fit for him. Moderate Republicans in college towns weren’t going to vote for his anti-science crusade.

    Johnson, by contrast, can sound moderate and reasonable enough to win 13.

    Why would the legislature want to increase the odds of 13 remaining Republican?

  7. - mr. whipple - Tuesday, May 31, 11 @ 8:45 am:

    Despite Shimkus’ money, he would have major trouble with the 13th. But had the map not been amended, Shimkus and Johnson were supposedly going to switch districts anyhow.

    Repubs have a better chance of holding onto both seats with Shimkus in the very conservative 15th and Johnson running in a more moderate, maybe even toss-up 13th, where he has name recognition and many years on various ballots.

    Curious why the Dems made it easier on those downstate districts.

  8. - ZC - Tuesday, May 31, 11 @ 9:11 am:

    At the end of the day, the GOP remains favored to control the US House come January 2013. Not saying the Dems couldn’t surprise, but it’s an uphill battle.

    So you have to wonder if Springfield decided a few more GOP representing Illinois in DC might not be a bad thing. Texas did an excellent job of wiping out its Democrats in its mid-decade remap. That came back to bite them when the Dems took over in 2006, and Texas had almost no reps with decent seniority left.

  9. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, May 31, 11 @ 9:53 am:

    ==It’s not only unfortunate, it’s crazy, that they didn’t include any members of the delegation on the Republican side when they created the map. That’s not only a disservice to the congressman, but a disservice to the people he represents==

    Mainly, though, a disservice to the Congressman. I guess he thought it would be like last time when the incumbent all got to draw their own districts. (Except Phelps.) And, the districts on this map are less convoluted than the old one. What would Johnson’s district look like if he had been allowed to draw it?

  10. - Conservative Veteran - Tuesday, May 31, 11 @ 9:54 am:

    I hope that Rep. Johnson won’t run. When he ran, in 2000, then-State Rep. Johnson promised that he wouldn’t serve more than three terms, in the U.S. House. Later, he changed his mind, and, in 2010, he won his sixth term. I hope that State Sen. Dale Righter will run in the 13th District.

  11. - 15th native - Tuesday, May 31, 11 @ 10:32 am:

    Johnson’s main handicap is age. When he can get himself together, he is a pretty good campaigner. Plus, people already know him in Champaign, Bloomington, and Decatur.

    He did get screwed, but I would agree that he has a better shot than Shimkus

  12. - Jon Zahm - Tuesday, May 31, 11 @ 11:05 am:

    I would say Shimkus is safe in the reconfigure and Johnson, who is one of the very best campaigners in Illinois, has a good chance of pulling this off. If they don’t get him in 2012 there is no chance they beat him in the off year of 14.

  13. - Anonymous - Tuesday, May 31, 11 @ 11:20 am:

    I think the 13th was cut for Mike Frerichs and he would have a better chance against Johnson than Shimkus. This is because Shimkus has $, Johnson does not and both Frerichs and Johnson come from the same area. Shimkus would have rallied the southern end of the district against Frerichs. With both candidates being from C-U, the south can return to its Democratic leanings……besides Obama is on the ballot and that will probably not hurt in this district…..

  14. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, May 31, 11 @ 11:29 am:

    I’d bet against Johnson

    He USED to be a great campaigner. Most of that was a tremendous constituent service operation

    These folks are not his constituents, and he just voted to end Medicare

  15. - Just sayin 3 - Tuesday, May 31, 11 @ 11:33 am:

    Shimkus would have had trouble in the 13th like Sam McCann did. Like Wayne Rosenthal did. Etc. He has a ton of $$$ and strong committees behind him to raise more $$$. And don’t get me with the Obama argument.

    Yes, he will drive some turnout on the campuses, but not like he did in ‘08. Plus, for every liberal college kid that runs to the polls to vote for Obama, some blue collar traditional Dem in Montgomery or Macoupin or Jersey or elsewhere will go to the polls to vote against Obama. It’s just the reality of this way the current administration has failed a lot of their traditional constituency.

