Updated 2:40 p.m.
SPRINGFIELD — Illinois Democrats have drawn a new congressional district map that splits Champaign-Urbana, sending most of the population into a new 13th Congressional District that stretches southwest to the Mississippi River and the Illinois suburbs of St. Louis.
A tiny corner of Champaign-Urbana — including Rep. Tim Johnson’s subdivision in northeast Urbana — would remain in the 15th Congressional District. That district includes most of Champaign County, all of Vermilion County and part of Ford County, but it extends all the way to the southeastern bottom of the state, including Massac and Pope counties.
The heavily Republican district would include 33 of Illinois’ 102 counties.
The proposed map was unveiled today on the website of the Illinois Senate Democrats. A vote on the proposal is expected sometime this weekend, although not today. Lawmakers say they’ll first vote on the map of the state’s legislative districts.
In a news release, Johnson called the map “a slap in the face to the notion of representative government.”
“There are people, counties, towns and interests that I have long-established relationships with that have senselessly been taken away,” Johnson said. “I resent that but unfortunately have no control, nor do the people I have tried to faithfully represent all these years."
The new 13th District includes the home of U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, but it is a virtually new district for him, including not only most of Champaign-Urbana, but also most of Bloomington-Normal, and Springfield, Decatur and some parts of Democratic Madison County.
It would be a politically competitive district, said Sen. Mike Frerichs, D-Champaign.
Frerichs was coy when asked if he would be interested in running in the district, which has a heavy tilt toward higher education and student voters. It has four public universities — the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Illinois-Springfield, Illinois State University and Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville — plus a number of private schools, including Illinois Wesleyan in Bloomington and Millikin University in Decatur.
"I’ve told people I’m interested in serving the people of East Central Illinois," he said. "I think I am happy where I am today."
If the proposed congressional map is approved, its first test would be next spring’s primary elections.