With lots of independent voters, the suburbs will see heated battles between Democrats and Republicans this election season. Here's a look at some of the hottest state legislative races.
Who: Freshman Democratic state Sen. Michael Noland against Republican Steve Rauschenberger, both of Elgin.
Why: Rauschenberger held the seat for 14 years before running for lieutenant governor in 2006, a bid which he lost.
Who: Freshman Democrat Michael Bond, of Grayslake, is running against Lake County Board Chairwoman Suzi Schmidt, a Lake Villa Republican.
Why: Schmidt, like Rauschenberger, has a good reputation in the district for her work on the county board. With voters concerned about the economic downturn and state deficit, experts say freshman Democrats are some of the most vulnerable candidates this election.
Who: Democratic Freshman Keith Farnham is running against former two-term Republican state Sen. Ruth Munson, both of Elgin.
Why: Farnham won the seat in 2008 by just a few hundred votes, in a major upset.
Who: Democratic State Rep. Mark Walker and Republican challenger David Harris, of Arlington Heights.
Why: Walker won an open seat from the Republicans in a heated race in 2008 with 53 percent of the vote against a veteran Elk Grove Village trustee. Harris, state representative from between 1983 and 1992, was former President George W. Bush's point person on Iraq reconstruction and a former adjunct general of the Illinois National Guard.
Who: Republican Rep. Dennis Reboletti and Deborah O'Keefe Conroy, both of Elmhurst.
Why: Reboletti landed just 51 percent of the vote in the last two general elections. O'Keefe Conroy has a solid reputation in the community, as vice president of Elmhurst Unit District 205 school board.
Who: Republican Rep. Fred Crespo of Hoffman Estates, and Republican Billie Roth, of Streamwood.
Why: Unlike in 2008, when Crespo's Republican opposition seemed to fall apart, Roth appears ready to make a real challenge. Streamwood, where Roth serves as village president, makes up a sizable portion of the 44th District.