Ill. Could Be Congressional Battleground State

Thursday, 22 Mar 2012 08:17 AM

By Greg McDonald

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Democrats are hoping to capitalize on redrawn districts in Illinois to help them retake control of the U.S. House, the Chicago Tribune reported Thursday. Armed with new boundaries they believe favor their candidates, especially in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, party officials said they expect to add two to five seats now held by Republicans.
 
Democrats need to gain at least 25 additional seats nationwide to claim the majority.
 
“The path to those 25 seats runs right through the state of Illinois. We have some huge pickup opportunities in Illinois,” New York Rep. Steve Israel, who heads the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told the newspaper. “Illinois is going to be absolutely pivotal to what happens in November.”
 
Republicans, however, are counting on a backlash against the Democrats, who they say angered a lot of voters by going “too far in their political gerrymandering efforts” to favor their candidates.
 
In 2010, Republicans surprised the Democrats by winning enough seats to gain an 11-8 majority in the makeup of the state congressional delegation. Democrats are now saying the balance after November could favor them again by a margin of 12-6.
 
One race expected to draw much attention and cash from both parties is in the 8th District, where freshman Republican Rep. Joe Walsh will face off against Democratic candidate Tammy Duckworth.
 

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