Much has been written about the Democratic-crafted plan for U.S. House districts in Illinois next year. Enacted by the Democratic-controlled State House of Representatives and Senate and signed by Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, the plan does nothing short of spell doom for most of the Prairie State’s nine Republican House Members.
Three of the nine GOP lawmakers were thrown into districts with Democratic incumbents and the Chicago-area 10th District of Republican and narrow 2010 winner Robert Dold was made into a far more Democratic district. In addition, there are two situations in which Republican House Members are headed toward collision clashes for a single district: In the new 14th, in which conservative freshman Reps. Randy Hultgren and Joe Walsh will clash, and the new 16th, in which freshman Rep. Adam Kinzinger squares off against twenty-year Rep. Don Manzullo. Again, both are strong conservatives.
In striking contrast, virtually all of the eight Democratic House Members from Illinois are now stronger than they were before redistricting. The Southern Illinois-based district of retiring Rep. Jerry Costello actually grew more Republican and could well by picked up by former lieutenant governor nominee Jason Plummer.
And then there is the strange situation involving perhaps the most famous of all Illinois Democrats in the House: Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. The namesake-son of the civil rights icon and himself considered one of the Democratic Party’s future superstars, young Jackson was the lone Democrat in the Illinois House delegation to have had his district redrawn unfavorably. Last year, Democrats redrew Jackson’s Chicago-based 2nd District to stretch from his home in the South Side of the Windy City into suburban Will County.
And now Jackson (lifetime American Conservative Union rating: 2.92%) faces fellow liberal Democrat and former Rep. Debbie Halvorson (lifetime ACU rating: 20%) in a district whose makeup favors Halvorson, Will County resident and former state senate majority leader. Halvorson, who lost her old 11th District seat to Republican Kinzinger, recently announced against Jackson, denouncing her onetime colleague for not endorsing President Obama’s jobs act and for spending too much time in Washington, D.C.
Halvorson actually ended her losing 2010 race with $200,000 in the bank. In addition, where Jackson’s old district had an African-American majority, the new 2nd is about less than one-third black. The primary is next March.
As to why Democrats in Springfield would place Jackson in such political jeopardy, Illinois sources who spoke to HUMAN EVENTS said that it was all related to the ongoing House ethics investigation of the congressman on charges he attempted to secure appointment to Obama’s former Senate seat through money to disgraced former Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Jackson, while freely admitting he wanted to serve in the Senate, has heatedly denied any wrongdoing or even hints of cash offers to Blagojevich.
Given the potential young Jesse Jackson was once thought to have for leadership in the House and higher office, it is somewhat surprising to find him now in the fight for his political life. More surprising is that his fellow Democrats placed him there.