There’s always an election around the corner, and now we’re around the corner and into an election year. Illinois Republicans want plenty of things to change: they hold only a third of the seats in Congress and roughly that proportion in the statehouse. One of those longtime minority members of the Illinois House, State Rep. Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro), wants to take his talents to Capitol Hill, taking on first-term U.S. Rep. William L. Enyart (D-Belleville).
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Bost is embracing, rather than turning away from, his paper-throwing, Moses-quoting YouTube rant. “I think it’s a help,” Bost says, as the Enyart campaign tries to use Bost’s video infamy against him. “Most constituents I’ve talked to … are very frustrated with their government ... and they feel that people go to Washington and/or Springfield and don’t stand up for them.”
“You’ve got to remember that the Democrats in Springfield are the ones that drew these partisan maps,” says first-term U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville). “They drew the districts that were supposed to elect six Democrats, and, unfortunately, it worked in many cases. And it was a presidential (election) year.”
Illinois’ U.S. House delegation shrank from 19 to 18 with the 2011 remap. Then voters in 2012 gave Democrats a 12-6 advantage, voting 55-45 percent for Democrats over Republicans, as opposed to the 11-8 lead the Republicans enjoyed for two years after the 2010 election, even though the vote was 51-49 in favor of Democrats.
One of those 2010 winners–2012 losers is hoping to make a return to Washington: former U.S. Rep. Bob Dold of Kenilworth. “People that I talk to are concerned about the cost of food, the cost of fuel, the cost of higher education,” he says. “The policies being implemented today in Springfield and Washington are making it harder and harder for people to raise their families.”
U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Peoria) has been one of the state party’s consistent winners. “Politics are waves throughout our history as a country,” he says, “and I think the waves are going to come back our way in the midterm election.”