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 Districts 10-18, including Republican-heavy downstate districts. The other article focuses on the Democratic-heavy first nine districts.

Illinois’ 10th Congressional District

Incumbent: Brad Schneider (Democratic, second term)

Partisan Lean: D+10

2018 Results:

Candidate Votes %
Brad Schneider (D) 156,540 65.59
Douglas Benneett (R) 82,124 34.41

2016 Results:

Candidate Votes %
Brad Schneider (D) 150,435 52.6
Bob Dold (R) 135,535 47.4

Republican Candidate:

Valerie Ramirez Mukherjee (campaign website)

Mukherjee is running a fascinating campaign, trying to become the leader of a new wave of younger Republican women. She is not focusing on Trump or general Republican issues, but she’s moving for new paths in Democratic-heavy Illinois. This is a pretty safe Democratic district now, so it’s unlikely that Mukherjee could win it, but how close she comes could signal a new direction for Republicans.

Democratic Candidate:

Brad Schneider (campaign website)

Schneider bills himself as a progressive, but he is very clearly a moderate Democrat. He touts his bipartisan record and is in favor of working with the Affordable Care Act rather than moving towards a Medicare for All system. He should be safe in this safe Democratic district.

Illinois’ 11th Congressional District

Incumbent: Bill Foster (Democratic, fourth term)

Partisan Lean: D+9

2018 Results:

Candidate Votes %
Bill Foster (D) 145,407 63.84
Nick Stella (R) 82,358 36.16

2016 Results:

Candidate Votes %
Bill Foster (D) 165,578 60.45
Tonia Khouri (R) 108,995 39.55

Republican Candidate:

Rick Laib (campaign website)

Laib is a limited government conservative who takes his political inspiration from Newt Gingrich. He is not spending or campaigning too heavily in this strong Democratic district.

Democratic Candidate:

Bill Foster (campaign website)

Foster is a partisan Democrat who holds this safe district. He generally supports the policies from the Obama-Biden era, and does not at all borrow the rhetoric of the party’s progressive camp.

Illinois’ 12th Congressional District

Incumbent: Mike Bost (Republican, third term)

Partisan Lean: R+5

2018 Results:

Candidate Votes %
Mike Bost (R) 134,884 51.57
Brendan Kelly (D) 118,724 45.39
Randall Auxier (G) 7,935 3.03

2016 Results:

Candidate Votes %
Mike Bost (R) 169,976 54.31
C.J. Baricevic (D) 124,246 39.7
Paula Bradshaw (G) 18,780 6.0

Republican Candidate:

Mike Bost (campaign website)

Bost is a relatively conservative Republican campaigning on local issues. He wants to defend continued use of coal in a district that relies on it, and advocates free market solutions to issues like healthcare.

Democratic Candidate:

Ray Lenzi (campaign website)

Lenzi is a former coal miner whose campaign platform is centered on fighting climate change. He has several other very liberal positions, but climate issues are the main thrust of the campaign. He is spending a fair amount in a race that is generally considered safe for Republicans, though it’s worth noting that Bost only won by six points in 2018. There is also no Green Party candidate in the race this year, which is in Lenzi’s favor.

Illinois’ 13th Congressional District

Incumbent: Rodney Davis (Republican, fourth term)

Partisan Lean: R+3

2018 Results:

Candidate Votes %
Rodney Davis (R) 136,516 50.38
Betsy Londrigan (D) 134,458 49.62

2016 Results:

Candidate Votes %
Rodney Davis (R) 187,583 59.67
Mark Wicklund (D) 126,811 40.33

Republican Candidate:

Rodney Davis (campaign website)

Davis was almost voted out in 2018, and his general campaign of running on the Republican success with the economy over the past few years might fall short given the economic effects of COVID-19.

Democratic Candidate:

Betsy Londrigan (campaign website)

Londrigan is back for a second shot at this seat, and her campaign is taking shots at Republican issues across the board. It almost worked in 2018, and if current polling nationally is any indication, it could definitely do better this year. She is well-funded and spending freely. If this campaign hinges on how the district feels about Republican governance in general, Londrigan has to feel she has a good chance to flip it.

