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Budzinski makes “Red to Blue” program

Thursday, Mar 10, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Ally Mutnick

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has tapped a dozen challengers for the initial roster of its “Red to Blue” program for top-tier candidates, offering an early look at how it views the House battlefield with redistricting nearly complete.

Republicans only need to flip five seats to undo Democrats’ razor-thin majority and capture the House in November — but Democrats can stretch that number by flipping GOP-held seats the other way, and capitalizing on those opportunities will be a key part of any path to keeping the House during President Joe Biden’s first midterm.

The majority of the program’s roster is running for seats that became much more favorable for Democrats under new redistricting maps. Biden carried 10 of the 12 target districts in 2020.

“I think it’s going to be mostly about defense,” DCCC Executive Director Tim Persico said, speaking about Democrats’ midterm strategy. “But,” he added, “it’s important to play offense.”

* Nikki Budzinski…

Today, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) announced it was adding Nikki Budzinski to its first list of “Red to Blue” candidates - one of only 12 in the country to be added. Budzinski’s addition to the coveted list signals the growing momentum building behind her campaign and that she’s well-positioned to flip this open seat in November.

Red to Blue is a highly competitive battle-tested DCCC program that arms top-tier candidates, who have the best chance to flip seats from Republican to Democrat, with organizational and fundraising support to help them continue to develop strong campaigns. Through the Red to Blue program, the DCCC also provides strategic guidance, staff resources, candidate trainings and more.

Budzinski made the following statement: “I am proud of the grassroots, issues-focused campaign that we have built. The path to holding our house majority runs through winning IL13, and I am thrilled to have the DCCC’s support in that effort. I look forward to continuing to work hard, meet voters, and be a tireless champion for working families in Congress.”

This will also likely help in her primary race, which she’s the overwhelming favorite to win.


Hi there –

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee just added IL-13 Candidate Nikki Budzinski to its “Red to Blue” frontline list.

Politico noted President Biden carried this district previously by 11 points.

This move signals Democrats know what we do: Nikki Budzinski is extremely vulnerable and will need all the help she can get.

NRCC Comment: “Democrats realize their unending crises and failing socialist agenda are putting previously safe congressional seats in jeopardy, and vulnerable candidate Nikki Budzinski should be worried.” – NRCC Spokeswoman Courtney Parella

I mean, they had to say something, I guess.

* Roll Call

Democrats had a 13 to 5 advantage in the congressional delegation coming into the cycle, with Illinois losing one seat through reapportionment. If all the races go as planned by Democrats, they’ll start the next Congress with 14 members, compared to three Republicans. That would be a small step to helping Democrats maintain their slim majority nationwide, since Republicans need a net gain of just five seats for a majority.

Competitive races in the 6th, 13th, 14th, and 17th districts will decide whether Democrats drew a successful gerrymander, or a so-called dummymander, a map that benefits the party it was intended to hurt. In a great GOP cycle, Republicans could end up with one more seat from Illinois than they started with. […]

13th District (Open; Rodney Davis, R)

Democrats redrew this district to be significantly more Democratic, pushing Davis to run in the 15th District. Considering Biden would have won the seat with 54 percent, the Democratic primary is critical because the nominee will start the general election with the advantage.

The Democratic front-runner is Nikki Budzinski. The labor activist and former executive in the Office of Management and Budget had $730,000 in the bank on Dec. 31. On the Republican side, candidates include Jesse Reising, a former DOJ prosecutor and current partner at Kirkland & Ellis, philanthropist Regan Deering and others. The 13th was designed to be a Democratic pickup, but Republicans could hold it under the right conditions. Initial rating: Lean Democratic.

Rodney Davis wasn’t pushed to another district. The Democrats drew a district for him. Mary Miller shifted to the district where Davis already lived. The whole idea that a district’s assigned number has anything to do with anything is not exactly deep thinking. “I must stay within the boundaries of 13 even though I no longer live in 13 because that’s always been my district’s number!” said nobody, ever. Sorry, but I’ve seen this so many times from DC types that it’s starting to bug me.

…Adding… As a subscriber just pointed out, before the last redistricting, the 13th District was represented by Judy Biggert. Nobody thought Rodney was running in the suburbs in 2012.


  1. - The Real Downstate - Thursday, Mar 10, 22 @ 11:05 am:

    Glad to see the DCCC is taking this race seriously despite Biden winning the district by double digits. While I don’t expect the GOP wave to be the same in IL as it will be elsewhere, this district contains many swing voters in greater Springfield and Metro East who could decide this race.

  2. - here we go - Thursday, Mar 10, 22 @ 11:24 am:

    DCCC confuses me. How is a Democrat district (the new 13th) “red-to-blue”? It was red, but the new one is blue. It’s solidly blue by the new numbers.

