Illinois' 17th Congressional District elections, 2012

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Illinois' 17th Congressional District

General Election Date
November 6, 2012

Primary Date
March 20, 2012

November 6 Election Winner:
Cheri Bustos Democratic Party
Incumbent prior to election:
Bobby Schilling Republican Party
Robert T. Schilling.jpg

Illinois U.S. House Elections
District 1District 2District 3District 4District 5District 6District 7District 8District 9District 10District 11District 12District 13District 14District 15District 16District 17District 18

2012 U.S. Senate Elections

Flag of Illinois.png
The 17th Congressional District of Illinois held an election for the U.S. House of Representatives on November 6, 2012.

Democrat Cheri Bustos won the election.[1]

Candidate Filing Deadline Primary Election General Election
December 27, 2011
March 20, 2012
November 6, 2012

Primary: Illinois has a mixed-hybrid primary system. Voters can change parties each year but must declare a party affiliation at the polls. Depending on which party is chosen, the voter will then be counted as registered for that party. Voters may change party affiliation at polls or caucus.

Voter registration: Voters had to register to vote in the primary by February 21. For the general election, the voter registration deadline was October 9. A "grace period" was also available, allowing voter registration until three days before an election.[2][3]

See also: Illinois elections, 2012

Incumbent: Heading into the election the incumbent was Bobby Schilling (R), who was first elected in 2010. Candidates wishing to run were required to file by the signature filing deadline of December 27, 2011. The primary elections were held on March 20, 2012.

This was the first election using new district maps based on 2010 Census data. Illinois' 17th Congressional District covers much of western Illinois and includes the counties of Winnebago, Stephenson, Jo Davies, Carroll, Whiteside, Henry, Rock Island, Knox, Warren, Mercer, Henderson, Fulton counties and parts of Tazewell and Peoria counties.[4]


General election candidates

Democratic Party Cheri BustosGreen check mark transparent.png
Republican Party Bobby Schilling
Independent Eric Reyes

March 20, 2012, primary results

Democratic Party Democratic Primary

Republican Party Republican Primary

Independent Independent party

Election results

General Election

U.S. House, Illinois District 17 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngCheri Bustos 53.3% 153,519
     Republican Bobby Schilling Incumbent 46.7% 134,623
     Independent Eric Reyes 0% 10
Total Votes 288,152
Source: Illinois Board of Elections "2012 General Election Official Vote Totals"

Democratic Primary

U.S. House, Illinois District 17 Democratic Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngCheri Bustos 54.4% 18,652
George Gaulrapp 25.8% 8,838
Greg Aguilar 19.8% 6,798
Total Votes 34,288

Race background


Illinois' 17th was considered to be Leaning Democratic according to the New York Times race ratings. Republican incumbent Bobby Schilling won a huge upset in 2010 and then was drawn into an even tougher district in 2012. He faced Cheri Bustos in the general election.[13]

Illinois' 17th District had been included in the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's "Red to Blue List," which identified districts that the organization had specifically targeted to flip from Republican to Democratic control.[14]

Incumbent Bobby Schilling was a part of the National Republican Congressional Committee's Patriot Program, a program to help House Republicans stay on offense and increase their majority in 2012.[15]

Using the Federal Election Commission's October Quarterly campaign finance filings, the Brennan Center for Justice at The New York University School of Law published a report on October 22nd focusing on the 25 House races rated most competitive by The Cook Political Report, including the race for Illinois'17th. The report examined the relative spending presence of non-candidate groups, candidates and small donors in these races - "which will likely determine which party will control the House."[16]

Impact of redistricting

See also: Redistricting in Illinois

With the 2011 redistricting, Illinois lost 1 of its current 19 House seats because the state's population failed to grow as fast as in other states.[18] Illinois has had 11 Republican congressmen and 8 Democrats since the November 2010 election.[18] The new map, designed by the dominant Democrats, could have flipped that advantage to as many as 12 Democrats and only six Republicans.[18]

The new 17th District was composed of the following percentages of voters of the old congressional districts.[19][20]

District partisanship

FairVote's Monopoly Politics 2012 study

See also: FairVote's Monopoly Politics 2012

In 2012, FairVote did a study on partisanship in the congressional districts, giving each a percentage ranking (D/R) based on the new 2012 maps and comparing that to the old 2010 maps. Illinois' 17th District became more Democratic because of redistricting.[21]

