Democrats' map proposal would pit suburban Republican lawmakers against one another
Suburban House Republicans could see some losses in the next election based on the proposed Illinois legislative map, which would pit some incumbent lawmakers against one another.
Six Republicans live in three of the proposed districts, potentially whittling down GOP representation and expanding Democrats' control of the General Assembly. Another suburban Republican would be drawn into the same district as an incumbent Democrat.
"Every one of these districts is unfair," House Minority Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs said Monday.
Republicans Keith Wheeler of Oswego and Dan Ugaste of Geneva both live in the 50th District on the proposed map; Palatine Republican Thomas Morrison and Lake Zurich Republican Chris Bos are both in the 51st District; and Wheaton Republican Amy Grant and Bartlett Republican Seth Lewis both are in the 47th District on the proposed map.
"We have a completely partisan map in which we have no information on the data that is even being used to draw these maps until it was dropped on the whole state late Friday night," Ugaste said. "They told us it would be different, there's new leadership in the House, there's new leadership in the Senate ... Speaker Welch told us it would be a new day and this isn't a new day, its more of the same and worse."
A partisan suburban battle has been set up on the proposed map between Elmhurst Republican Deanne Mazzochi and Elmhurst Democrat Deb Conroy, who both fall into the proposed 46th District.
The Illinois constitution contains a rule that allows lawmakers to run in any district that contained any part of the district they lived in when a redistricting cycle occurred. This rule could allow Ugaste to run in the 65th District and Morrison to pursue election in the 54th District, which includes northern Arlington Heights and Prospect Heights.
Democrats released the map proposal at 7:30 p.m. Friday, timing Durkin called a "new low."
An alliance of groups that advocate for good government, racial equality and other causes criticized the maps. With members including the League of Women Voters, the Better Government Association and Change Illinois, the coalition decried the mapmakers' use of population estimates rather than actual census figures, which will not be released until at least August because of pandemic delays.
The groups say Illinois leaders should seek a court order releasing them from a June 30 deadline for new maps that's mandated by the Illinois Constitution.
"It's beyond alarming and disappointing that lawmakers would draft these maps using old, flawed data and then release them after 7:30 on a Friday night when most people have checked out and give us just a couple of days before they host hearings," said Change Illinois Director Madeleine Doubek.
Durkin said the Democrats did not release enough information about how the proposed maps were drawn.
"It's unfair not only to the members of the minority party but also to the millions of people that we represent because they're not providing adequate data to show how (Democrats) reached these conclusions."
Public hearings on the proposed maps will be held Tuesday and Wednesday at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. The public can submit testimony for the hearings at ilga.gov by filling out a witness slip for the Senate or House committee. The meetings can be streamed in Virtual Room 1 at the ilga.gov website. The 4 p.m. House committee meetings can be attended in-person in room 114 of the Capitol building in Springfield.