Those four congressional seats the Democrats lost in the 2010 elections? The party will get them all back next year, predicts Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball, a political forecasting website run by the University of Virginia professor and election expert.
Thanks to a new congressional map that’s been called one of the most partisan gerrymanders in modern history, all four lost seats are likely to have a Democratic representative in the next Congress, Sabato says. And another longtime Republican seat is a toss-up. Here are his predictions:
8th District: Currently represented by Rep. Joe Walsh, who has decided to seek the Republican nomination in the 14-th District, this is an open seat. The Democratic primary is a contest between Tammy Duckworth and Raja Krishamoorthi. One of those two will be the next congressman, says Sabato, who rates this district “Likely Democratic.”
10th District: Rep. Bob Dold was drawn out of this North Shore district, but plans to run anyway. He won’t be favored. According to the Crystal Ball, his new district “Leans Democratic.”
11th District: Another open seat, in which the representative, Adam Kinzinger, is challenging a fellow Republican congressman in another district. Former Rep. Bill Foster is the favorite in this district, which is also rated “Likely Democratic.”
13th District: Tim Johnson has represented East-Central Illinois in Congress since 2001, but his new district goes all the way from Champaign to the Mississippi River. Most of this is new territory for Johnson. As a result, the Crystal Ball calls this a “Toss-Up.”
17th District: Freshman Bobby Schilling was elected in 2010 to represent a Western Illinois district that had been gerrymandered to favor a Democrat, by reaching into Decatur and Springfield. This time, the district takes in parts of Peoria and Rockford. As a result, it is rated “Lean Democratic.”
Overall, the score is five safe Republican seats, 12 seats that are Safe, Lean or Likely Democratic, and one toss-up. If the Democrats win the House of Representatives in 2012, their victory will, like President Obama’s, have begun “as a whisper in Springfield.”
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