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Rep. Lane Evans: Downstate Democrat, citing advancing Parkinson's disease, will retire at end of term. UPDATE: DCCC memo.

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All the best to Rep. Lane Evans (D-Ill.) who has been battling Parkinson's disease for years.
On Tuesday, a week after he won renomination for another term, Evans announced he will step down at the end of this term.
The Democratic committeemen
in his congressional district will name a replacement to be on the November ballot
.

AFTERNOON UPDATE: Just in case the Republicans argue the seat is now in play, no matter who the local Dem powerbrokers pick to replace Evans, the House Democratic Campaign Committee issued a memo arguing Evans' district is Democratic leaning. (memo below)

NEWS CONGRESSMAN LANE EVANS

(17TH DISTRICT - ILLINOIS)

VETERANS AFFAIRS COMMITTEE, RANKING MEMBER

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: TUESDAY, MARCH 28, 2006

STATEMENT OF CONGRESSMAN LANE EVANS

ON FUTURE PLANS

This is a tough day for me. I am announcing that I will not run for
reelection and will retire at the end of my current term in the U.S. House
of Representatives.

When I announced in 1998 that I had Parkinson's Disease, my doctor said that
this condition would not interfere with my work and that I would be able to
perform at a high level for a number of years. That window of opportunity
is now closing.

I fully expected that I would continue my work for the foreseeable future
following this current break from the office. But I have come to recognize
that the time needed to address my health makes it difficult to wage a
campaign and carry out my work as representative. I will return soon and to
the best of my ability complete the important work of this term in my roles
as representative and Ranking Member of the House Committee on Veterans'
Affairs.

This decision is especially tough because this job means so much to me. I
believe strongly in serving people and working to make a positive difference
in their lives. Every day has been rewarding and I'm proud of what I've
been able to accomplish and the fights I've made.

I thank my family and everyone who has worked with me -- great friends,
terrific colleagues, a dedicated staff, fellow vets. And I appreciate the
support of people I never met before who would ask how I was doing and tell
me to keep up the good fight. I'll be doing that in the weeks and months
ahead and look forward to thanking every one of you personally for all you
have meant to me.

To my constituents and veterans across this country, it is an honor and
privilege to represent you.

Semper Fi,

Lane
============================================================================
Subj: DCCC Memo: IL-17 Political Environment
Date: 3/28/06 4:41:59 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: dccc_press@DCCC.ORG (DCCC Press)
To: Burton@DCCC.ORG (Bill Burton), Feinberg@DCCC.ORG (Sarah Feinberg)

To: Interested Parties

FR: DCCC Communications

RE: IL-17 and the retirement of Lane Evans

DA: March 28, 2006

Lane Evans' district is a Democratic district that has voted for Evans
consistently, with large margins of victory, and for Democratic
presidential candidates. Congressman Evans served his country for over
a generation - serving in both the Marine Corps and in Congress. He
worked tirelessly for Illinois families and his successor will have big
shoes to fill. No matter who that successor is, the 17th district will
be represented by a Democrat.

The Republican nominee in the 17th district is Andrea Zinga, a
right-wing candidate who was held below 40% by Evans in the 2004
congressional election. After a tough primary campaign, Zinga has only
$3,600 cash on hand. Zinga's extreme views are out of step with the
families in the district and in the last campaign, Zinga used Evans'
health as a campaign issue - even speculating about the possible long
term effects of the illness that Evans is still fighting.

The process for replacing a congressional nominee in Illinois, in cases
like this one, the Democratic nominee's position will be filled by
resolution. The officers of the district's "congressional committee" -
a division of the state party that includes party chairs of each county
in the district - will choose the nominee. In the 17th district there
are many strong potential candidates that local leaders are currently
talking to and we are confident that the eventual Democratic nominee
will be coming to Congress in November.

Lane Evans' District is a Democratic District. In the last two
congressional elections, Evans received over 60% of the vote, holding
his opponents under 40%. The district voted for Al Gore in the 2000
presidential election with over 55% and supported Senator John Kerry in
2004 with a majority of over 51% of the vote.

Zinga Lost Badly to Evans in 2004. In 2004, Zinga lost to Rep. Lane
Evans in the general election by a 61-39% margin. [www.cnn.com]

Zinga Politicized Lane Evans' Health. In her unsuccessful run for
Congress in 2004, Zinga made Rep. Evans' health a key issue in the
campaign. Zinga even maliciously speculated about Evans' mental capacity
without basis or proof, saying, "People who are on the medications he is
on may have trouble with judgment, which can be worsened by excitement
or stress." [Belleville News-Democrat, 10/24/04; Chicago Tribune,
8/12/04; Copley News Service, 1/21/04]

Zinga Won Her 2006 Primary By Less Than 300 Votes. Zinga narrowly won a
three-way primary for the GOP nomination to run in the 17th district.
She received 42% of the vote while her closest competitor received 41%
of the vote. Zinga won the election by just 274 votes with 13,058 total
votes. [www.wqad.com]

Zinga Has a Poor Fundraising Record. In her 2004 campaign and again in
2006, Andrea Zinga's fundraising has been less than stellar. Her 2006
record has been poor thus far. She raised $54,000 but she was forced to
spend $52,000 through her March primary election, and as of March 1,
2006 had just $3,600 cash on hand. [www.tray.com]

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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