It's no secret that Democrats have feasted on open Congressional
races in Northern Illinois. Both Reps. Debbie Halvorson and Bill Foster
cruised to victory in districts previously held by the GOP last year, bolstered by
changing demographics, Republican policy shifts, and ...
It's no secret that Democrats have feasted on open Congressional races in Northern Illinois. Both Reps. Debbie Halvorson and Bill Foster cruised to victory in districts previously held by the GOP last year, bolstered by changing demographics, Republican policy shifts, and Barack Obama's candidacy. While the party has had less success unseating incumbents, a few key retirements -- combined with solid challengers -- could solidify the Democratic stronghold regionally. To that end, national party leaders are signaling they plan to pressure select Republican congressmen to hang it up instead of fighting a tough reelection battle. The Hill reports:
House Democrats and Republicans alike are focused this cycle on putting pressure on certain incumbents thought to be potential retirees. Democrats are doing it because they have basically run out of viable targets. Republicans are going after Democrats with everything they’ve got and hoping an aggressive tack will pay dividends in 2010. [...]
“Republicans who haven’t fought a tough race in years may have to dust off their political operations and get ready to face an aggressive challenger,” said a spokeswoman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), Jennifer Crider.
llinois Republicans Judy Biggert and Don Manzullo are on the list -- and it's not hard to see why.
Both are growing older (Manzullo is 65, Biggert is 71), both have served for a decade or more, and both represent districts that are turning decidedly bluer. Despite the fact that they each sit on the House Financial Services Committee, neither has displayed a particularily strong grasp of the issues. For instance, Biggert was unable to explain the significance of structured investment vehicles -- one pillar of the "shadow banking system" that contributed to the financial crisis -- on a radio show in February. She also stumbled badly during a WTTW debate last year when asked about tax reform. Meanwhile, Manzullo recently asked a series of non-sensical questions during a committee hearing on the AIG bonuses.
Part of the Democrats' tactic involves announcing a party-backed challenger in these districts. This will be something to keep an eye on. In 2008, neither Biggert's opponent (Scott Harper) nor Manzullo's (Bob Abboud) got significant support from the national party.
(H/T Capitol Fax)