SPRINGFIELD — Illinois Republicans released their own version of new political boundaries Thursday, saying their proposed districts for members of the House and Senate are fairer than one produced by Democrats.
Although its chances of being adopted are exceedingly small in the Democratic-controlled General Assembly, GOP lawmakers say the map is proof that politics can be removed from the high-stakes, once-per-decade redistricting process.
For example, Republicans said they created the new boundaries without paying attention to the politics of a particular region or where various politicians live.
“We did not consider incumbent addresses,” said state Rep. Mike Fortner, R-West Chicago.
By doing so, the GOP map pairs up a larger number of incumbent senators and representatives than the Democratic map.
Steve Brown, spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, said Republicans need to put the plan in writing in order for it to be formally considered in the House.
“You have to file an amendment,” Brown said. “We’ll have to wait to see if they actually get that part done.”
State Sen. Dale Righter, R-Mattoon, the Republican point man on redistricting, said the actual language could be more than 2,300 pages long. It is still being drafted, he said.
In downstate, the Republican map would place Republican state Sens. Kyle McCarter of Lebanon and Sam McCann of Carlinville into the same district, potentially forcing them into a run-off.
Republican state Reps. Jason Barickman of Champaign and Chapin Rose of Mahomet were placed in the same district, as were Adam Brown of Decatur and Bill Mitchell of Forsyth.
The map also allows for more potential black and Latino representation in the House and Senate, Righter said.
Outside of Chicago and its suburbs, the map keeps roughly the same number of House and Senate districts. Unlike the Democrat version, it does not split any communities in half.
The measure does change how the area around the Quad-Cities would be represented. The communities of Silvis and Carbon Cliff would be placed in a district stretching north to Galena, while putting East Moline, Rock Island and Moline in a district stretching south to Henderson County. In doing so, state Rep. Rich Morthland, R-Cordova, would be placed in a district stretching almost to LaSalle-Peru.