Dozens of contenders for Illinois' 18 newly drawn congressional districts filed candidacy paperwork on opening day Friday, setting the stage for potentially contentious contests in the March 20 primary.
The first-day filers included 12-year Republican Rep. Judy Biggert, who found her Hinsdale home mapped in with Democratic Rep. Mike Quigley of Chicago. Biggert opted to run in the new open-seat 11th District, which includes Aurora and parts of Naperville. She faces a primary against Kane County Clerk Jack Cunningham. Also filing was Diane Harris, a notary public from Joliet.
Bill Foster of Naperville is seeking a return to Congress after losing his re-election bid last year to Republican Randy Hultgren. Foster is being challenged by Juan Thomas of Sugar Grove, a former Aurora Township clerk, and Jim Hickey of Orland Park, president of the Orland Fire Protection District.
In the Democratic-leaning north suburban 10th District, freshman Rep. Robert Dold of Kenilworth was the lone Republican to file. Four Democrats filed, including political activist Ilya Sheyman of Waukegan, businessmen Brad Schneider of Deerfield, Air Forces Reserves Col. John Tree of Long Grove and Mundelein attorney Vivek Bavda.
Chicago congressional districts were stretched out to the suburbs to make up for Chicago’s population decline. As expected, former one-term Rep. Debbie Halvorson of Crete filed a Democratic challenge to 16-year Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. in the new 2nd Congressional District.
In the new 1st District, Democratic Rep. Bobby Rush is in a four-way primary against Fred Smith of Evergreen Park and Chicagoans Jordan Sims and Clifford Russell Jr.
Blue Island Mayor Donald Peloquin filed for the 1st District Republican nomination as did Frederick Collins, a Chicago police officer who made a failed bid for Cook County sheriff last year.
The Democratic-drawn map did produce one Republican incumbent versus incumbent matchup, in the northwest and north central Illinois 16th District. Rep. Donald Manzullo, an 18-year lawmaker from Leaf River, is facing off against freshman GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Manteno.
The flurry of filings comes after a federal court panel upheld the new congressional map last week. District boundaries are redrawn every decade to reflect census population changes. But with Democrats controlling the state legislature and governor’s office, the map lines were crafted to reverse the gains made by Republicans in last year’s elections. Filing of candidacy petitions for Congress ends Tuesday.