Illinois' 11th Congressional District elections, 2012

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Illinois' 11th Congressional District

General Election Date
November 6, 2012

Primary Date
March 20, 2012

November 6 Election Winner:
Bill Foster Democratic Party
Incumbent prior to election:
Adam Kinzinger Republican Party
Adam Kinzinger.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 11th Congressional District of Illinois held an election for the U.S. House of Representatives on November 6, 2012.

Democrat Bill Foster 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 Adam Kinzinger (R), who was first elected in 2010. Kinzinger announced he would run in the 16th District of Illinois, rather than seek re-election in the 11th District.[4] Judy Biggert (R), incumbent from the 13th District ran for re-election in the 11th District.

This was the first election using new district maps based on 2010 Census data. Illinois' 11th Congressional District includes the towns of Joliet, Bloomington, Normal, Kankakee, LaSalle, Ottawa and Streator and all or parts of Will, Kankakee, Grundy, LaSalle, Bureau, Woodford and McLean counties.[5]


General election candidates

Democratic Party Bill FosterGreen check mark transparent.png
Republican Party Judy Biggert
Republican Party Diane Harris (Write-in)

March 20, 2012, primary results

Democratic Party Democratic Primary

Republican Party Republican Primary

Note: Diane Harris was removed from the candidate list on February 2, 2012. She ran as a write-in candidate.[10]

Election results

General Election

U.S. House, Illinois District 11 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngBill Foster 58.6% 148,928
     Republican Judy Biggert Incumbent 41.4% 105,348
Total Votes 254,276
Source: Illinois Board of Elections "2012 General Election Official Vote Totals"

Democratic Primary

U.S. House, Illinois District 11 Democratic Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngBill Foster 58.5% 12,126
Juan Thomas 25.1% 5,212
Jim Hickey 16.4% 3,399
Total Votes 20,737

Race background

Illinois' 11th was considered to be Leaning Democratic according to the New York Times race ratings. Republican incumbent Judy Biggert ran for re-election in a district that was much more Democratic than it was before. However, she has a history of being liberal for a Republican, supporting abortion rights and advocating the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell."[13]

Illinois' 11th 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 Judy Biggert 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' 11th. 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]

Removal of Republican challengers

On February 2, 2012, the State Board of Elections disqualified challengers John Cunningham and Diane Harris, removing them from the ballot. In order to qualify, candidates need to submit 600 valid signatures. Harris, a notary public, was unanimously removed for not having enough signatures, while Cunningham, was removed by a vote of 6-2.[18] Cunningham, who serves as Kane County clerk, submitted 1,265 signatures, but only 526 were ruled to be valid. A state hearing officer threw out hundreds of signatures from Cunningham because they were collected by a paid petitioner who listed a non-existent address as his home.[19] Cunningham previously attempted to remove Biggert from the ballot, but saw the challenge rejected 8-0.

Following the rulings, Harris continued to run, but as a write-in candidate.[20] Cunningham, however, did not give up so easily. Although he initially said, "I’m an elected official and if we did it wrong, we don’t belong on the ballot,”[21] he decided to appeal the case. According to Ken Menzel, Deputy General Counsel for the Board of Elections, Cunningham filed for judicial review of the decision on February 7 and the court would most likely try to expedite the case.[22] In his dissent, Board member Jesse Smart said the arguments in the case were confusing and should have seen a different outcome, stating, “If I’m going to err, I’m going to err on the side of the candidate."[18]

A hearing was set to take place on February 16 before Judge Susan Fox Gillis,[23] but Gillis did not receive the record soon enough and pushed back the case until February 21. Early voting began on February 27. Military ballots had already been sent out without Cunningham's name on them.

Cunningham's appeal focused on 31 petition sheets collected by Charles Leslie. All 31 were considered invalid because two numbers in Leslie's address were incorrect, but, according to Cunningham, "He had the right state, the right city and the right street” and such a mistake shouldn't invalidate all of the signatures.[24]

Cunningham reinstated, removed again

On February 21, 2012, a hearing was held regarding Cunningham's appeal of his removal. Judge Susan Fox Gillis reversed the Illinois Board of Elections decision, placing Cunningham back on the ballot. "To me it was the kind of error that did not merit disenfranchising voters," Cunningham said.[11] Within days an appeal was filed with the Illinois First Appellate District in Cook County asking them to review the decision of the lower court. It was brought by two Aurora men who objected to Cunningham's candidacy. Their lawyer, John Fogarty, asked for an expedited decision.[25]

