As we prepare for the 2020 elections, Yesh Ginsburg and Steen Kirby will give a general overview of all 435 United States House of Representatives races. This is a basic overview to introduce you to the major candidates. All Partisan Lean numbers are taken from the Cook Partisan Voting Index. We will update this page as the races progress if anything noteworthy arises.

Illinois is too large of a state to break down in one article, so we’re going to split the 18 Congressional Districts into two articles. This article will look at the Democratic-heavy first nine districts, while the other will focus on the more mixed rest of the state, including Republican-heavy downstate districts.

Illinois’ 1st Congressional District

Incumbent: Bobby Rush (Democratic, 14th term)

Partisan Lean: D+27

2018 Results:

Candidate Votes %
Bobby Rush (D) 189,560 73.51
Jimmy Lee Tillman (R) 50,960 26.49

2016 Results:

Candidate Votes %
Bobby Rush (D) 234,037 74.09
August Deuser 81,817 25.91

Republican Candidate:

Philanise White (campaign website)

White is not spending heavily on this campaign, which makes sense given this heavily partisan district. She is pushing a police-supporting platform and arguing that this district needs change.

Democratic Candidate:

Bobby Rush (campaign website)

Rush has held this seat for decades. He is one of the most consistent Democratic voices in Congress, which seems to be what this district wants.

Illinois’ 2nd Congressional District

Incumbent: Robin Kelly (Democratic, fourth term)

Partisan Lean: D+29

2018 Results:

Candidate Votes %
Robin Kelly (D) 190,684 81.06
David Merkle 44,567 18.94

2016 Results:

Candidate Votes %
Robin Kelly (D) 235,051 79.81
John Morrow 59,471 20.19

Republican Candidate:

Theresa Raborn (campaign website)

For someone running in a race they can’t win, Raborn has a very serious list of proposals. She’s a left-wing Republican that is clearly running a campaign tailored to her district. It’s impossible to know if the message is getting out, but don’t be surprised if she does a bit better than Republicans have the past few races.

Democratic Candidate:

Robin Kelly (campaign website)

Kelly is a popular Democrat in one of the bluest districts in the country. She won’t need to do much to win, and she has a decent war chest to fight if things ever get close––not that they will in this race.

Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District

Incumbent: Daniel Lipinski (Democratic, eighth term)

Partisan Lean: D+6

2018 Results:

Candidate Votes %
Daniel Lipinski (D) 163,053 73.0
Arthur Jones (R) 57,885 25.9

2016 Results:

 

Candidate Votes %
Daniel Lipinski (D) 225,320 100

Republican Candidate:

Mike Fricilone (campaign website)

Note that Fricilone’s website doesn’t appear to be working. While this district is officially only D+6, no Republican has competed in this election in years. The only reason Republicans even fielded a candidate in this race is to keep Arthur Jones––a neo-Nazi that the GOP has disavowed–from appearing on the general election ballot like he did in 2018.

Democratic Candidate:

Marie Newman (campaign website)

Newman is a progressive Democrat running on such policy planks as Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, and a national $15 minimum wage. She is a stark contrast from Lipinski, who was generally liberal but also the last remaining pro-life Democrat in Congress.

Illinois’ 4th Congressional District

Incumbent: Jesus Garcia (Democratic, first term)

Partisan Lean: D+33

2018 Results:

Candidate Votes %
Jesus Garcia (D) 143,895 86.59
Mark Lorch (R) 22,294 13.41

2016 Results:

Candidate Votes %
Luis Gutierrez (D) 171,297 100

Republican Candidate:

Jesus Solorio (campaign website)

Solorio is running a race that he can’t win, but he knows it. The purpose of this campaign is to try to get Republicans competitive again in this area of the state, and to help Republicans reach minorities, particularly hispanic voters.

Democratic Candidate:

Jesus Garcia (campaign website)

Garcia is a progressive Democrat who supports policies like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal. This race shouldn’t be close.

Illinois’ 5th Congressional District

Incumbent: Mike Quigley (Democratic, sixth term)

Partisan Lean: D+20

2018 Results:

Candidate Votes %
Mike Quigley (D) 213,992 76.66
Tommy Hanson 65,134 23.34

2016 Results:

Candidate Votes %
Mike Quigley (D) 212,842 67.84
Vince Kolber (R) 86,222 27.48
Rob Sherman (G) 14,657 4.67

Republican Candidate:

Tommy Hanson

Hanson has no campaign website that we could find. His main campaign platform is pension issues.

