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Not gonna happen

Wednesday, Feb 23, 2005

The idea of redistricting Illinois’ congressional districts after what the Texas Republicans did a couple of years ago has come up before. Senate President Emil Jones pushed the idea, only to be overruled by House Speaker Michael Madigan, who went through an excruciating post-remap remap debate in the 1970s.

The plan is back, and, according to Roll Call (subscription only), some big muckety mucks in DC are pushing Governor Rod Blagojevich to draw a new map.

Faced with the prospect of Republicans redrawing Congressional lines in a third state since the initial 2001 round of redistricting ended, a faction of national Democrats is urging an aggressive strategy aimed at striking back at Republican House Members in states like New Mexico and Illinois. […]

Democratic Govs. Rod Blagojevich (Ill.) and Bill Richardson (N.M.) as well as high-ranking Louisiana elected officials have been contacted by members of House leadership led by Hoyer since the Georgia legislature began their re-redistricting.

MYDD has more analysis of what this could mean for Illinois:

Democrats believe that a re-opening of the Illinois lines could yield at least two seats; one could be carved out of the suburbs surrounding Chicago, which are currently represented entirely by Republicans including House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.).

Another gain could come in southern Illinois in areas Phelps represented prior to the redistricting of 2001.

This may become a hot topic on the Internets yet again, but I called Madigan’s spokesman last night and he said the Speaker is still opposed to drawing a new map.

The original 2001 congressional map was drawn after extensive negotiations by the incumbents in both parties. Phelps was the odd man out partly because he wasn’t well-liked, and mostly because nobody wanted to do anything to unduly upset US House Speaker Denny Hastert.

The reasoning goes that there are far more benefits for Illinois with a cooperative Hastert than the Dems could ever get from a couple of extra seats in the US House (with the accompanying vengence by Hastert’s people).

Unless Madigan changes his mind, this idea is still dead.

(Major hat tip to John Deeth for the links.)

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Stephen - Wednesday, Feb 23, 05 @ 6:00 am:

    Gerrymandering has always seemed unjust to me, even though it’s both legal and a time-honored tradition. I’d like to see a reasoned alternative that, wherever possible, matches district boundaries to communities with a common interest.

  2. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Feb 23, 05 @ 7:45 am:

    Who decides the communities that have a common interest? With the supercomputing ability today, it would not be hard to draw an almost-perfect map that honors municipal boundaries first, county boundaries second, and balances the state into 20-something equally-populated, similarly shaped districts that do not have long “fingers” meant to benefit one incumbent or another.

  3. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Feb 23, 05 @ 10:41 am:

    Do block districts that keep communities intact.

    What do people think about a Unicameral legislature?

    Jesse Ventura is for it
    AND they have it in Nebraska

    Thoughts? Bueller? Anyone? Anyone?

  4. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Feb 23, 05 @ 11:03 am:

    This is a long overdue idea which i hope gains momentum.

    Since our founding in 1818 there has always histroically been a congressional seat exclusivley for southern Illinois ( and for you Chicago people we arent talking south of I-80 or Springfield, we are talking the southern 31 Counties of our state, everything Effingham and South)

    Even though the population has indeed shifted and there is a congressional seat for Jerry Costello in the Metro East, the bottom line is as Southern Illinoisans we want out seat back!

    This would be an oppertunity to correct an insjustice. The Dems drew the map in 2000 yet we lost a democratic congressman? The party shafted Dave Phelps and even though im a helluva lot more Liberal than him, we lost a decent and honorable man representing Illinois.

    Southern Illinois and Downstate as a whole is in Dire need of every position of leadership or additional district we can get. We deserve and need to be recognized for the future of our great state!

  5. - Pat Collins - Wednesday, Feb 23, 05 @ 11:50 am:

    Well, Chicago Democrats hosed Glenn Poshard (and the whole state) a lot more than Phelps.

    And remember why we have Gov. Gun-ban? Because he thought it would be HIS district that was eliminated. But Chicago had so many illegal aliens, so downstate had to take the hit.

    Iowa has a districting scheme that results in competitive districts by making them stick to county lines (mostly).

    But that sort of thing POs incumbents, and might even be challeneged as it loses a minority seat.

    I remember reading somewhere Chicago might have one too many black seats as it is…

  6. - Drew Hibbard - Wednesday, Feb 23, 05 @ 12:16 pm:

    I’d be all about redrawing the map. Some of the gerrymandering done with this map is just absolutely horrendous. My district (the 17th) is so weirdly drawn that my friend who is from the Quad Cities, me from Quincy, and my boss who lives in Decatur are all represented by the same guy. That’s just insanity.

    I agree that we should try to keep municipal boundaries intact with these districts. Springfield right now has 3 representatives for this one city, and things would be a lot better organized if they only had one.

  7. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Feb 23, 05 @ 12:28 pm:

    Speaking of the 17th, is it true that it runs through an alley in Springfield, in which no people on either side actually are in the 17th, just so it can be continuous so as to reach the Dems in Decatur?

  8. - Drew Hibbard - Wednesday, Feb 23, 05 @ 3:46 pm:

    I don’t know that for sure, but it wouldn’t surprise me. I do know that some people within Springfield are represented by Lane Evans, so it’s not drawn on a street the whole way through.

  9. - Blue State - Wednesday, Feb 23, 05 @ 6:02 pm:

    The 17th Congressional District is an affrton to any fair-minded political observer. In protecting an incumbent, and both political parties did that in Illinois, we helped wipe out a seat held by a Southern Illinois Democrat. That is not the direction we should be going.

  10. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Feb 23, 05 @ 6:12 pm:

    What happened to Melissa Bean?

    “Democrats believe that a re-opening of the Illinois lines could yield at least two seats; one could be carved out of the suburbs surrounding Chicago, which are currently represented entirely by Republicans including House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.).”

  11. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Feb 23, 05 @ 7:39 pm:

    “Democrats believe that a re-opening of the Illinois lines could yield at least two seats; one could be carved out of the suburbs surrounding Chicago, which are currently represented entirely by Republicans including House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.).”

    There are going to be a lot of surprises in the next Census anyway. Will, Kane and Kendall are among the 100 fastest growing counties in the US. There will be many attempts to consolidate power in these fast-growing areas, as well as attempts to fracture their growing influence.

  12. - Drew Hibbard - Wednesday, Feb 23, 05 @ 10:25 pm:

    Although, whether it’s fractured or consolidated will ultimately be decided on that almighty coin toss the redistricting process always seems to resort to.

  13. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 24, 05 @ 4:09 pm:

    Unicameral legislation?
    Never heard of it

    What about going back to the 2-1 system

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Reader comments closed for the weekend
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* Open thread
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