    Plus, between the 92-02 map and his current map, Shimkus has represented a lot of the district. Johnson may be a great campaigner, but he is an anemic fund raiser and his only tough congressional races have been primaries. Shimkus has been tested by at least one tough D.

    This should cause concern for the GOP. Last night’s amendment might have just cost the GOP another congressional seat.

  16. - Questions... - Tuesday, May 31, 11 @ 11:49 am:

    What is the next step in this process? How long does Quinn have to consider signing this legislation?

  17. - mr. whipple - Tuesday, May 31, 11 @ 11:52 am:

    Shimkus hasn’t been tested in places like Champaign-Urbana, Bloomington-Normal and Decatur. There are democratic constituencies in those areas. And independent and even most GOP voters in those areas don’t know him. John has been a creature of the MetroEast and surrounding rural areas. Grabbing a large chunk of university voters (think U of I and ISU), labor and white collar voters (think State Farm in Bloomington, state workers in Springfield) would have been really tough for him, given some of his positions on social issues.

    Johnson has a much better chance in 13 but, other than his phone calls to constituents, his visibility and impact on his current district has been in serious decline.

    Shimkus should be fine in 15 but Johnson may have some trouble maintaining 13 for the GOP.

  18. - aaronsinger - Tuesday, May 31, 11 @ 11:53 am:

    Supposedly the state house districts were also tweaked. Does anyone know where I get an updated map of those?

  19. - Just sayin 3 - Tuesday, May 31, 11 @ 12:02 pm:

    Shimkus will be fine in the 15th. Johnson will be in trouble in the 13th. I agree. The questions is, why the deal? The Ds have probably already had more pushback from various folks on the maps than they originally anticipated or wanted. That said, they maps still would have flown through with the arguments of transparency, etc.

    The question is now, why would they allow this last minute closed-door gerrymander deal to happen? The setting is poor - the evening of a holiday right before the house vote and the night before the Senate vote. The repercussions are very partisan - potentially costing the GOP a congressional seat. It just raises eyebrows. If they wanted Johnson in 13 and Shimkus in 15 it should have been that way to start.

    Clearly someone in DC did not like this map. For jamming this amendment through, though, what did the Ds get? In their minds, a congressional seat? Something stinks here…

  20. - Fallacy - Tuesday, May 31, 11 @ 12:08 pm:

    Repubs have their candidates. Dems still need candidates in both districts, though. That unto itself could be a challenge - good candidates at least. Legislatively, the cupboard is pretty bare downstate.

  21. - Angry Chicagoan - Tuesday, May 31, 11 @ 12:33 pm:

    I’d love to know the motive for this. Putting an end to Shimkus’s Congressional career ought to have been a high priority. That has now been completely given up and I think the new 13th is winnable for Johnson.

    Perhaps the Democrats didn’t think they could beat Shimkus at all. If that’s the case, they’re pathetic.

  22. - 15th native - Tuesday, May 31, 11 @ 12:37 pm:

    Frerichs probably will be coveting that seat, and would be a strong candidate, but I’m not sure he would give up his Senate seat in what is likely to be a GOP year in a middle of the road district. He is a risk taker, but I don’t know.

  23. - Not so Fast - Tuesday, May 31, 11 @ 12:43 pm:

    Just curious what risk Frerichs ever took? I don’t think he’s ever given up a seat to run for anything.

    This district, more than probably any other in the state, is anti-Springfield. As a Republican, I hope they put up a Dem legislator.

  24. - 15th native - Tuesday, May 31, 11 @ 12:45 pm:

    Actually, that is a good point. I guess ambition isn’t quite synonymous to boldness.

  25. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, May 31, 11 @ 12:52 pm:

    ===This district, more than probably any other in the state, is anti-Springfield.===


    You’re confusing 13 with 15. 13 has several state and private universities in it. Hardly anti-Springfield.

