-By Warner Todd Huston
A federal judge in Chicago has put off the filing date for congressional candidates while a court case proceeds challenging the gerrymandered congressional district map created by the state’s Democrats.
For most offices the filing date for Illinois candidates will start on Monday, Nov. 28. But a three-judge panel determined that the date for filing to run for congress will begin Dec. 23 and end on Dec. 27 to give the pending lawsuit time to wend its way through the system.
Because Illinois lost population in the last Census, the Land of Lincoln has lost a seat in the House of Representatives in Washington and Democrats took full advantage of their ability to redistrict to hurt the careers of its eleven GOP Congressmen. Due to the way the Democrats jiggered the districts, at least four Republican Congressmen will be running against each other in the upcoming primary.
Current 8th District Congressman Joe Walsh announced months ago that he’d challenge Randy Hultgren for the re-drawn 14th District and just this month 11th District Representative Adam Kinzinger decided to challenge long-time Congressman Don Manzulo for the new 16th District. And all the GOP congressmen will be tasked to run in districts containing areas they never before represented.
The State Republican Party took the Democrat’s map to court claiming that the gerrymandered districts were drawn to disenfranchize voters, most especially Hispanic and black voters who were promised more influence and ended up with nothing by the time the Democrats were done.
The Democrat’s new map also pits at least 19 separate Republicans against each other or casts them into areas they never before represented on a state level.
The GOP lawsuit also claims that blacks and Hispanics have been aced out by the Democrat’s map.
The Radogno-Cross suit alleges the map violates federal Constitutional guarantees as well as federal Voting Rights Act protections for minorities. It contends two districts — a west suburban district that includes Maywood and a downstate district that includes East St. Louis — could have been drawn to give blacks of voting age a majority of the population.
It also contends a violation of the federal Voting Rights Act for two districts that it alleges fail to give Latinos a majority voting age population. One of the challenged districts, a C-shaped district, spans from Cicero to Bedford Park. The other challenged district includes Waukegan and Gurnee.
Additionally, the suit contends another six districts were drawn to deny Latinos the ability to influence an election outcome. Latinos gained population in the last decade.
I doubt we’ll see anything change, though. While some have succeeded, few challenges to redistricting are successful. Still, the GOP has to try and do something! After all, politically the state GOP is totally powerless to do anything about anything.