Democratic Candidate:

Mike Quigley (campaign website)

Quigley is a liberal Democrat and well-liked in this very safe district. The Green Party has a candidate in this election who can draw a small amount of support away, so expect a 2016-like margin rather than 2018.

Illinois’ 6th Congressional District

Incumbent: Sean Casten (Democratic, first term)

Partisan Lean: R+2

2018 Results:

Candidate Votes %
Sean Casten (D) 169,001 53.58
Peter Roskam (R) 146,445 46.42

2016 Results:

Candidate Votes %
Peter Roskam (R) 208,555 59.22
Amanda Howland (D) 143,591 40.78

Republican Candidate:

Jeanne Ives (campaign website)

Ives is a pretty conservative Republican who mostly focused on abortion and immigration in her primary. She is fundraising heavily to try to take back this district, though most independent election ratings have this seat as a tough one to flip.

Yesh’s notes: It’s noteworthy in the current climate that her campaign website has a header to help voters vote by mail.

Democratic Candidate:

Sean Casten (campaign website)

Casten is a relatively moderate Democrat who is pushing generally liberal policies, but not from the progressive wing of the party. It’s a successful standard for Democrats in even or slightly Republican suburban districts.

Illinois’ 7th Congressional District

Incumbent: Danny Davis (Democratic, 12th term)

Partisan Lean: D+38

2018 Results:

Candidate Votes %
Danny Davis (D) 215,746 87.61
Craig Cameron (R) 30,497 12.39

2016 Results:

Candidate Votes %
Danny Davis (D) 250,584 84.24
Jeffrey Leef (R) 46,882 15.76

Republican Candidate:

Craig Cameron (campaign website)

Cameron is trying again for this seat in one of the most Democratic districts in the country. He is campaigning on jobs and the economy.

Yesh’s notes: Cameron is being outspent by pro-union but otherwise-somewhat-conservative-leaning independent Tracy Jennings in this race. It will be interesting to see if Jennings can make any headway at all (Cameron got under 13% of the vote in 2018), and if he can, it could possibly show a path for independents moving forward.

Democratic Candidate:

Danny Davis (campaign website)

Davis is a consistent Democrat in one of the safest seats in the country. It would be an upset if he gets under 80%.

Illinois’ 8th Congressional District

Incumbent: Raja Krishnamoorthi (Democratic, second term)

Partisan Lean: 

2018 Results:

Candidate Votes %
Raja Krishnamoorthi (D) 130,054 65.98
Jitendra Diganvker (R) 67,073 34.02

2016 Results:

Candidate Votes %
Raja Krishnamoorthi (D) 144,954 58.31
Pete DiCianni (R) 103,617 41.69

Republican Candidate:

There is no Republican running in the general election. Libertarian Preston Nelson is running on a “Make America Healthy Again” campaign, and should earn a relatively large chunk of the Republican votes in this district.

Democratic Candidate:

Raja Krishnamoorthi (campaign website)

Krishnamoorthi is a liberal Democrat who supports moderate to liberal positions on major issues. With a huge war chest and no real opposition, there’s not much attention in this race.

Illinois’ 9th Congressional District

Incumbent: Jan Schakowsky (Democratic, 11th term)

Partisan Lean: D+18

2018 Results:

Candidate Votes %
Jan Schakowsky (D) 213,368 73.49
John Elleson (R) 76,983 26.51

2016 Results:

Candidate Votes %
Jan Schakowsky (D) 217,306 66.47
Joan Lasonde (R) 109,550 33.53

Republican Candidate:

Sargis Sangari (campaign website)

Sangari is actually spending some money in this race, a rarity for this half of Illinois.

Yesh’s notes: It’s a little sad, but the “events” section of Sangari’s website is still up, though it has been completely empty since early February.

Democratic Candidate:

Jan Schakowsky (campaign website)

Schakowski is a popular candidate in a safe district. She’s running on her own record in Congress, and without a serious campaign against her there’s no reason for her to focus too much on the campaign.

Overview

Democrats hold all nine of these seats, and it would take something pretty surprising for that to change.

Interested in the rest of our primers for other House races? We have them all listed on our primer home page.

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