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Proposed maps alter Bloomington-Normal seats in U.S. House

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SPRINGFIELD — Bloomington-Normal remains divided between multiple congressional seats in a new set of proposed boundary maps that Democrats in the Illinois General Assembly unveiled Friday.

Facing off would be freshman Republican U.S. Rep. Mary Miller of Oakland and four-term GOP U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood of Peoria in a district that includes northeastern Normal and south Bloomington. 

Other areas would be put in a district that stretches to Rockford and northwestern Illinois. It is represented by Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Moline, who has announced she will not seek reelection in 2022. 

The district currently held by GOP Rep. Rodney Davis — where a Democrat who served in President Joe Biden's administration already is running — was redrawn to include more Democratic-friendly territory and not Davis' hometown. 

Davis has previously indicated he might consider running for governor in 2022, depending on how his district is redrawn.

All states redraw their congressional districts following each decennial census. The proposed new maps reflect the fact that Illinois will have only 17 congressional districts after the 2022 elections, down from its current 18 districts, due to the state’s loss of population since the 2010 census.

The draft proposal includes a number of oddly-shaped districts, many of which would create entirely new constituencies for incumbent members of Congress, particularly Republicans.

As expected, southern Illinois, which saw the most dramatic population declines, would essentially be compressed from having two districts to just one. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, would see his 12th District nearly double in size geographically to take in almost the entire southern end of the state, from an area just east of the Metro East region all the way to the Ohio River.

The map also puts GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger, one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach President Donald Trump, in the same left-leaning district as first-term Democratic Rep. Marie Newman.

Illinois could play a pivotal role in the 2022 congressional elections as Democrats try to hold onto their slim majority. The U.S. House is split 220-212 in favor of Democrats with three seats currently vacant — two last held by Democrats and one last held by a Republican.

Illinois state Sen. Elgie Sims of Chicago, the Democrat who chairs that chamber’s remap panel, said the proposed map “is an effort to ensure every community across our state receives fair and equal representation in Washington.”

But Republicans criticized Democrats for drawing a map that they contended was focused on protecting incumbents and trying to ensure another Democratic majority for U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after the 2022 midterm elections.

“Call this new Illinois map the Nancy Pelosi Protection Plan,” said state GOP Chairman Don Tracy. “It’s appalling that fair representation, keeping communities of interest together, and transparency in the mapmaking process in Illinois all had to take a back seat to the demands of national politics.”

Each chamber’s redistricting panels has scheduled a Wednesday hearing on the new map with other hearings planned before a final vote, likely at the end of the legislature’s six-day session.

The Associated Press and Capitol News Illinois contributed to this report. 


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