Illinois Democrats have proposed a new set of gerrymandered congressional maps that would cut the number of Republican House seats from three to five, including eliminating the seat held by Rep. Adam Kinzinger, the GOP lawmaker who has spoken out often against former President Donald Trump.
Kinzinger, who has represented Illinois’ 16th Congressional District for six terms, said in a statement to The New York Times that after Friday’s release of the new congressional maps, he and his team “will spend some time looking them over and reviewing all of the options, including those outside the House.”
Kinzinger added that “this redistricting process has been anything but transparent, which comes as no surprise to anyone. I believe the people of Illinois deserve better.”
Later, in a text message to The Times, the lawmaker said he was just “talking options” and wouldn’t elaborate on his plans if his House seat is eliminated.
In recent months, Kinzinger has dismissed suggestions that he should challenge Democrat incumbent Gov. J.B Pritzker or run against Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill.
Kinzinger’s district has now been drawn into the Democrat majority district held by Rep. Marie Newman.
The maps must be approved by Illinois’ Democrat-controlled House and Senate and would involve two districts, designed to elect Democrat candidates, that would reach across hundreds of rural miles in the state and connect smaller blue-leaning communities. It would also split up 42 of the state’s 102 counties, the Princeton Gerrymandering Project said in an analysis.
“It splits 42 counties and has poor compactness scores, with districts like the proposed IL-15 and IL-17 snaking across the state to include voters of only one political persuasion,” the project posted on Twitter.
The Democrats’ proposal for a 17th Congressional District in Illinois stretches along the state’s northwestern borders and connects Rockford in the northern section to Peoria and twin cities of Bloomington and Normal, covering some 332 miles.
Kinzinger’s current district covers eastern Rockford, its suburbs, and exurban territory near Chicago.
Illinois’ House delegation has 13 Democrats and 5 Republicans, but the switch will result in 14 Democrats and 3 Republicans, as the state will lose one seat to reapportionment.
Several other states are redrawing their maps to boost partisan leadership, including in Oregon, where Democrats drew just one GOP district out of the six in the state’s new map.
Republicans are also using the mapping process in Texas in hopes of pulling back on Democrat districts.
Rep. Cheri Bustos, the Democrat representing the current 17th District, is planning to retire.
Meanwhile, the new map’s 13th District connects suburban communities east of St. Louis, the state capital in Springfield, and two college towns in Champaign and Urbana, located three hours away.
The plans do leave the 4th District in place. It connects the Hispanic neighborhoods in the North and South Sides of Chicago. The 7th District, meanwhile, is one of three districts that will have a plurality of Black voters, if approved.