Mulligan says she could be mapped out of her Des Plaines district a third time

and Projects Writer
Updated 4/27/2011 6:00 AM
  • Rosemary Mulligan has been mapped out of her district twice. The Des Plaines Republican says she could get mapped out again.

    Rosemary Mulligan has been mapped out of her district twice. The Des Plaines Republican says she could get mapped out again.

In Illinois political mapmaking history, Rosemary Mulligan has a distinction among her peers in the statehouse.

The Des Plaines Republican has been "mapped out" of her district not once, but twice -- prompting her to buy three different houses within the same town, moving so she'd still live in the 65th House District she represents and be able to run again there. Mulligan still owns two of those homes today.

Now Democrats -- who control the governor's office, state House and Senate -- are redrawing boundaries for lawmakers for the next 10 years. It's a politically prickly process that's among the factors Mulligan is considering as she decides whether she'll run again in 2012.

Mulligan first ran in the 65th District for the Republican nomination in 1990. She lost by six votes in a recount to then-state Rep. Penny Pullen of Park Ridge, a more socially conservative member of her own party.

Mulligan claims that her own party leaders, in control of the remap process that year, wanted to discourage her from making another bid for the 65th District seat, so "they drew my house out," she said.

So she moved -- selling her home in a neighborhood near Des Plaines' Cumberland traffic circle on the city's northwest side and moving first to an apartment. She eventually bought a home in a neighborhood smack dab in the middle of the city, from which she ran again and won in 1992.

A decade later, she had been drawn out again -- this time in the map drawn up by Democratic leaders, who were then in charge of the redistricting process.

"They drew a line right through the center of (the neighborhood)," Mulligan said. She was again outside her district by a couple of blocks.

So Mulligan moved again, a few miles farther south in Des Plaines. She said she loved the house she left so much she didn't want to sell it, and she makes ends meet by renting it out instead.

Now with another remap under way to adjust districts based on new census numbers (and, in theory, to give each legislative district equal representation), Mulligan, who is also Maine Township GOP committeewoman, says it has crossed her mind that she could be drawn out yet again.

Unlike areas in Kane and DuPage counties, Mulligan's district has not seen tremendous growth over the past decade, with about 110,000 residents.

Still, she said she expects House and Senate boundaries to be tweaked to reduce the power of traditional Republican strongholds like Park Ridge and Mount Prospect.

Mulligan has won by wide margins in recent elections.

If her old home would be drawn back within district boundaries, "I'd take it. I was debating (this the other day), the house I have now is a little more senior-friendly," she said.

Mulligan, now in her 18th year in the legislature, says she's undecided about another bid for office, after dealing with a lengthy and so far unexplained illness that has given her breathing problems and limited her travels to Springfield.

"I had a problem with a flu shot. After I got it in October, within days I was really sick," she said. "I've been tested for a whole bunch of different stuff. In 18 years, up until now, I've probably missed five days of session total."

Mapped: Mulligan has won by large margins in recent elections