  26. - Fallacy - Tuesday, May 31, 11 @ 12:55 pm:

    From the SJR, very interesting if not informative:

    House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, D-Chicago, talked about the changes but did not say why Shimkus and Johnson were moved. “As you know, mapmaking is a complex process. I can’t tell you where these changes come from,” Currie said.

    Must be a DC deal. Who’s behind it?

  27. - Shore - Tuesday, May 31, 11 @ 1:00 pm:

    ZC, you make a really good point. If a republican was elected president next year, and republicans took back the senate as some think they will, the state would have a junior first term senator in mark kirk, roskam in house leadership assuming he survives and that’s about it. No republicans on house appropriations and maybe 2 on ways and means at junior levels. new york state found itself struggling badly in getting its needs addressed in 2001 after the terrorist attacks of 9-11 with hillary clinton and charles schumer as senators in the minority and only a few mid level appropriators from outside the metro area.

  28. - Not so Fast - Tuesday, May 31, 11 @ 1:09 pm:

    You mean the University folks who have seen Springfield eviscerate their funding? The folks who are getting their health care yanked from them?

  29. - Cincinnatus - Tuesday, May 31, 11 @ 1:19 pm:

    “…roskam in house leadership assuming he survives…”

    The redistricted CD6 is more Republican than the old one.

  30. - Shore - Tuesday, May 31, 11 @ 1:28 pm:

    This is the obama-mccain/Kirk/Quinn vote breakdown for the new districts according to one source. This probably took a lot of work, and while I am not a kos person is impressive.

  31. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, May 31, 11 @ 1:48 pm:

    Kos makes too much of the 2010 numbers.

    I know that folks don’t like using the 2008 “Obama” numbers, but they are particularly relevant for the 15th.

    There is a ginormous difference in turnout among younger voters in Presidential years.

    Nationally, turnout among voters under 30 is 21% in non-presidential elections and 42% in Presidential elections.

    The difference in turnout is so large that in Illinois, there are 400,000 more ballots cast by voters under the age of 30 than over the age of 65 during a Presidential election year.

    The Republicans BEST hope for winning the 13th — their only hope — is to find another Schock hiding in the woodpile somewhere.

    Johnson doesn’t stand a chance in 2012.

    Holding on to the seat in 2014 will be the trick for Democrats.

  32. - just sayin' - Tuesday, May 31, 11 @ 1:52 pm:

    Easy to understand why the Dems would have no problem with Shimkus staying in congress. Those youtube videos about how God will never destroy the earth again are priceless.

  33. - Past downstater - Tuesday, May 31, 11 @ 2:14 pm:

    This seems to be a move to protect Shimkus. I’m guessing he had some help from at least one Dem in the IL Cong. Delagation…

  34. - Foot Loose - Tuesday, May 31, 11 @ 2:23 pm:

    Me thinks Mr. Costello just extended the ‘ol southern IL non-aggression pact in Congress.

    Sorta sad for the Republicans they could have dominated downstate in congress (especially when Jerry Sr. retires) but this amendment really sinks that ship.

    What a deal. Johnson must be fuming.

  35. - Butterfly - Tuesday, May 31, 11 @ 2:59 pm:

    No pity here for Tim Johnson. His constituent services don’t exist he calls on his state legislators, Dem and Rep, to solve any issue he can’t ignore. He might have to get new phone books so he can continue making phone calls, but that’s how his life would change. He is the ultimate place holder and does nothing. His current district would elect Hitlrt as long as he had an ‘R’ after his name. Johnson’s gone the second he’s required to do and work!

  36. - Just sayin 3 - Tuesday, May 31, 11 @ 3:15 pm:

    Assuming the numbers are correct from the kos site, it seems that this thread was about right re: 13 & 15. 15 = GOP Super Strong. 13 = Toss Up.