On March 7, 2012, the appellate court removed Cunningham from the ballot, sending the matter back to the State Board of Elections for reconsideration. While the earlier rulings had to do with a petition circulator who wrote his home address incorrectly on petitions, the court order this time said two of Cunningham's petition circulators may not have personally appeared before a notary when certifying some of their petitions. The BOE had until March 13, 2012, to decide which petitions were valid and if enough signatures remained.[26]

Cunningham's name was listed on ballots used since early voting began February 27, 2012, and was included on the second round of absentee and military ballots that were mailed out. However, election officials said it was too late to change the ballot again and tried to determine if they needed to hand out notices indicating that Cunningham was not a candidate.[12]

Despite being left "in limbo," Cunningham said he would continue on with his campaign as normal until a final ruling was made. "I’m optimistic. We’re going to keep working until the fat lady sings,” he stated.[27][28]

Biggert had remained relatively quiet regarding Cunningham's case, noting only that he had previously challenged her signatures and that, as Kane County's top election official, he should be well aware of the rules. “He’s responsible for the elections, and so he should know how to fill out the petitions and who he hires to do that and whether they sign the petitions in front of a notary and collect petitions that are correct,” she said.[29]

On March 12, 2012, the Illinois State Board of Elections decided again that Cunningham's nominating petitions contained too many suspect or invalid signatures. As a result, Cunningham's name was once again ordered of the ballot. Specifically, the ISBE said two people who had circulated petitions for Cunningham failed to have them properly notarized. After the offending petitions were disqualified, Cunningham did not meet the filing requirements.[30] "This sets the standard that in the future, you can file an objection and then go on a witch hunt at the hearings. My goal has been and remains to give voters in this district a real choice," said Cunningham

On March 14, 2012, the court upheld the BOE's recommendation.[31]


  • December 27, 2011: Candidate filing deadline
  • February 2, 2012: The State Board of Elections disqualifies challengers John Cunningham and Diane Harris, removing them from the ballot. Cunningham initially says he won't appeal the decision, Harris says she'll run as a write-in candidate.
  • February 7: Cunningham files for judicial review
  • February 16: A hearing was set to take place before Judge Susan Fox Gillis but it is delayed until the 21st
  • February 21: Judge Gillis reverses the decision by the BOE, reinstating Cunningham on the ballot.
  • February 24: Two Aurora men file an appeal with the Illinois First Appellate District asking them to review the decision of the lower court.
  • February 27: Early voting begins with Cunningham's name on the ballot
  • March 7: The appellate court removes Cunningham from the ballot, sending the matter back to the State Board of Elections for reconsideration.
  • March 12: BOE votes 7-1 that votes for Cunningham should not be counted, sends case back to appellate court for final decision.
  • March 14: Appellate court upholds the BOE's recommendation.
  • March 20: Primary election

Impact of redistricting

See also: Redistricting in Illinois

Slow population growth required Illinois to lose one congressional seat following the 2010 census. With Democrats in charge of the House, Senate and governorship, it was easy to pass a map beneficial to their party. According to an analysis by Politico, the new map could cost the GOP up to five U.S. House seats. GOP consultant David From said of the map, “It’s kind of a work of art, in the wrong direction. There’s a lot of creativity.”[32]

Republicans filed suit against the map, but eventually saw it upheld in the courts. A federal court panel agreed with the Republican complaint that the map was "a blatant political move to increase the number of Democratic congressional seats," but said that Republicans "failed to present a workable standard by which to evaluate such claims."[33]

Biggert, who has served in the U.S. House since 1999, saw her current district, the 13th, divided among six different districts following the once-a-decade redistricting process. With her home moved into the Democratic-leaning 5th, which includes an area stretching from the Chicago lakefront east to O'Hare Airport and south to Hinsdale, Biggert opted to run in the 11th, which is strictly made up of suburban areas more friendly to Republicans.[19]

The new 11th District was composed of the following percentages of voters of the old congressional districts.[34][35]

IL Congressional District 11 2000-2010.jpg

IL Congressional District 11 map, 2012-2020.jpg

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' 11th District became more Democratic because of redistricting.[36]

  • 2012: 58D / 42R
  • 2010: 51D / 49R

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' 11th Congressional District has a PVI of D+5, which is the 144th most Democratic district in the country. In 2008, this district was won by Barack Obama (D), 62-38 percent over John McCain (R). In 2004, John Kerry (D) won the district 51-49 percent over George W. Bush (R).[37]


Super PACs

The Campaign for Primary Accountability, a Houston-based super PAC, had their sights set on defeating three Illinois incumbent members of Congress in 2012 - Judy Biggert (R), Donald Manzullo (R) and Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D).[38]

The CPA, which was going after incumbents of both parties, stated on their website "Our goal is to bring true competition to our electoral process, to give voters real information about their choices, and to restore fair, not fixed, elections."[39]

As of February 16, 2012, Biggert had been in office longer than 281 members of congress. Eighteen had been in office the same number of years as Biggert, while 136 had been in office longer than her. In the Illinois delegation, she has been in office longer than 10 of the 17 other members. One has the same number of years as Biggert, while six have served for a longer period of time.