  3. - The Real Downstate - Thursday, Mar 10, 22 @ 11:42 am:

    Ds are taking a seat from Rs. Until a D is sworn in, it’s still a seat held by a Republican.

  4. - SKI - Thursday, Mar 10, 22 @ 11:42 am:

    The 13th is solidly blue, but Budzinski might have “carpetbagger” issues. There have been Democratic voters complaining about how she was picked for the District above other qualified Democrats who actually lived in the district before announcing a run.

    It’d be interesting to see how the issue pills.

  5. - Tournaround Agenda - Thursday, Mar 10, 22 @ 11:42 am:

    Meanwhile, the DCCC has been very quiet about the IL-17.

  6. - John Lopez - Thursday, Mar 10, 22 @ 11:54 am:

    === Glad to see the DCCC is taking this race seriously despite Biden winning the district by double digits. ===

    DCCC taking IL-13 seriously because both major ratings services (Cook Political, Sabato’s Crystal Ball) have the new IL-13 as “Leans Democrat”, meaning its competitive in spite of Biden’s numbers in the new IL-13 in 2020.

    And on Tuesday, Republican IL-13 candidate Regan Deering was named to Elise Stefanik’s E-PAC’s “Women to Watch” List.

    The DCCC took its cue to formally anoint Nikki Budzinski from the Stefanik development.

    Stefanik’s E-PAC endorses and helps fund Republican women candidates, so DCCC chose the frontrunning Democrat woman in the race and did same.

  7. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Thursday, Mar 10, 22 @ 11:54 am:

    ==The 13th is solidly blue, but Budzinski might have “carpetbagger” issues.==

    ==Meanwhile, the DCCC has been very quiet about the IL-17.==

    Budzinski is originally from Peoria. Once Bustos announced her retirement, and the new boundaries approved, why couldn’t she just had returned home to Peoria and ran in the redrawn 17th?

  8. - Jaded - Thursday, Mar 10, 22 @ 12:00 pm:

    “Rodney Davis wasn’t pushed from his district. The Democrats drew a district for him.”

    Come on, his new district covers more new territory than Lewis and Clark. Is it strongly Republican, yes, but to say it was drawn FOR him is a stretch unless you are saying it was drawn FOR him NOT to run against Budzinski.

  9. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Mar 10, 22 @ 12:10 pm:

    ===returned home to Peoria===

    You don’t need to live in the district. Mary Miller, as an example, could’ve chosen any district too.

    To the post,

    The possible 14-3 split only happens if the Dems play good defense and win the seats as allegedly drawn.

    Elections have a way of gumming up the works for those who do not work towards a winning end.

  10. - Lori's Fedora - Thursday, Mar 10, 22 @ 12:20 pm:

    The candidate the GOP is running against her is a partner at Kirkland & Ellis in Chicago. “Carpetbagger” won’t be an issue in the general election.

  11. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Thursday, Mar 10, 22 @ 12:27 pm:

    ==The candidate the GOP is running against her is a partner at Kirkland & Ellis in Chicago. “Carpetbagger” won’t be an issue in the general election.==

    At least the Democrats will have a local primary choice in David Palmer.

    And despite his arson arrest at the State Fair last year, the 13th also has another district-based choice in John Keating of Springfield (running as a Green):

  12. - a nobody - Thursday, Mar 10, 22 @ 12:50 pm:

    ==Meanwhile, the DCCC has been very quiet about the IL-17.==

    Maybe because their candidate, the one Roll Call refered to as “the candidate to watch” hasn’t even managed to file yet?

  13. - Soccermom - Thursday, Mar 10, 22 @ 1:20 pm:

    A Nobody — stop being mean. It’s really hard to get enough signatures to get on the ballot. I mean, so far, only Litesa Wallace has been able to file signatures from voters in all 14 of the district’s counties, right?

  14. - Sharia Capo - Thursday, Mar 10, 22 @ 1:28 pm:

    The metrics do not support the idea that IL-13 is so blue. Remember that the former woman ran nine points behind. Given there is no incumbent this time, but in a Republican year, this is a lavender district.

  15. - The Real Downstate - Thursday, Mar 10, 22 @ 1:59 pm:

    ==the former woman ran nine points behind==
    In the old district, correct? The one that a Republican won every year? This is a different district, with different candidates in a different election year.

  16. - Country Road - Thursday, Mar 10, 22 @ 2:12 pm:

    Inflation at 40 year high.
    Crime up substantially
    Good luck with the wishful thinking, not much of a plan.

  17. - Sharia Capo - Thursday, Mar 10, 22 @ 3:16 pm:

    ==In the old district, correct?==

    Correct. But even if you shift the district 12 points toward Democrats, is that enough? I think 2022 is at least seven points redder than 2020. Maybe Rich agrees with that gut feel.

    The result is Jesse Reising winning by four.

    That’s all things equal. Are those two candidates equally carpetbaggers?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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