Despite a federal judge’s ruling, some Republican congressional candidates are opting not to collect candidacy signatures until a judge rules on a challenge to new political maps.
Area Democrats, though, will take advantage of a ruling that will allow activists to collect signatures starting Sept. 6. Kim Savage, chair woman of the Downers Grove Township Democratic Organization, said workers will begin gathering signatures in two of the three districts included in the township.
“Our members will be working with Bill Foster in his district and Mike Quigley in Hinsdale. So far no one has requested help in the 6th Congressional District,” Savage said in an email.
On Monday a federal judge ruled that 2012 congressional candidates can begin collecting candidacy signatures after Labor Day despite a pending lawsuit filed by Republicans that challenges the Democrats’ redrawing of the state’s U.S. House district boundaries.
Earlier this month the GOP delegation in federal court to counter the map that diminishes Republican gains in the 2010 election. In a joint statement, GOP officials said their map version respects “both constitutional and democratic principles.”
“The Fair Map specifically addresses the problems with the Democrats’ map by providing a second district for the state’s growing Latino population, creating district lines that satisfy the tests for compactness, and protecting communities of interest by keeping them wholly within individual districts,” the Republican delegation said in a joint statement.
“It’s best not to talk about that while the case is pending in court,” Roskam said Tuesday after speaking to a joint Chamber of Commerce meeting.
Biggert, of Hinsdale, currently represents much of Downers Grove. However, the new maps carve her district up five ways. Biggert’s home address was drawn into the 5th Congressional District, which is currently represented by Mike Quigley, a Democrat. That district stretches into the city, which typically votes Democrat.
The bulk of Downers residents will now find themselves in the 6th Congressional District, which is represented by Peter Roskam, a Wheaton Republican. Roskam's district remains a strong Republican base under the original map.
Despite the strength of his new district, Roskam said he is confident the judge will rule in the favor of the Republican complainants.
Every 10 years the legislative political lines must be redrawn to account for population shifts recorded in the U.S. Census. Legislative leaders in Springfield are tasked with drawing lines for both chambers of the General Assembly as well as Congressional lines.
When the original map was passed, Republican House members castigated the plan, saying the proposed map “carves up towns and communities with little regard to the values and beliefs of the people who live there.”
Primaries are scheduled for March 2012. Republicans took an 11-8 majority in the congressional delegation following the 2010 election, however due to a population decline Illinois will lose one seat.
Under the order of U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow, if the congressional boundaries are subsequently changed by the actions of the Republican lawsuit, the signatures of those people who find themselves in a different district will still be valid, the Chicago Tribune reported.