Sabatos Crystal Ball

Illinois Races

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Illinois (06) (Open Seat)

Outlook: Toss-up


This race is part of the Crystal Ball’s “Ferocious FIFTY” list of the 50 most competitive House races in the nation.

November 8, 2006 Update:

Peter Roskam (R) defeated Tammy Duckworth (D) with 51% of the vote.

November 6, 2006 Update:

Tammy Duckworth (D) will defeat Peter Roskam (R). The late trend-line in this long-deadlocked race is slightly in Duckworth’s favor, and it’s clear her personal story and credibility on Iraq has offset the district’s fundamental Republican lean. Roskam could still pull it out, but we’ll say it’s Duckworth by a smidgen.

September 22, 2006 Update:

In wave elections, open seats are always among the first to change hands, and this fast-changing suburban Chicago district has become a prime Democratic opportunity. State Sen. Peter Roskam’s financial edge might meet its match in the strong Democratic wind at Democratic nominee Tammy Duckworth’s back. It’s now a tossup.

June 29, 2006 Update:

Democratic nominee Tammy Duckworth’s win over primary rival Christine Cegelis was much narrower than DCCC Chair and neighboring Rep. Rahm Emanuel would have liked, but as long as she remains a media darling, she will stay competitive against the GOP’s anointed candidate, State Sen. Peter Roskam. Roskam, who has three times Duckworth’s cash on hand, continues to be the favorite in this open seat contest.


February 2006 Outlook:

Sixteen-term Rep. Henry Hyde has been one of the most senior Republicans on Capitol Hill for some time now, and his decision to retire in 2006 at age 82 guarantees a lively race for his open seat. Although it is one of the most solidly Republican seats in the state, this DuPage County-based district has been trending away from the GOP in recent years, and Hyde saw his reelection percentage dip to 56 percent in 2004 against an underfunded challenger, Democrat Christine Cegelis.

With Hyde out, GOP State Sen. Peter Roskam is perceived somewhat as Hyde’s heir to the party’s nomination and has already raised over $800,000 for the race. But Democrats aren’t ready to concede this district without a fight, and DCCC Chair/neighboring 5th District Rep. Rahm Emanuel has focused considerable attention on making sure this seat is competitive come November. Unimpressed by 2004 nominee Cegelis’s fundraising, he recently recruited Iraq veteran Tammy Duckworth to join Cegelis in the Democratic field. Duckworth, who lost both her legs in Iraq, led her party’s field in 2005 fourth quarter fundraising despite her late entrance into the race, and begins the primary race the favorite despite lingering local party support for Cegelis. If Democrats have a strong national wind at their backs in November, a close race can be expected here, though we give Roskam a solid edge at the outset.

Candidates

Tammy Duckworth – Democrat – Total Raised:$3,220,209.62 | Total Spent:$2,761,242.99
Website

Peter Roskam – Republican – Total Raised: $2,591,955.53 | Total Spent:$2,398.722.86
Website

Illinois (08)

Outlook: Leans Democratic


This race is part of the Crystal Ball’s “Ferocious FIFTY” list of the 50 most competitive House races in the nation.

November 8, 2006 Update:

As the Crystal Ball predicted, Rep. Melissa Bean (D) won reelection over David McSweeney (R) with 51% of the vote.

November 6, 2006 Update:

Rep. Melissa Bean (D) will win reelection over David McSweeney (R). Republicans complain that the survey data in this race has left out anti-war Independent Bill Scheurer, but Bean’s lead on the average has been large enough that we don’t think Scheurer’s impact will be enough to matter. She has made all the right moves in this moderate-to-conservative district, and we believe she will win a second term by several points.

August 23, 2006 Update:

Although Democratic Rep. Melissa Bean’s Chamber of Commerce endorsement is remarkable considering her party affiliation, we’re still not ready to peg her as the clear favorite two win this race. Dave McSweeney is an aggressive campaigner who has adequately deflected rumors that he was cozy with Enron officials, and he is aided somewhat by the presence of a liberal independent candidate on the ballot.

