Officially, we don’t yet have boundaries for the Illinois congressional districts that will be used for the next decade. Gov. Pat Quinn has yet to sign into law the measure that creates the boundaries that will ensure Democrats prevail across most of the state through 2022.
|DUCKWORTH: Will she finally run for office?|
Yet we have heard some speculation about people being willing to move to run in specific new districts that they technically don’t live in right now.
AND IT SEEMS we have at least one official willing to give up a job to set up the circumstances to run for office in a congressional district that technically does not exist yet. We also have a former member of Congress who seems to have the Judy Garland syndrome in thinking we "really, really love" him so much that we want him back.
For the former, we’re talking about Tammy Duckworth, who earlier this week resigned her job as assistant secretary for the Department of Veterans Affairs. She got that post when Barack Obama became president – as something of a reward for her past political efforts in Illinois.
Those efforts included her campaign in 2006 for a west suburban seat in Congress. That district leaned Republican, but Duckworth was the Democratic challenger who wound up coming close to actually winning. Instead, we got (and still have) the concept of Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill.
It has always been believed among Illinois political observers that the campaign put the taste of electoral office in Duckworth, and that she would someday run for something else.
THAT IS WHAT has the Chicago Tribune reporting about speculation that Duckworth’s resignation from her job is about allowing her to have the time to spend campaigning for office – specifically, a seat in Congress.
Not that she would take on Roskam again. The newspaper had her running for a new congressional district that, as of now, has no incumbents living within its boundaries.
Which would mean that, for now, she’d be unopposed. Although I expect the Republican Party would come up with someone to challenge the suburban Hoffman Estates resident.
And there may well be a Democrat or two who decide that it would be worth their while to set themselves up within what is proposed to be the Illinois Eighth Congressional District.
BUT FOR TODAY, at least, Duckworth is the front-runner for a congressional district that technically does not yet exist.
Now assuming that Duckworth actually runs for Congress (which isn’t a sure thing, since she has considered – and rejected – past bids for U.S. senate and Illinois lieutenant governor), it could be an interesting sequel to her most prominent campaign of the past.
That was the one in which Duckworth emphasized her life story (an Iraq conflict veteran who lost her legs when the helicopter she was piloting was shot down) in an attempt to try to make it appear that people with a comprehension of the military and its ways were not restricted to the Republican Party.
It didn’t quite work in ’06 when she ran against Roskam in the DuPage County-based Illinois Sixth Congressional District (the one represented for many years by Henry Hyde). Roskam held onto enough people who knee-jerk voted Republican out of habit in order to win the election.
BUT IF SHE doesn’t have an incumbent to run against this time, it could make it very possible that we (finally) get the concept of “Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill.” – representing a northwestern Cook and DuPage county district, with a little stretch pushing into Lake County.
Because at least now she’s giving up that post that was providing her with an income – even though the Tribune reports that it is not set yet when her last day on the job will be.
But she still has a long life ahead of her, which makes it seem unlikely that she is finished up in public life. It may be purely my gut feeling, but I sense this will be the time she decides to actually run for an office (rather than fall back on whatever state or federal Veterans Affairs post she happened to hold during an election cycle).
Whether former Rep. Bill Foster ought to be equally as enthused about his chances is also something to be studied.
BECAUSE IT SEEMS that Foster got his chances bolstered on Tuesday when his most likely opponent decided to back away from running for office in a Congressional district (the Illinois 11th) that doesn't technically exist yet.
Foster is the Democrat who managed to take the seat held by former House Speaker Denny Hastert back in 2008 (the year of Barack Obama), only to lose it two years later (the year of the Tea Party nitwits).
Of course, it also helped Foster in winning that Congressional seat that he was running against James Oberweis -- who when he isn't involved with a locally-prominent dairy company comes across as the type of person only a Tea Party type could take seriously.
But this particular district is another one that was drawn in ways to hinder the desires of those voters on the fringe of the Chicago metro area who would prefer to remain separate -- and are having trouble accepting that Chicagoland truly is spreading to include their turfs.