  37. - Orange and Blue - Tuesday, May 31, 11 @ 3:32 pm:

    As far as Frerichs and Johnson go in the 13th, I think a lot of it will come down to the young vote. Nationwide students probably won’t be falling over themselves to get to the polls to vote for Obama again, but there still will be a significant amount. However, I think a younger, charismatic guy like Frerichs would be great at bringing them out in droves, especially considering Johnson is old enough to be their grandfather. Frerichs has always done a great job of getting the U of I vote, and with so many universities in the district the students could become a major factor.

  38. - hisgirlfriday - Tuesday, May 31, 11 @ 4:53 pm:

    So I guess someone actually listened to my CapFax comment from the other day that Dems left some votes on the table by not drawing in more of Normal around Heartland College and Raab Rd. and redrew the 13th. LOL.

    But seriously, I generally like this 13th better with a unified Chambana and while I am pleased that there is now apparently no danger that anti-science Shimkus will be in charge of representing so many of our fine universities in Congress, I am disappointed that my old Congressman, the more moderate Johnson will apparently no longer be representing the totally Republican 15th if only for the anti-war vote.

    As for some other comments in this thread…

    1) I’ve got to ask: where is the evidence of Tim Johnson being a great campaigner? Because he beat Bill Brady in the primary 12 years ago? Because he held on to his seat for 10 years after the 2002 redistricting while the DCCC and Illinois Dems didn’t even put in peanuts to contest it after Kelleher lost at which point the Green candidates in Chambana were actually more visibly active than the Dems in trying to unseat him? Johnson hasn’t had to work for reelection in TEN YEARS.

    2)@ConservativeVeteran, obviously this doesn’t technically preclude him from running but you do realize that Dale Righter lives in the 15th and not the 13th district right? EIU missed out on the new “Learning and Labor” Central Illinois/Metro East district.

    3. @NotSoFast & @Rich regarding the anti-Springfield sentiment of this district: Technically I think Rich is right that this district isn’t anti-Springfield. But I think NotSoFast is on to something in that it’s anti-Chicago Democrats who run Springfield with less Downstate representation than there used to be. The thing is I’m not certain our incumbent legislators in Washington are any more popular than the incumbent legislators running the show in Springfield. And regardless of whether people like his policies, Barack Obama is still a net popular guy so I think that swings a district like this much more in the Dems favor in a general election year.

  39. - hisgirlfriday - Tuesday, May 31, 11 @ 5:01 pm:

    @OrangeAndBlue, Whoever the Dems put forth here needs to do more than just reach out/GOTV like crazy the youth vote and the A-A populations of this district (who I think have gone unmentioned thus far). They need to build bridges (or repair them where necessary) with the labor constituencies, with women, with moderates who may have voted Republican in 2010 because they were mad about the economy and not because they wanted Medicare voucherized and also just to “local” Democrats who just generally have felt ignored by the Illinois Democratic Party and the national Democratic Party for quite a while. Because what good does it do if someone like Frerichs gives up the Senate and takes this seat for one cycle and then it falls back into Republican hands the very next, like the 11th District with Halvorson in 2008 and 2010?

  40. - jake - Tuesday, May 31, 11 @ 5:15 pm:

    Frerichs and Johnson would be a fascinating rematch. When Mike was just a few years out of college, he ran against Tim in a very Republican State Rep district, the old 104th—and almost beat him. Tim was a several term incumbent, so it was a shock and to this day, probably was the biggest scare of Tim’s political career.

  41. - Map Fan - Tuesday, May 31, 11 @ 7:57 pm:

    The 13th is ideal for a Democrat from Decatur.

  42. - political independent - Tuesday, May 31, 11 @ 11:13 pm:

    The GOP is pushing back in Texas already. The GOP controls the whole deal in Ohio, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin among others. The control in Illinois and California. The voters will lose all the way with both parties.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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