Illinois Primaries: Who’s running for congress in each district

By Matt Troher, Interim Features Editor

Prior to the 2022 midterm elections, Illinois’ 18 congressional districts were represented by 13 Democrats and five Republicans. As the state lost a district to redistricting due to a shrinking population compared to other states, Illinois residents are voting to determine their next 17 representatives.

1st District

Redistricting: Illinois’ first congressional district stretches from Chicago — encompassing the city’s Douglass, Chatham and Kenwood neighborhoods — all the way out to Joliet.

Situation: Bobby Rush, the district’s Democrat incumbent since 1993, announced his retirement at the beginning of the year. As a result, 17 Democrats threw their hats into the ring in a bid to represent the heavily Democratic district. Still, four Republicans are running in their party’s primary as well. Former committeewoman for Chicago’s 7th Ward Philanise White is the only Republican candidate with elected experience. White also ran for the district’s congressional seat in 2020, where she lost to Rush with 26.2% of the vote.

Democratic Primary:

  • Kirby Birgans, a teacher
  • Chris Butler, a pastor
  • Jahmal Cole, founder and CEO of My Block My Hood My City, a youth mentorship program
  • Jacqueline Collins, member of the Illinois State Senate
  • Steven DeJoie, a banking professional
  • Pat Dowell, a member of the Chicago City Council
  • Cassandra Goodrum, a professor
  • Jonathan Jackson, a businessman and son of political activist Jesse Jackson
  • Terre Layng Rosner, a professor
  • Marcus Lewis, a former mailman and ordained Apostolic Pentecostal Minister
  • Karin Norington-Reaves, a litigator
  • Ameena Nuur Matthews, a doctor and violence interrupter
  • Robert Palmer, a real estate broker
  • Nykea Pippion McGriff, former political coordinator for Representative Bobby Rush
  • Jonathan Swain, an entrepreneur and small business owner
  • Michael Thompson, a former public school teacher and businessman
  • Charise Williams, former deputy director and chief of staff for the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority

Republican Primary:

  • Eric Carlson, nonprofit director
  • Jeff Regnier, a business owner
  • Philanise White, former committeewoman for Chicago’s 7th Ward
  • Geno Young, a percussionist

2nd District

Redistricting: Prior to redistricting, Illinois’ second congressional district encompassed part of Chicago’s south side — including the city’s Pullman and Windsor Park neighborhoods — stretching south through the suburbs to Kankakee and Bourbonnais. After redistricting, the district still encompasses the same parts of Chicago and Kankakee but leaves out Bourbonnais. Instead, the district stretches south to Danville. Most of the district’s new land is rural farmland.

Situation: Incumbent representative Robin Kelly, a Democrat from Matteson, is running unopposed in her primary for a fifth consecutive term, having been first elected to the House in 2013. Kelly was elected as chair of the Illinois Democratic Party in 2021 and serves as the vice chair of the United States House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Three Republicans are running in their party’s primary. Of the three Republicans, Shane Cultra is the only with previous political experience, having been elected to the Illinois House of Representative and Illinois State Senate

Democratic Primary:

  • Robin Kelly, incumbent representative

Republican Primary:

  • Shane Cultra, former State Senator and State Representative
  • Thomas Lynch, a meat and poultry inspector with the U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Ashley Ramos, an e-commerce specialist

3rd District

Redistricting: Illinois’ third congressional district has been completely redrawn during the redistricting process. Formerly stretching westward from Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood through the suburbs — encompassing Lockport, Homer Glen and Oak Lawn — the district has shifted north to stretch from Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood through the city’s northwest suburbs, encompassing Bensenville, Addison and Wheaton.

Situation: The district was formerly represented by Democrat Marie Newman. After redistricting, Newman’s residence fell outside the district, leaving the primaries to be contested by newcomers. Four Democrats are running in their party’s primary, two of which having previous elected experience — Illinois State Representative Delia Ramirez, and Chicago City Councilman Gilbert Villegas. Villegas leads the primary in terms of fundraising, raising nearly twice as much as Ramirez, the next closest candidate. Justin Burau, a businessman from Wheaton, is running unopposed in the Republican primary.

Democrats:

  • Juan Aguirre, a Masters of Public Health student at DePaul University
  • Iymen Chehade, a history teacher at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Columbia College Chicago
  • Delia Ramirez, Illinois State Representative
  • Gilbert Villegas, Chicago City Councilman

Republicans:

  • Justin Burau, businessman and realtor

4th District

Redistricting: Illinois’ fourth congressional district has long been known as one of the most gerrymandered congressional districts in the country, at parts only running across a singular highway. The district was purportedly gerrymandered to encompass two parts of Chicago’s Hispanic population — including the city’s Pilsen and Logan Square neighborhoods — thus nearly ensuring a Hispanic congressional representative. The redrawn district is slightly more compact, still encompassing large portions of Chicago’s Hispanic population such as the city’s Pilsen neighborhood, but also including parts of LaGrange, Melrose Park and Cicero.

