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United States

Illinois voters to decide competitive US House primaries around the state

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois voters are set to decide competitive U.S. House races around the state in Tuesday’s primary election.

The most closely watched races in Illinois include a downstate Republican matchup and two Chicago-area Democratic primaries.

Here’s a closer look:

12TH DISTRICT

In southern Illinois, Republican Rep. Mike Bost faces only his second intraparty challenge in seeking his sixth term in Congress. Former state Sen. Darren Bailey, the unsuccessful 2022 GOP nominee for governor, is hoping to unseat the 63-year-old incumbent.

Bailey, 57, has maintained that Bost is not conservative enough. Illinois’ 12th Congressional District, redrawn after the 2020 Census, now includes a large chunk of southeastern Illinois that gave Donald Trump more than 70% of the vote in both 2016 and 2020. Bailey’s hopes to win the endorsement in this race from the former president were dashed when Trump, the presumptive 2024 presidential nominee, gave his backing to Bost.

The issues are clear in the race: Rebuffing any regulation on the possession of guns, reducing inflation, opposing abortion and sealing the U.S. southern border, a particular problem for Illinois, which has received roughly 36,000 migrants who have largely crossed into Texas and have been sent to Chicago.

Bailey contends Republicans in Congress should fight Democrats’ agenda on these and other issues and cooperate only when they abandon “extreme” positions. Bost opposes Democrats’ policies but calls himself a “governing conservative,” seeking compromise to get things done.

7TH DISTRICT

Locked in a five-way primary, Rep. Danny Davis faces one of the most competitive reelections of his decades-long political career.

The Democrat, who first won office in 1996, has faced questions about his fitness for office at age 82. He says those questions are fair but that his experience is valuable, particularly for leadership on key committees. He’s a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means.

“I’m one of the most active elected officials I know,” he said.

Davis has enthusiastic party backing. Still, the Democrats challenging him hope there’s enough dissatisfaction among voters to help them. Davis was able to fend off a 2022 primary challenge from progressive anti-violence activist Kina Collins, who received about 45% of the vote in the district that includes downtown Chicago and neighborhoods on the south and west sides, along with some suburbs.

The 33-year-old is giving it a third try, though she trails the other candidates in fundraising.

The other well-known candidate in the race is Chicago City Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin, a former Davis ally who says it’s time for him to be voted out. She has backing from prominent Black pastors and the powerful Chicago Teachers Union.

The winner of the Democratic primary is expected to win in November.

Also running are Chicago educator Nikhil Bhatia and Kouri Marshall, a former deputy director for Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

4TH DISTRICT

Three-term Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia faces a spirited challenge from Chicago Alderman Raymond Lopez.

The congressman, who dominates in funding and endorsements, is facing his first primary challenger since 2018, when he won congressional office.

Lopez says Garcia is no longer the right fit for the district, which is predominantly Hispanic and includes working-class communities and neighborhoods on the city’s southwest side as well as wealthy suburbs.

The 45-year-old Lopez is one of the most conservative members of City Council, often backing police. He has called Garcia an “extreme Democrat.”

Meanwhile, Garcia, 67, says voters have repeatedly put him in office, including in 2022 after a remap added new territory to the district. He’s also a former state legislator and city alderman.

Garcia dominates in fundraising, raising $376,000 last year compared to Lopez’s $46,000 in the same time period, according to federal election records. He’s picked up endorsements from labor groups, while Lopez has support from the Chicago police union.

There’s no Republican running in the heavily Democratic district. Tuesday’s winner is expected to win outright in November.

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Associated Press political writer John O’Connor contributed to this report from Springfield.

Sophia Tareen, The Associated Press


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