Illinois’ 14th Congressional District

Incumbent: Lauren Underwood (Democratic, first term)

Partisan Lean: R+5

2018 Results:

Candidate Votes %
Lauren Underwood (D) 156,035 52.5
Randy Hultgren (R) 141,164 47.5

2016 Results:

Candidate Votes %
Randy Hultgren (R) 200,508 59.31
Jim Walz (D) 137,589 40.69

Republican Candidate:

Jim Oberweis (campaign website)

Oberweis is a State Senator trying to move up to the U.S. House to win back this seat that Underwood flipped two years ago. Oberweis is running a conservative campaign, discussing the dangers of Socialism and the necessity for free-market solutions to issues like healthcare. It’s an interesting campaign (and choice by primary voters) in a relatively close district, though it does generally lean right.

Democratic Candidate:

Lauren Underwood (campaign website)

Underwood is a moderate Democrat who flipped this seat two years ago. She has a huge war chest available, which she might need to fight off a well-funded challenger. It’s also worth noting that most independent ratings don’t even currently have this race as a toss-up.

Illinois’ 15th Congressional District

Incumbent: John Shimkus (Republican, 12th term)

Partisan Lean: R+21

2018 Results:

Candidate Votes %
John Shimkus (R) 181,294 70.93
Kevin Gaither (D) 74,309 29.07

 

2016 Results:

Candidate Votes %
John Shimkus (R) 274,554 100

Republican Candidate:

Mary Miller (campaign website)

Miller is looking to take over from Shimkus in this heavily red district and to become another Republican woman in Congress. She is very conservative, focusing on issues like gun rights, abortion, and fighting the far left.

Democratic Candidate:

Erika Weaver (campaign website)

Weaver does not seem to be actively campaigning too hard, which makes sense in this Republican district. She is running a relatively moderate Democratic campaign.

Illinois’ 16th Congressional District

Incumbent: Adam Kinziger (Republican, fifth term)

Partisan Lean: R+8

2018 Results:

Candidate Votes %
Adam Kinziger (R) 151,254 59.12
Sara Dady (D) 104,569 40.88

 

2016 Results:

Candidate Votes %
Adam Kinziger (R) 259,722 99.95

Republican Candidate:

Adam Kinziger (campaign website)

Kinziger is a relatively popular Congressman in this district, who is focusing on his district, his record, and on pushing back against China in response to COVID-19.

Democratic Candidate:

Dani Brzozowski (campaign website)

Brzozowski is a progressive Democrat who defines her campaign platform as one of achieving “justice” on multiple issues. It’s an interesting tactic to take in a district that could theoretically become close with the right campaign. We’ll see based on this campaign how much potential these types of campaigns have.

Illinois’ 17th Congressional District

Incumbent: Cheri Bustos (Democratic, fourth term)

Partisan Lean: D+3

2018 Results:

Candidate Votes %
Cheri Bustos (D) 142,659 62.09
Bill Fawell (R) 87,090 37.91

2016 Results:

Candidate Votes %
Cheri Bustos (D) 173,125 60.31
Patrick Harlan (R) 113,943 39.69

Republican Candidate:

Esther Joy King (campaign website)

King grew up as a missionary with her family, and has made that history central to her campaign. She is running a relatively conservative campaign on most issues, though she is pretty moderate on guns and healthcare. She is spending serious money in a race that should be tough to win, though her opponent is better funded.

Democratic Candidate:

Cheri Bustos (campaign website)

Bustos is a popular Democrat who has gained some acclaim for her statements against actions of President Trump. She is running on a relatively moderate Democratic campaign other than the vocal anti-Trump notes.

Illinois’ 18th Congressional District

Incumbent: Darin LaHood (Republican, second term)

Partisan Lean: R+15

2018 Results:

Candidate Votes %
Darin LaHood (R) 195,927 67.23
Junius Rodriguez (D) 95,486 32.77

2016 Results:

Candidate Votes %
Darin LaHood (R) 250,506 72.13
Junius Rodriguez (D) 96,770 27.87

Republican Candidate:

Darin LaHood (campaign website)

LaHood is a conservative Republican running on free market healthcare solutions as well as limiting government spending, and standard Republican positions on jobs and the economy.

Democratic Candidate:

George Petrilli

Petrilli does not yet seem to be actively campaigning and does yet seem to have a campaign website. He did tell a local news outlet that he will announce more about his campaign soon, though.

Overview

Republicans have five of these nine seats, and several of these races could be very tight in November. This half of Illinois is an area to watch in November.

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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