Situation: The district is currently represented by Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, who is running unopposed in his primary for a third term, having been first elected in 2018. Garcia formerly served on the Chicago City Council, the Illinois State Senate and the Cook County Board of Commissioners. Garcia notably ran for Mayor of Chicago, losing in the runoff election to incumbent Rahm Emmanuel. According to campaign filings, James Falakos is running unopposed in the Republican primary. Falakos does not have a campaign website and has not made any media appearances pertaining to his run for congress.

Democrats:

  • Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, current representative

Republicans:

  • James Falakos, a small-business owner

5th District

Redistricting: The majority of the fifth district has remained the same, centering on Chicago’s northside neighborhoods of Lincoln Park, Lakeview and Edgebrook. However, new territory encompassed by the district following redistricting includes northern suburbs such as Barrington, Lake Zurich and Mount Prospect.

Situation: Incumbent Democratic representative Mike Quigley is running for reelection, seeking a seventh term. Quigley, who serves as the chair for the United States House Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, is running unopposed in the Democratic primary. Two Republicans are running in their party’s primary — Tom Hanson, a realtor, and Malgorzata McGonigal, an automotive industry worker and Polish immigrant. Hanson won the past two Republican primaries in the district, losing to Quigley with 26.6% of the vote in 2020.

Democrats:

  • Mike Quigley

Republicans:

  • Tom Hanson, a realtor and previous Republican candidate
  • Malgorzata McGonigal, automotive industry specialist and Polish immigrant

6th District

Redistricting: Illinois’ sixth congressional district centers on the western suburbs. Prior to redistricting, this included parts of Naperville, Downers Grove, Wheaton, Barrington and Lake Zurich. Still in the suburbs but shifted partially south, the district still encompasses parts of Downers Grove and Wheaton, but also contains parts of La Grange, Darien and Orland Park. Notably, the district does not contain any part of Naperville anymore.

Situation: Due to redistricting, the sixth district’s Democratic primary will be contested by two incumbents. Sean Casten, the incumbent representative for the sixth district from Downers Grove, will be challenged by Marie Newman, the incumbent representative for the third district. Newman, who resides in La Grange, decided to run for reelection in the new district, redrawn to encompass her house, rather than move back to the third district. Casten, whose platform centers on fighting climate change, has out-fundraised Newman, whose platform centers on labor rights, by a 2-to-1 margin. Charles Hughes, an operation mechanic, is also running in the district’s Democratic primary. Six Republicans are running in their party’s primary. Historically, the sixth district has been a swing district, having been represented by a Republican until 2018. Recent elections in the district have been close, with Casten winning the 2020 election with 52.8% of the vote.

Democrats:

  • Sean Casten, incumbent representative for the sixth district
  • Marie Newman, incumbent representative for the third district
  • Charles Hughes, an operation mechanic

Republicans:

  • Niki Conforti, a healthcare worker
  • Rob Cruz, an Oak Lawn Community High School District 229 board member and cancer survivor activist
  • Gary Grasso, former Mayor of Burr Ridge and former member of the DuPage County Board
  • Scott Kaspar, an attorney and University of Illinois graduate
  • Catherine O’Shea, a small business owner
  • Keith Pekau, former Mayor of Orland Park

7th District

Redistricting: Illinois’s seventh district is the first district to remain largely unchanged, centering on Chicago’s loop and covering much of the city’s coastline. The district also stretches west and covers the western suburbs of Oak Park and Bellwood.

Situation: Incumbent Danny Davis, who has served as the seventh district’s representative since 1997, is seeking a 14th term in office. He is being opposed by two challengers in the Democratic primary — Kina Collins, a gun violence activist from Chicago, and Denarvis Mendenhall, a former U.S. Air Force member. Davis, who has also served on the Chicago City Council and the Cook County Board of Commissioners, has been named by multiple sources as one of the most reliable Democratic votes in congress. However, Collins has out-fundraised Davis by $70,000. No candidates are running in the Republican primary, as no Republican has gotten more than 16% of the votes in the district’s general election during the past ten years.

