Republicans claim national Democrats tainted Illinois legislative maps

Republicans trying to block a Democratic-drawn congressional redistricting map have told a federal court panel that documents show a concerted effort from Springfield to Washington to “get more Democratic pick-ups” at the expense of GOP members in the Illinois delegation.

Republicans are using the documents involving the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the staffs of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and Illinois Senate President John Cullerton of Chicago, and others to bolster their contention that the new map is unconstitutional because it is politically gerrymandered and dilutes Latino representation.

In the request for a permanent injunction, filed late Friday night with a three-judge federal court panel, Republicans cite correspondence in which Ian Russell, the DCCC’s Midwest political director, thanks a member of Cullerton’s staff for guidance on how to “advance our goal — more Democratic pick-ups.”

A DCCC memo to Cullerton proposes ways to link GOP-leaning downstate areas to Democratic-dominated areas as part of an effort to increase “our odds of making at least one and probably two downstate seats part of a durable majority in the delegation.”

A “critical part of the remapping process is altering the districts of incumbent Republicans to complicate their paths back to Washington,” said the DCCC memo, which the GOP obtained as part of a court-ordered discovery process.

Illinois’ Democratic-controlled state government redrew the state’s congressional and legislative boundaries following the results of the 2010 federal Census.

Since Republican input was unnecessary, Democrats used their mapmaking power to force several GOP incumbents to compete against each other next year.

Republicanscontend Democrats want to reverse last year’s mid-term elections that gave the GOP an 11-8 majority in the congressional delegation. The new map is expected to create a 12-6 Democratic majority in the delegation. Illinois lost one congressional seat in redistricting.

Trying to get a court to reverse a map based on political decisions has historically been difficult.