June 29, 2006 Update:

Democratic Rep. Melissa Bean is clearly a fundraising dynamo, and Republican nominee Dave McSweeney continues to be hampered by reports of old ties to disgraced Enron official Andrew Fastow, but the Crystal Ball can’t forget that Bean didn’t win this seat in 2004 so much as longtime GOP Rep. Phil Crane lost it. We give perhaps the tiniest edge to Bean in November (incumbency matters!), but we’re not ready to move this out of the toss-up column.


February 2006 Outlook:

Let there be no mistake about it: Democratic freshman Rep. Melissa Bean was elected to Congress last year because of former GOP Rep. Phil Crane‘s giant missteps. And in Illinois’s wealthiest and most Republican district, Bean needs all the breaks she can get if she wants to win reelection in 2006.

Off the bat, one particularly big break Bean could receive might be a fractured GOP field. Bean has been well aware of the target on her back from day one and has been fundraising accordingly, but Republican banker David McSweeney and social conservative Kathy Salvi are setting out to prove that she’s representing this district on borrowed time. Salvi, who picked up an endorsement from recent GOP field drop-out Teresa Bartels, will likely spend freely of her personal resources to attempt to capture the Republican nomination.

To further complicate matters, Bean has drawn the ire of organized labor for being one of only a handful of Democrats to vote in favor of CAFTA earlier this year. The extent to which union interests might be able to exact revenge at the ballot box remains unclear, however, given that this is one of the least blue-collar seats in America.

Currently, it’s anybody’s race, though as with Indiana 9, incumbency matters. A favorite New Yorker cartoon of ours had one professor confiding to another, while pointing to a third, “There goes Professor Smith, whose weak scholarship is balanced by his mighty tenure.” The congressional equivalent here is, “There goes Congresswoman Bean, whose weak political position is balanced by her mighty incumbency.”

Candidates

Melissa Bean (I) – Democrat – Total Raised: $3,701,111.48 | Total Spent: $3,594,729.04
Website

Dave McSweeney – Republican – Total Raised:| Total Spent:
Website

Illinois (10)

Outlook: Leans Republican


This race is part of the Crystal Ball’s “Watch List” of the next 25 House races worth keeping an eye on.

November 8, 2006 Update:

As the Crystal Ball predicted, Rep. Mark Kirk (R) won reelection over Dan Seals (D) with 53% of the vote.

November 6, 2006 Update:

Rep. Mark Kirk (R) will win reelection over Dan Seals (D). If there’s a moderate GOP incumbent in the Land of Lincoln that knows how to win in a tough year, it is Kirk, but even Republicans admit Seals’ challenge has been stronger than expected. We still pick Kirk to win, but he will likely see his margin cut to the smallest it has been since his first victory in 2000 over Lauren Beth Gash.


Candidates

Mark Kirk (I) – Republican – Total Raised: $2,954,713.00 | Total Spent: $2,245,005.00
Website

Dan Seals – Democrat – Total Raised: $1,429,541.00 | Total Spent: $1,240,842
Website

Illinois (17) (Open Seat)

Outlook: Solid Democratic


November 6, 2006 Update:

Phil Hare (D) defeated Andrea Zinga (R) with 53% of the vote.

Update:

Democratic Rep. Lane Evans’s late decision not to seek reelection as a consequence of his ongoing battle against Parkinson’s Disease prompted a hasty post-primary ballot replacement battle within his party, and Evans aide Phil Hare prevailed over a down-district state senator and the mayor of Rock Island among others with his boss’s blessing. Hare now faces 2004 GOP nominee Andrea Zinga in the general election.

Though Evans has gotten his way so far in hand-picking a successor, the Crystal Ball knows that voters often react to such late-in-the-game ballot switches with skepticism. Zinga, who only narrowly won her primary, has raised a respectable cash total, and will surely seek to paint Hare as an unworthy insider. Still, this Quad Cities to Springfield district is one of the most grotesque pro-Democratic gerrymanders in the country, and Hare is heavily favored to win if he avoids making serious mistakes.


May 2006 Outlook:

Congressman Lane Evans has announced that he will not seek reelection in 2006, and the race is on to replace him in this Democratic leaning district.

Candidates

Phil Hare – Democrat – Total Raised: $692,854 | Total Spent: $482,791
Website

Andrea Zinga – Republican – Total Raised: $394,153 | Total Spent: $262,837
Website