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Watch now: New congressional maps unveiled ahead of fall veto session

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SPRINGFIELD – Democrats in the Illinois General Assembly released a proposed set of new congressional district maps Friday, just days before lawmakers return to the Statehouse for the start of their fall veto session, which begins Oct. 19.

All states redraw their congressional districts following each decennial census. The proposed new maps reflect the fact that Illinois will have only 17 congressional districts after the 2022 elections, down from its current 18 districts, due to the state’s loss of population since the 2010 census.

The draft proposal includes a number of oddly-shaped districts, many of which would create entirely new constituencies for incumbent members of Congress, particularly Republicans.

As expected, southern Illinois, which saw the most dramatic population declines, would essentially be compressed from having two districts to just one. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, would see his 12th District nearly double in size geographically to take in almost the entire southern end of the state, from an area just east of the Metro East region all the way to the Ohio River.

Meanwhile, Rep. Mary Miller, R-Oakland, who represents what is currently called the 15th District in southern and east-central Illinois, would be placed in an entirely new 16th District that takes in Oakland, curls around the city of Champaign and stretches west across much of central Illinois to an area just south of the Quad Cities.

The Quad Cities is currently in the 17th District that also includes Rockford. It is represented by Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Moline, who has announced she will not seek reelection in 2022. That area would become part of a new 17th District that takes in Rockford, stretches west to the Mississippi River, then snakes south to Galesburg and back east to take in Bloomington and Peoria, the hometown of Republican Rep. Darin LaHood, who represents what is now the 18th District.

Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, who represents what is currently the 13th District in central Illinois that includes Champaign, Decatur and a portion of Springfield, would be placed in a new 15th District that begins in Litchfield and stretches east to the Indiana border, then snakes northward to take in Danville, then back west and north to include Pontiac, Sterling, Dixon and Freeport in northern Illinois.

Davis has previously indicated he might consider running for governor in 2022, depending on how his district is redrawn.

In a statement Friday, Davis did not indicate that he’d made a decision, but he harshly criticized the proposed new maps.

“As expected, our lying governor teamed up with state Democrats to draw a shameful, partisan gerrymander in a desperate attempt to keep (U.S. House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi in power,” he said. “This proposed map, along with this entire redistricting process, is a complete joke.”

Adam Kinzinger, a Republican from Channahon, southwest of Joliet, would also be moved into a much different district. He represents what is currently the 16th District west of the Chicago metropolitan area. He would be placed in a new 3rd District that stretches from Oak Lawn south and west to LaSalle.

In Illinois, however, Democrats currently hold a 13-5 majority in the state’s congressional delegation, and Democrats are firmly in control of the redistricting process in the state General Assembly, so it is likely they will do all they can to keep as many Democratic seats as possible.

“Call this new Illinois map the Nancy Pelosi Protection Plan,” Illinois Republican Party Chairman Don Tracy said in a statement. “It’s appalling that fair representation, keeping communities of interest together, and transparency in the mapmaking process in Illinois all had to take a back seat to the demands of national politics.”

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