Many local voters got their first chance to cast ballots for a new U.S. congressman on Nov. 6, the result of statewide redistricting in the wake of the 2010 census.
And the early takeaway from the results is that local voters appear to be less enthusiastic about embracing longtime, but otherwise unfamiliar, incumbents like Luis Gutierrez (D-4th) and Danny Davis (D-7th).
4th District to Gutierrez
Previously outside of the Landmark’s coverage area, Gutierrez picked up parts of all three villages during last year’s redistricting, including almost all of Riverside and North Riverside. The 4th Congressional District also includes all but one block of Brookfield, north of Southview Avenue.
District-wide, Gutierrez claimed 65.5 percent of the vote in suburban Cook County, while his Republican challenger, Hector Concepcion, garnered 26.7 percent. In the city of Chicago precincts, Gutierrez was a runaway favorite, getting 87 percent of the vote.
In Brookfield, Gutierrez’s performance was right on the suburban target, at 65.5 percent of the vote. But in Riverside he took home just 57.9 percent.
One Riverside precinct – Riverside Township 1, which also gave Mitt Romney his only local victory – preferred Concepcion by 12 votes.
Gutierrez also underperformed in North Riverside, getting 61.5 percent of the vote.
Davis wins 7th District
Danny Davis, who has served in Congress for the past 15 years, was already familiar with some voters in North Riverside, having represented the western half of the village for many years.
Davis’ district is a sprawling area that runs from Lake Michigan out to the western edge of Proviso Township and includes large African-American populations on Chicago’s West and South sides.
He won his race easily against Republican Rita Zak and independent John Monaghan, collecting 81 percent of the vote in suburban Cook County and 85 percent in Chicago.
The redrawn 7th District handed Davis portions of two precincts in North Riverside, Proviso 102 and Riverside 13. Voters in those precincts preferred Davis 68.7 percent to 23.2 percent over Zak. Monaghan got 8 percent.
But in the one block of Brookfield newly drawn into his district, part of Proviso 63, Davis fared poorly. While only 18 votes were cast in the race, Davis got only five votes (27.7 percent), while Zak tallied 11 (61.1 percent).
Lipinski coasts in 3rd District
On the flip side, Congressman Dan Lipinski was warmly received by the parts of Brookfield and Riverside that remain in his 3rd District.
Lipinski won 71 percent of the vote over his challenger, Republican Richard Grabowski, district-wide. In Brookfield, Lipinski did slightly better than that.
In the five precincts of the village south of Southview Avenue that are still part of the 3rd District, Lipinski won 71.5 percent of the vote.
He fared slightly worse in the one remaining precinct (Lyons Township 1) that he represents in Riverside. Voters there preferred Lipinski 65.5 percent to 34.5 percent.