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Representing Nobody: Which Congressman drops off the map this spring?

By JoshMogerman in News on Feb 20, 2011 8:00PM

As redistricting moves forward, expect more Rorschach Tests like Illinois' 4th Congressional District.
Even as Chicagoans prepare to hit the polls Tuesday, an issue left over from last November's election looms large for many Illinois politicos. Redistricting: that time-honored process of gerrymandering political district borders for the state Legislature and U.S. House of Representatives that has been elevated to an ugly art form across the Land of Lincoln. One of the few comforts emerging for Democrats as the dust clears from their national whooping in the last election, the party retained control of the General Assembly in Springfield; which translates into control of the redistricting process. This is one of only seven states where the Dems will be drawling the lines, but the once-in-a-decade process should be particularly interesting here given the City and statewide population declines and the power realignment that will likely occur in response to the alarming African-American flight from Chicago.

We already know that Illinois will lose one seat in the U.S. House of Representatives due to the population decline. That will leave one of the State’s most recognized politicians on the outside, looking in---but who? Greg Hinz is naming names over on his Crain’s blog. He thinks demographic changes and a more dispersed African American community means that Congressmen Bobby Rush, Jesse Jackson, Jr. and Danny Davis are in danger because one of their districts is likely to go bye-bye. Chicago News Cooperative’s James Warren has a very different take. Since the Dems will be running the show in Springfield, he sees suburban Republicans on the chopping block for the district disappearance. Back in November, he predicted that one of the “newbie” tea party reps would be on the firing line and bet that Robert Dold, Randy Hultgren, Adam Kinzinger, Robert Schilling or Joe Walsh will represent a district that literally drops off the map. The Washington Post adds “The Sexiest Man in Congress,” Aaron Schock to that list.

We shouldn’t have to wait very long for the fireworks to begin. State Senator Kwame Raoul expects a proposed redistricting map in mid-May. So, with initial Census numbers in, let the games begin!