The New Prosperity Foundation, a Chicago-based Super PAC, started running ads against Democrat Bill Foster in late January. The group is co-chaired by Chicago business activist Ronald Gidwitz and president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers' Association Greg Baise.[40]

Federal budget and debt

Biggert and Cunningham agreed that the federal budget needed to be shrunk without increasing taxes and that debt needed to be paid off without borrowing. However, they differed on their solutions to those issues. Biggert was in favor of extending the Bush tax cuts, repealing Obamacare and getting rid of most of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

Cunningham said the nation's debt problem would be solved with a full on program to develop American's oil reserves. “We have enough money there to cover our national debt and get us out of this quagmire. We can get $16 trillion for the royalties without one drop of oil being drilled. The actual collection of that oil will take many years. But, if we go after this the same way we went after our space program, it can be done,” he said.[41]



Judy Biggert
  • National Education Association[42]
  • Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois (AFFI)[43]
  • Chicago Tribune[44]
  • Daily Herald[45]


Bill Foster


Issue advocacy


  • February 26-27: A poll of 300 likely GOP primary voters conducted by American Viewpoint, Inc. for the Judy Biggert campaign showed Biggert with a 69 percent to 18 percent lead over Cunningham, with 13 percent undecided.[46]

Money in the race

Outside spending

This chart details spending in the race by outside groups and is current as of March 2, 2012[47]

Outside spending, Illinois Congressional District 11, 2012
Committee Candidate supporting Candidate opposing Amount supporting Amount opposing Total spent
New Prosperity Foundation - Bill Foster - $37,363 $37,363
US Chamber of Commerce - - - - $123,806

Campaign donors


Bill Foster (2012)[48] Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
Pre-Primary[49]March 8, 2012$750,696.83$15,625.62$(91,972.86)$814,949.59
April Quarterly[50]April 15, 2012$814,949.59$206,580.13$(27,432.67)$994,097.05
Running totals

As of July 10, 2012, Foster raised $475,000 in the second quarter, and had $1.3 million in cash-on-hand.[51]

Judy Biggert (2012)[52] Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
Pre-Primary[53]March 8, 2012$1,058,123.00$115,190.94$(66,294.36)$1,107,019.58
April Quarterly[54]April 15, 2012$1,107,019.58$201,385.42$(87,122.10)$1,221,282.90
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, Adam Kinzinger won election to the United States House of Representatives. He defeated Deborah L. Halvorson (D) in the general election.[55]

U.S. House, Illinois District 11 General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngAdam Kinzinger 57.3% 129,108
     Democratic Deborah L. Halvorson Incumbent 42.7% 96,019
Total Votes 225,127


On November 4, 2008, Democrat Debbie Halvorson won election to the United States House. She defeated Republican Marty Ozinga and Green Party candidate Jason M. Wallace in the general election.[56]

U.S. House, Illinois District 11 General Election, 2008
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngDebbie Halvorson 58.4% 185,652
     Republican Marty Ozinga 34.5% 109,608
     Green Jason M. Wallace 7.1% 22,635
Total Votes 317,895


On November 7, 2006, Republican Jerry Weller won re-election to the United States House. He defeated Democrat John Pavich in the general election.[57]


On November 2, 2004, Republican Jerry Weller won re-election to the United States House. He defeated Democrat Tari Renner in the general election.[58]


On November 5, 2002, Republican Jerry Weller won election to the United States House. He defeated Democrat Keith S. Van Duyne in the general election.[59]


On November 7, 2000, Republican Roy LaHood won re-election to the United States House. He defeated Democrat Joyce Harant in the general election.[60]


On November 3, 1998, Republican Ray LaHood won re-election to the United States House. He was unopposed in the general election.[61]

