Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Springfield unlikely to be split again among members of Congress

Since the 2000 Census, the city of Springfield has been represented by three different members of the U.S. House, but that could change now that the first results of the 2010 Census are in.

Illinois has 19 House members, but the state will lose one representative in Congress starting with the 2012 election cycle because its population has not grown as fast as those of other states.

Kent Redfield, professor emeritus of political studies at the University of Illinois Springfield, believes it’s unlikely that Springfield will again be divided into three districts after redistricting is complete.

One of those districts is the oddly shaped 17th Congressional District, now represented by Democratic U.S. Rep. Phil Hare, although Republican Bobby Schilling takes over in January.

The 17th District snakes around the western edge of the state from the Quad Cities area, picks up Galesburg, Macomb and Quincy and then cuts across Central Illinois to pick up parts of Decatur and Springfield.

“What happened a decade ago basically was an incumbent protection map,” Redfield said. “The only way to get enough Democrats into (former U.S. Rep.) Lane Evans’ district was to do this crazy map picking up the east side of Springfield and the more African American areas in Decatur. This time, you don’t have to protect an incumbent Democrat.”

Redfield's comments were featured in a December 22, 2010, article in The State Journal-Register.

Download a PDF of the article