If you live in the heart of Peoria, you’ve voting for someone new in 2012.
The Democratic Party has released a map of the state’s U.S. Congressional Districts. The good news is that the districts are tighter and less, well, obviously gerrymandered.
The bad news (or “good,” depending on your point of view) is that Peoria is now split in two If you live in older Peoria, you most likely will be voting in the 17th Congressional District. People who live in the northern part of Peoria (and Peoria Heights and Averyville) will still be represented by the 18th Congressional District.
This duel districting thing has lead to some truly mixed-up boundaries. I live on Northeast Randolph in the West Bluff and I’m now voting in the 17th District. My parents, who live just outside the city in Kingspark Estates, are voting in the 18th District. Live on Spitznagle? You vote in the 18th. Live on Camblin? You vote in the 17th. Live south of West Lake between Sheridan and Knoxville? You get to vote in the 18th. Not true if you live east or west of there. There are little pockets of uncertainty all over the city.
In a way, I guess this MIGHT be considered good news. Peoria County is now represented by two different Congressional representatives: Aaron Schock and Bobby Schilling. When there’s a question about whether Peoria is going to get some funding from the Feds, we’ve got two representatives fighting for us is Washington. Or, we will, until November 2012, when Schilling will loose to whoever the Democrats decide to run against him. The new 17th District voters went for Obama by 60 percent.
Of course, the actual boundaries of the Congressional Districts might change (the final map has to be approved by May 31). And candidates are not required to actually LIVE in the districts when are seeking to represent.
So,l Schilling has THAT going for him.
But Schock? Can he win the new 18th District?
You see, I have an opinion of Schock that is a little bit different. Everyone thinks Schock is the perfect politician. I think Schock is the luckiest sonofagun on Earth.
His toughest election was his first. After that, he’s picked on opponents who were weak. When he ran for the statehouse, he ran as a moderate. When he ran in the older 18th District, he ran as a conservative.
The new 18th may be a bit more conservative than the old one. But he’s a completely unknown in Bloomington and Champaign. Well, not as unknown as Schilling is in Peoria, but still pretty darn unknown.
No one will work harder than Schock to get elected, but that’s a pretty tough thing to overcome.