Democrats:

  • Danny Davis, incumbent representative
  • Kina Collins, activist
  • Denarvis Mendenhall, former U.S Air Force member

Republicans:

  • N/A

8th District

Redistricting: Similarly to the seventh district, Illinois’ eighth congressional district remains largely unchanged from the redistricting process. The population epicenter of the district is Elgin, the seventh-largest city in Illinois. The district also contains Schaumberg, Bloomingdale and parts of Buffalo Grove. One notable change to the district is that the district’s western edge stretched further south, now containing parts of St. Charles and Geneva.

Situation: Illinois’s eighth district is represented by incumbent Raja Krishnamoorthi, who has held the seat since 2017. Krishnamoorthi, who is seeking a fourth term, is challenged by Junaid Ahmed, an IT consultant. Krishnamoorthi has out-fundraised Ahmed by a 7-to-1 margin, having raised over $5.5 million throughout his campaign. Five Republicans are running in their party’s primary, although a Republican has not won the district’s general election since 2010.

Democrats:

  • Raja Krishnamoorthi, incumbent representative
  • Junaid Ahmed, an IT consultant

Republicans

  • Chris Dargis, former Chief Ecommerce Officer at Pizza Hut and retired U.S. Navy Officer
  • Karen Kolodziej, a U.S. post office worker
  • Chad Koppie, a member of the Kane County Regional Board of Schools
  • Peter Kopsaftis, a Greek immigrant and business owner
  • Phillip Wood, a DuPage County Health Department worker and former pastor

9th District

Redistricting: Illinois’s ninth district stretches from Chicago — encompassing the city’s Uptown and Edgewater neighborhoods — to the city’s northwest suburbs, including Skokie, Niles and parts of Arlington Heights. The redrawn district stretches even further northwest, including parts of Buffalo Grove, Wauconda and Cary. Most of the district’s new territory is sparsely populated compared to the district’s previous iteration.

Situation: Illinois’s ninth district is represented by incumbent Jan Schakowsky, who is seeking a 12th term as the district’s representative. Schakowsky is running unopposed in the district’s Democratic primary. Schakowsky, a University of Illinois graduate, is the chair of the United States House Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce. Max Rice, an energy consultant, is the sole Republican running in his party’s primary. Illinois’ ninth district is one of the most reliably Democratic districts in the state, having been held by a Democrat since 1949. Schakowsky won reelection in 2020 with 71% of the vote.

Democrats:

  • Jan Schakowsky, incumbent representative

Republicans:

  • Max Rice, an energy consultant

10th District

Redistricting: The population center of Illinois’s tenth congressional district is Waukegan, both before and after redistricting. The district’s current iteration spans most of Illinois’ north coastline, ending at the Wisconsin border. The district then stretches west to Hebron. Most of the district’s northern territory is relatively sparsely populated. The only area lost from the district’s previous iteration is parts of the suburb of Des Plaines.

Situation: Illinois’ 10th district is represented by incumbent Brad Schneider, a Democrat who has represented the district since 2017. Schneider is running unopposed in his party’s primary. Joseph Severino, a small business owner, is the Republican’s sole candidate in their party’s primary, running on a platform of putting “parents back in charge of the schools.” Schneider, who has raised over $2.2 million this campaign cycle, won the district’s 2020 election with 63.9% of the vote.

Democrats:

  • Brad Schnider, incumbent representative

Republicans:

  • Joseph Severino, a small business owner

11th District

Redistricting: Illinois’ 11th district formerly encompassed parts of Aurora and Joliet, a relatively compact district spread between the state’s second and fourth most populous cities. After redistricting, the district no longer contains Joliet, and instead spans north from Aurora and Naperville, to rural towns such as Burlington, Woodstock and Belvidere.

Situation: Illinois’ 11th district is represented by incumbent Bill Foster, who has represented the district since 2013. Foster, who is seeking a sixth term as representative, received a doctorate in physics from Harvard University, and formerly worked as a high-energy physicist and particle accelerator designer at Fermilab. Now that the district is less urban and more geographically spread out, six Republicans have thrown their hat into the ring to take on Foster. Of the six Republicans, Catalina Lauf, a former advisor to the U.S. Department of Commerce, has fundraised the most, garnering over $1.2 million in donations, 10 times the amount of her nearest challenger, Jerry Evans, a small business owner.

Democrats:

  • Bill Foster, incumbent representative

Republicans:

  • Mark Carroll, an attorney
  • Jerry Evans, a small business owner and Christian musician
  • Susan Hathaway-Altman, a business development specialist
  • Andrea Heeg, a marketing representative and adjunct professor
  • Catalina Lauf, a former advisor to the U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Cassandra Tanner Miller, a domestic violence prevention activist

12th District

Redistricting: Illinois’s 12th district is the state’s downstate district. Prior to redistricting, the district spanned from East Saint Louis to Carbondale, ending roughly halfway across the state’s southern border. Now, in an attempt to consolidate the Republican vote, the redrawn district stretches from the state’s western border to the state’s eastern border. Leaving out East Saint Louis, Carbondale is the largest metropolitan area within the district. The majority of the district is rural farmland.

