Illinois will host two primaries next week that feature House members who have been forced to run against their colleagues due to redistricting.
The congressional map in the Land of Lincoln changed significantly during redistricting, since Illinois lost a House seat due to population decline. And the incumbent v. incumbent contests playing out in Tuesday's primaries are emblematic of broader divisions within both parties, as centrists battle more ideological opponents.
Illinois' 6th District
Democratic Reps. Sean Casten and Marie Newman are facing off in the 6th District. Both defeated an incumbent in successive years — Casten bested Republican Peter Roskam in 2018, and Newman dethroned Democrat Dan Lipinski in the 2020 primary.
Newman, a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, is facing an ethics probe into whether she bribed a prospective primary challenge to not run. Newman’s also been targeted by a pro-Israel PAC while a progressive Israel group that had once backed both candidates before redistricting is now backing Casten’s re-election. Casten is a member of the more moderate New Democrat Coalition.
Casten, who grieving his daughter's recent death, and has significantly outraised Newman and outspent her on the airwaves. He has been endorsed by the Chicago Tribune editorial board and 16 House Democrats, while Newman is backed by EMILY’s List, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, and eight House Democrats.
Illinois' 15th District
Former President Donald Trump has picked sides in the 15th District race, backing GOP Rep. Mary Miller over GOP Rep. Rodney Davis. The former president is appearing at a rally in the district on Saturday.
Miller immediately sparked controversy upon joining the House last year when she quoted Adolf Hitler, saying he was right to say “Whoever has the youth has the future.” Miller has recently criticized the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol as a “witch hunt” and slammed the bipartisan gun deal as “the RINO gun confiscation bill.”
Davis is a powerful, more moderate lawmaker who is the top Republican on the House Administration Committee, which deals with election legislation and the Capitol complex. Miller has criticized Davis for voting to certify the 2020 election and for backing an independent investigation of Jan. 6.
But Davis isn’t running away from Trump, recently telling the Washington Examiner, "I’m proud of my conservative record of working with Trump when he was in office, and I won’t shy away from that."
Davis has raised more than twice as much as Miller in the battle for this deep red district where there’s not expected to be any serious Democratic challenge.
The conservative Club for Growth Action has spent the most of any candidate or group in the race, spending $2.5 million on ads to boost Miller. A recent ad from the group notes that Trump has endorsed Miller in the race.