Illinois Democrats aren’t as worried about President Obama dragging them down at the top of the ticket as they are about the likelihood embattled Gov. Pat Quinn (D) could cost them several competitive congressional races.
After a brutal 2010 cycle in the Land of Lincoln, Democrats succeeded in winning back four seats in 2012, with the help of their hometown hero leading the ticket as well as reshaped district lines.
But this year it’s Quinn, not Obama, atop the ballot, and his uphill race against Republican Bruce Rauner in the solidly liberal state could be Democrats’ undoing in a difficult midterm climate.
At least four Illinois races this cycle are competitive, and Republicans are optimistic they can pick up at least one to two seats, especially with a robust GOP turnout operation backed by the wealthy Rauner.
One-term former GOP Reps. Bob Dold and Bobby Schilling are both in close rematches against Democratic Reps. Brad Schneider and Cheri Bustos, respectively. Republicans also hope to knock off freshman Rep. Bill Enyart (D) after unsuccessfully targeting the open downstate district in 2012, contending GOP state Rep. Mike Bost’s campaign is on the upswing.
Meanwhile, Republicans are playing defense in Republican freshman Rep. Rodney Davis’s race against former Judge Ann Callis (D).