Situation: Illinois’ 12th district is represented by incumbent Mike Bost, a Republican who has represented the district since 2015. Prior to his election to Congress, Bost represented the state’s 115th district in the Illinois House of Representatives. Seeking a fifth term, Bost serves as a ranking member of the United States House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. Two Democrats are running in their party’s primary — Homer Markel, a former U.S. Navy Member, and Joshua Qualls, a private contractor — neither of whom have previous elected political experience. Bost won reelection in 2020 with 60.4% of the vote, and many analysts project the district to lean even further Republican due to redistricting.

Democrats:

  • Homer Markel, a former U.S. Navy service member
  • Joshua Qualls, a private contractor

Republicans:

  • Mike Bost, incumbent representative

13th District

Redistricting: Prior to redistricting, Illinois’ 13th congressional district encompassed the college towns of Champaign-Urbana and Bloomington-Normal, as well as Springfield and Decatur. Still, the majority of the district’s land was rural farming towns such as Taylorville, Monticello and Hillsboro. After the redistricting process, the 13th district resembles a boomerang, curving from Champaign-Urbana across the state to East Saint Louis. No longer reaching Bloomington-Normal nor the majority of Decatur, the district’s new territory in East Saint Louis has led political analysts to project a Democratic shift.

Situation: Illinois’ 13th district is represented by incumbent Rodney Davis, who has held the seat since 2012. Since the district’s new iteration heavily favors a Democrat candidate, Davis opted to move and run in the newly formed 15th district, leaving the 13th to be contested by two Democrats and four Republicans. In the Democratic primary, Nikki Budzinski, a senior advisor to Governor J.B. Pritzker, is running against David Palmer, a former professional basketball player. Budzinski has out-fundraised Palmer by a nearly 10-to-1 margin, garnering over $1.4 million in donations. Of the four Republicans running in their party’s primary, Jesse Reising, a lawyer and former college football player at Yale University, currently leads fundraising — garnering over $300,000 in donations.

Democrats:

  • Nikki Budzinski, senior advisor to Governor J.B. Pritzker on labor issues
  • David Palmer, former professional basketball player

Republicans:

  • Regan Deering, an educator and small business owner
  • Matt Hausman, an aerospace engineer and University of Illinois graduate
  • Terry Martin, a former journalist
  • Jesse Reising, a lawyer and former college football player

 

14th District

Redistricting: Prior to redistricting, Illinois’ 14th congressional district stretched north from the outskirts of Naperville and Aurora to the Wisconsin border, encompassing suburbs such as Plainfield, Batavia, St. Charles and Crystal Lake. Now, the fourteenth district is more compact, encompassing Joliet and parts of Aurora, and extending southwest toward Ottawa and terminating at the Illinois River.

Situation: Illinois’ 14th district is represented by incumbent Democrat Lauren Underwood, who has represented the district since 2019. Underwood is running unopposed in the Democratic primary, seeking a third term as the district’s representative. Although the redistricting process favored Democrats, drawing in the urban population of Joliet into the district, the fourteenth district is still considered one of Illinois’ swing districts, with Underwood winning reelection in 2020 with only 50.7% of the vote. Thus, five Republicans are seeking their party’s nomination in the Republican primary. Of the Republicans, Mike Koolidge, a radio personality, leads fundraising by a narrow margin, having garnered over $150,000 in donations, roughly $20,000 more than his nearest competitor, Jack Lombardi II, an entrepreneur.

Democrats:

  • Lauren Underwood, incumbent representative

Republicans:

  • Scott Gryder, chairman of the Kendall County Board.
  • Mike Koolidge, a radio personality
  • Jack Lombardi II, entrepreneur and business owner
  • James Marter, Republican chairman for Kendall County
  • Jaime Milton, a manufacturing industry specialist

 

15th District

Redistricting: Prior to the redistricting process, Illinois’ 15th district spanned across the eastern edge of the state, drawn in such a way to carve around large urban populations. The district ran around Champaign-Urbana, East Saint Louis and Carbondale. Following a similar pattern in a different place, the new fifteenth district runs across the center of the state, bending around Champaign-Urbana, Springfield, Edwardsville and East Saint Louis.

