Friday, May 28, 2004

What's the infatuation with congressional candidates? The map is a GOP gerrymander

Archpundit has been pushing some Dem congressional candidates in Illinois (the opponents of Phil Crane, Jerry Weller and Henry Hyde). And while the opponents would all represent an improvement over the incumbents (from our progressive perspective), let's be real. Here's Archpundit's site.

The congressional map is drawn to insulate all 19 incumbents from any competition. And because David Phelps, the former Democratic Member from Downstate Eldorado, got the shaft, it is a 10-9 Republican map. In other words, it's a Republican gerrymander.

Which means: no Illinois Republican in Congress is going to lose.

No matter what.

Here's the Downstate map.

Now, keep in mind, in 2002, Democratic congressional candidates got 51% of the vote compared to Republican congressional candidates. And for that 51% of the vote, Democrats got 47% of the seats (9 out of 19).

Republican congressional candidates, meanwhile, with 48% of the Illinois vote, got 53% of the seats (10 out of 19).

And none of them are competitive. They are drawn specifically for that purpose.

If you want to defeat an Illinois Republican Member of Congress and replace him (or her -- don't forget Judy Biggert!) with a Democrat, then you must redraw the congressional map.

There is no other way to elect an additional Democrat from Illinois to the House.

Luckily, the Illinois General Assembly can re-draw the map.

There's even a bill to do it. It's SB 2127. Senator John Cullerton floated it, but it didn't get much traction.

Well, progressives (and especially Archpundit). . . let's get some traction here.

Because, frankly, all the energy and time spent on the Dem congressional campaigns in Illinois would be better spent in Springfield getting a new map.

Just ask Tom DeLay.

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