  • 2012: 57D / 43R
  • 2010: 53D / 47R

Cook Political Report's PVI

See also: Cook Political Report's Partisan Voter Index

In 2012, Cook Political Report released its updated figures on the Partisan Voter Index, which measures each congressional district's partisanship relative to the rest of the country. Illinois' 17th Congressional District has a PVI of D+6, which is the 135th most Democratic district in the country. In 2008, this district was won by Barack Obama (D), 61-39 percent over John McCain (R). In 2004, John Kerry (D) won the district 54-46 percent over George W. Bush (R).[22]

Campaign donors


Cheri Bustos (2012)[23] Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
Pre-Primary[24]March 8, 2012$279,899.35$301,482.95$(82,560.08)$498,822.22
April Quarterly[25]April 13, 2012$498,822.22$124,746.99$(153,758.27)$469,810.94
Running totals

According to a July 11, 2012 press release, Bustos raised $470,000 in the second quarter.[26]

Bobby Schilling (2012)[27] Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
Pre-Primary[28]March 8, 2012$612,022.97$95,185.00$(47,710.16)$659,497.81
April Quarterly[29]April 15, 2012$659,497.81$218,689.77$(64,886.36)$823,300.72
Running totals

District history

Candidate ballot access
Ballot Access Requirements Final.jpg

Find detailed information on ballot access requirements in all 50 states and Washington D.C.


On November 2, 2010, Bobby Schilling won election to the United States House of Representatives. He defeated Phil Hare (D) and Roger K. Davis (G) in the general election.[30]

U.S. House, Illinois District 17 General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngRobert T. Schilling 52.6% 104,583
     Democratic Phil Hare 43% 85,454
     Green Roger K. Davis 4.5% 8,861
Total Votes 198,898

See also

External links


  1. Politico, "2012 Election Map, Illinois"
  2. Illinois Board of Elections, "2012 Election Calendar," accessed July 21, 2012
  3. Illinois Board of Elections, "Registering to Vote in Illinois," accessed July 21, 2012
  4. Illinois Redistricting Map, "Map" accessed July 24, 2012
  5. Quad-City Times "Augustana official joins 17th District race" accessed December 15, 2011
  6. ABC News 7 "Election Results Primary 2012" accessed March 20, 2012
  7. Quad-City Times "Illinois’ 17th District field taking shape" accessed December 15, 2011
  8. "Freeport Mayor Announces Run for Congress" accessed December 15, 2011
  9. Quad-City Times "Hare rules out another run for Congress" accessed December 15, 2011
  10. Quad-City Times "RI attorney announces congressional run" accessed December 15, 2011
  11. "Gaulrapp and Reyes Still in the Congressional Race" accessed March 15, 2012
  13. New York Times, "House Race Ratings," accessed August 7, 2012
  14. DCCC, "Red to Blue 2012"
  15. NRCC "Patriot Program 2012"
  16. Brennan Center for Justice, "Election Spending 2012: 25 Toss-Up House Races," October 22, 2012
  17. The Cook Political Report, "House: Race Ratings," updated October 18, 2012
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Chicago Tribune, "Odd geography in new Illinois congressional map:Millions of constituents will find their representative has changed" accessed February 22, 2012
  19. Moonshadow Mobile's CensusViewer, "Illinois' congressional districts 2001-2011 comparison"
  20. Labels & Lists, "VoterMapping software voter counts"
  21. "2011 Redistricting and 2012 Elections in Illinois," September 2012
  22. Cook Political Report, "Partisan Voting Index Districts of the 113th Congress: 2004 & 2008" accessed October 2012
  23. FEC Reports, "Cheri Bustos Summary Reports" accessed July 13, 2012
  24. FEC Reports, "Pre-Primary" accessed July 13, 2012
  25. FEC Reports, "April Quarterly" accessed July 13, 2012
  26. Cheri Bustos for Congress, "Cheri Bustos Posts Record Quarter, Tops $470,000 as Grassroots Support Grows" accessed July 13, 2012 (dead link)
  27. FEC Reports, "Bobby Schilling Summary Reports" accessed July 14, 2012
  28. FEC Reports, "Pre-Primary" accessed July 13, 2012
  29. FEC Reports, "April Quarterly" accessed July 13, 2012
  30. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010," accessed March 28, 2013