Situation: Illinois’ 15th congressional district is represented by incumbent Mary Miller. Miller is challenged by Rodney Davis, the incumbent representative for the state’s 13th district, who moved to the newly drawn 15th district as his previous district was redrawn to favor the Democrats. Illinois’ 15th district is one of the most Republican districts in the state. No Democrat has represented the district since 1977, with Miller winning the election in 2020 with 73.45% of the vote. Thus, only one Democrat is running in their party’s primary — Paul Lange, a commodity broker. Despite having recently moved to the district, Davis has out-fundraised Miller by over a 2-to-1 margin, raising over $2.7 million.

Davis and Miller resemble a rift in the Republican party. Davis, a career politician whose resume includes four years’ experience as a staff assistant to the Illinois Secretary of State and a stint as the executive director of the Illinois Republican Party in 2011, is a moderate Republican, voting across party lines more often than his Republican colleagues. Miller, who had no previous political experience prior to winning the district’s election in 2020, sits on the far-right wing of the Republican party. During her first term in office, Miller objected to the votes of Arizona and Pennsylvania for the 2020 election, was one of 14 republicans who voted against a measure condemning the Myanmar coup d’état, and was one of 21 Republicans who voted against a resolution to give the Congressional Gold Medal to police officers who defended the U.S. Capitol during the January 6 insurrection. Miller also made headlines for a controversial speech she gave on January 5, 2021, in the lead-up to the capital insurrection, during which she quoted Adolf Hitler.

Democrats:

  • Paul Lange, a comedy broker

Republicans:

  • Rodney Davis, incumbent representative for Illinois’ 13th congressional district
  • Mary Miller, incumber representative

 

16th District

Redistricting: Illinois’ 16th congressional district remained relatively unchanged during the redistricting process. While the district’s borders have changed, spanning from central Illinois to the state’s northern border, the main centers of population remain unchanged. Similar to the 15th district, Illinois’ 16th congressional district surrounds the metro areas of Peoria, Bloomington-Normal and Rockford. Instead, the district encompasses the middling rural counties and suburbs.

Situation: Illinois’ 16th congressional district is represented by incumbent Republican Adam Kinzinger, who will not be seeking reelection. Kinzinger, who has represented the district since 2013, made headlines as an anti-Trump Republican, becoming one of the 10 Republican representatives to vote to impeach the president in 2021, and was one of only two Republicans to vote to create a select committee to investigate the 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Four Republicans are running in their party’s primary to replace Kinzinger, including incumbent representative for Illinois’ 18th district, Darin LaHood. LaHood’s district was dissolved during the redistricting process, leading him to run in the newly formed 16th district. LaHood has out-fundraised his Republican challengers by a wide margin, raising over $2.6 million. The nearest challenger, Michael Rebresh, a truck driver, has raised just over $14,000. There are no Democrats running in their party’s primary.

Democrats:

  • N/A

Republicans:

  • Darin LaHood, incumbent representative for the 18th district
  • JoAnne Guillemette, an attorney
  • Walt Peters, an aerospace engineer and executive manager
  • Michael Rebresh, a truck driver

17th District

Redistricting: Illinois’ 17th district has remained largely unchanged, with the exception of the addition of Bloomington-Normal to the district’s boundaries. Now, in addition to Bloomington-Normal, the district encompasses Peoria, Rockford, Macomb and Galesburg, along with more rural counties along the Mississippi River.

Situation: Illinois’ 17th district is represented by incumbent Cheri Bustos, who has represented the district since 2013. In April, 2021, Bustos announced she would not seek reelection. Six Democrats, along with two Republicans, are seeking their party’s nomination for the district’s general election. Among the Democrats, two have had previous elected political experience — Litesa Wallace, who served three terms in the Illinois State House of Representatives, and Jonathan Logemann, who has served on the Rockford City Council since 2017. However, Eric Sornsen, a meteorologist, leads fundraising among the Democratic candidates, having raised over $300,000. Among the Republicans, Esther Joy King, a lawyer and former U.S. Army Reserves Captain, leads fundraising by a wide margin, having raised over $2.4 million. King won the Republican primary in 2020, losing to Bustos in the general election with 48% of the vote.

Democrats:

  • Jonathan Logemann, a Rockford city councilor, Illinois Army National Guardsman, and a high school teacher
  • Jacqueline McGowan, a cannabis policy advisor
  • Angie Normoyle, a college professor
  • Eric Sorensen, a meteorologist
  • Litesa Wallace, former member of the Illinois State House of Representatives
  • Marsha Williams, an admissions advisor

Republicans:

  • Charlie Helmick, a small business owner
  • Esther Joy King, a lawyer and former U.S. Army Reserves Captain

 

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