WASHINGTON -- Illinois Republicans, challenging the Democrats' congressional remap in federal court, filed their own proposal on Thursday that creates a second Hispanic district, leaves Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski without a home base and is more compact and contiguous than the Democrats' convoluted version.
The main plaintiffs in the lawsuit are 10 of 11 incumbent GOP House members from Illinois.
The Illinois Democrats drew a map protecting all eight Illinois Democratic lawmakers, giving Lipinski in effect two big breaks: a district tailored for him and another to lure away a potential primary opponent.
The GOP-drawn map "stands in stark contrast to the contorted map passed by the Democrats, which is so gerrymandered that it can have no goal but to maximize partisan advantage by disregarding the will of Illinois voters," the 10 GOP incumbents said in a statement.
I've learned that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) will help them raise money for their legal fight, headlining a fund-raiser in Hinsdale on Aug. 12 with admission ranging from $500 to $10,000.
The GOP map creates a second Hispanic district -- also anchored in Chicago --and does not chop up communities and counties in order to dilute Republican voting power.
The Democratic map would likely yield 6 Republicans and 12 Democrats, the GOP lawmakers assert in their lawsuit. The Republican map would likely result in the election of 10 Republicans and 8 Democrats in 2012.
Illinois will lose a seat in 2012. At present, Illinois sends 11 Republicans and 8 Democrats to Congress.
Under the GOP map, only one pair of Republican incumbents, Rep. Tim Johnson and Rep. Adam Kinzinger, are pitted against each other. Johnson is the only Illinois House Republican who did not join in the lawsuit.
The case is just getting started, only weeks before the window opens on Sept. 6 to begin to circulate nominating petitions for the March primary.
The Republicans want a court order asking the Illinois State Board of Elections not to let petitions be passed before the lawsuit is resolved because the district lines may be changed.