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. Adam Kinzinger for Congress, "News" Accessed December 27, 2011
  5. June 2011 Illinois Redistricting, "Map" Accessed July 23, 2012
  6. 6.0 6.1 ABC News 7 "Election Results Primary 2012" accessed March 20, 2012
  7. Chicago Sun-Times "Illinois Congress 2012: Bill Foster running in new 11th District UPDATE GOP react" accessed December 5, 2011
  8. Trib "Hickey readies for congressional run" accessed December 5, 2011
  9. Naperville Patch "Former Aurora Township Clerk Announces Run for Congress" accessed December 5, 2011
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Illinois State Board of Elections "Candidate List" accessed December 27, 2011
  11. 11.0 11.1 Daily Herald "Cunningham to face Biggert in 11th District," February 21, 2012
  12. 12.0 12.1 Chicago Tribune, "Cunningham again off 11th Congressional District ballot — for now," March 8, 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 Daily Herald, "Biggert to be unopposed in primary," February 2, 2012
  19. 19.0 19.1 Chicago Tribune, "Biggert now unopposed in GOP race," February 2, 2012
  20. Diane M. Harris campaign website, "Statement," accessed February 8, 2012
  21. Herald-News, "Biggert’s GOP challengers removed from primary race," February 2, 2012
  22. Phone communication with Ken Menzel on February 2012
  23. Herald News, "Cunningham changes mind, files to get back on 11th District ballot," February 9, 2012
  24. Kane County Chronicle, "Cunningham must wait for decision on appeal," February 17, 2012
  25. Kane County Chronicle, "Cunningham foes appeal to keep him off ballot in 11th Congressional District," February 24, 2012
  26. Beacon-News, "Cunningham’s ballot status back ‘in limbo’," March 7, 2012
  27. Chicago Sun-Times, "‘Limbo’ status won’t stop Cunningham," March 8, 2012
  28. Courier News, "Cunningham’s ballot status back ‘in limbo’," March 7, 2012
  29. Chicago Tribune, "Republican again tossed from suburban congressional contest," March 7, 2012
  30. Kane County Chronicle, "State Elections Board: Cunningham can't run for Congress" Accessed March 13, 2012
  31. Chicago Sun-Times, "Biggert challenger Cunningham’s congressional bid voided by court," March 15, 2012
  32. Politico, "Illinois Republicans brace for bloodbath," June 2, 2011
  33. BusinessWeek, "Illinois Republicans Lose Challenge to New Congressional Map," December 16, 2011
  34. Moonshadow Mobile's CensusViewer, "Illinois' congressional districts 2001-2011 comparison"
  35. Labels & Lists, "VoterMapping software voter counts"
  36. "2011 Redistricting and 2012 Elections in Illinois," September 2012
  37. Cook Political Report, "Partisan Voting Index Districts of the 113th Congress: 2004 & 2008" Accessed October 2012
  38. Chicago Business, "Ricketts-backed super PAC targets three Illinois incumbents in Congress," February 13, 2012
  39. Campaign for Primary Accountability, "About," accessed February 2, 2012
  40. Chicago Business, "Gidwitz PAC targets possible Biggert opponent in House race," January 31, 2012
  41. Daily Herald, "Biggert, Cunningham differ on federal budget, debt," March 3, 2004
  42. 42.0 42.1 Beacon News, "Durbin, NEA endorsements highlight 11th District’s national importance," February 21, 2012
  43. Judy Biggert, "Fire Fighters of Illinois Endorse Biggert for Congress," February 9, 2012
  44. Judy Biggert, "Chicago Tribune Endorses Judy Biggert in 2012 Primary," February 24, 2012
  45. Judy Biggert, "Daily Herald Endorses Biggert," March 5, 2012
  46. Capitol Fax, "Biggert poll shows huge lead over Republican foe," March 2, 2012
  47. Open Secrets, "Outside Spending - Illinoi District 11
  48. FEC Reports, "Bill Foster Summary Report" Accessed July 12, 2012
  49. FEC Reports, "Pre Primary" Accessed July 12, 2012
  50. FEC Reports, "April Quarterly" Accessed July 12, 2012
  51. Chicago Business, "Money pouring into area congressional races" Accessed July 13, 2012
  52. FEC Reports, "Judy Biggert Summary Reports" Accessed July 12, 2012
  53. FEC Reports, "Pre-Primary" Accessed July 12, 2012
  54. FEC Reports, "April Quarterly" Accessed July 12, 2012
  55. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010"
  56. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 4, 2008"
  57. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 7, 2006"
  58. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 7, 2006"
  59. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 5, 2002"
  60. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 7, 2000"
  61. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 3, 1998"