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Suburbs Get New Congressional Districts - And One Familiar Candidate

Democrat Bill Foster throws hat into ring for newly drawn 11th District as state lawmakers approve new congressional maps.

Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to sign off on new congressional district maps that will dramatically reshape the western suburbs. And one of the new districts already has its first candidate, a familiar name to local voters.

Democrat Bill Foster, former U.S. congressman in the 14th District, announced Tuesday that he will run in the newly configured 11th District, which includes much of Montgomery, Aurora, Naperville, Woodridge, Bolingbrook and Joliet.

Foster, 55, lives in Batavia, which would remain in the 14th District under the new maps. But congressional candidates don’t need to live in the district they would represent. Foster served two terms as congressman for the 14th, winning both a special and general election in 2008 to succeed former House Speaker Dennis Hastert.

Foster was the first Democrat to represent the 14th since the Watergate era.

Last year, however, he lost a close election to Randy Hultgren, the Winfield Republican who currently represents the 14th. In a phone conversation Tuesday, Foster attributed the election results to “frustration with the slow recovery of the economy,” but said he now sees “buyer’s remorse” among voters.

The newly drawn maps may give him an opportunity to jump back in the game.

The congressional district maps, approved by the Illinois House on Monday and the Illinois Senate on Tuesday, recast the 14th District as a massive swath of land that includes Geneva, Batavia, St. Charles, Oswego and Plainfield, among others, and stretches to the northern border of the state.

Hultgren currently shares residency in this district with fellow Republican U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh, who represents the 8th District.

The new 11th District, on the other hand, has no incumbent currently living within its boundaries—it is represented by Adam Kinzinger—and includes many of the areas previously grouped into the 14th, including Aurora, where Foster enjoyed strong support.

Montgomery will be split between the two districts—the boundaries of the 11th stretch to Orchard Road, and everything west of Orchard and north of Route 30 is in the 14th.

Foster said he is happy with the way the lines were drawn, mentioning that the 11th also nudges right up to the twin technology jewels of the suburbs: the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratoryin Batavia, where Foster worked for more than 20 years, and Argonne National Laboratoryin Darien.

Republicans, however, have blasted the new maps, which were drawn by Democrats without GOP involvement. Redistricting occurs every 10 years, coinciding with the U.S. census, and the idea is to even out representation among cities, villages and ethnic groups.

But with Democrats in charge of the state House and Senate, Republicans were not needed to pass the new boundaries.

Republicans have accused Democrats of drawing the maps to benefit their own party, and to erase the results of the 2010 election. The congressional map passed both houses of the legislature essentially along party lines: 63-54 in the House, and 34-25 in the Senate.

The National Republican Congressional Committee also took aim at Foster in a written statement released Tuesday morning.

“Illinois working families fired Bill Foster last fall because of his unwavering support for reckless spending, higher taxes and bigger government,” wrote NRCC spokesman Andrea Bozek. “Illinois voters understand that Bill Foster’s tax-and-spend record was part of the problem and are unwilling to foot the bill again for his big-spending agenda.”

Foster is the first candidate to announce in the new 11th District. In fact, he didn’t even wait until the new district maps were approved to throw his hat into the ring.

“I think it’s good to start the campaign as fast as possible,” he said. “I look forward to introducing myself [to voters], and meeting with old friends in [the] Aurora, Oswego and Montgomery areas.”

See the new congressional district maps here.

kpfarrer June 06, 2011 at 12:00 AM
Redrawing antics are certianly not limited to just one party, seriously. I am not happy that Montgomery will be so divided up with so many districts.
Gordon Kayhart June 26, 2011 at 01:39 PM
Erno is right on. The party that controls the state at the time of re-setting the boundaries has always redrawn to the benefit of their party. The claim that the new map erases the latest election results (US Congressional choices) is only half the story- the new map also rewards the latest results: at the state level. Of utmost importance is that the new district will find a fresh face who will represent our best interests, regardless of party.
N/A June 26, 2011 at 02:08 PM
I'm looking forward to seeing fresh faces, new bloods running for public office.
Jeffrey Hearn July 18, 2011 at 02:38 PM
For more info on where the Foster campaign's money is coming from, see "Foster's Financials," by Downtowner, at The Progressive Fox: http://www.progressivefox.com/?p=2307
Jimmy J December 10, 2011 at 04:28 AM
Foster helped bring us Obamacare....a job killing program which will cut $500 Billion from Medicare. Hopefully he will be rejected and also Obamacare in the 2012 election.

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