In Charlotte, spotlight turns toward Illinois Dems

September 4, 2012

WBEZ/Tony Arnold

Illinois’ delegation to the Democratic National Convention is looking forward to its moment in the spotlight Tuesday night, when a handful of political heavies are set to deliver speeches during the opening night of the convention.

Democrats are giving prime-time speaking spots to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and 8th Congressional District Candidate Tammy Duckworth. Emanuel, who is President Barack Obama’s former chief of staff, is set to take the lectern sometime after 8 p.m. CT. Duckworth, who’s in a tight congressional race against incumbent Republican Rep. Joe Walsh, a Tea Party favorite, is scheduled to speak in the 7 p.m. CT hour.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is set to speak around 5:30 CT, while First Lady Michelle Obama is the last speaker of the night, after 10 p.m. CT.

At the delegation’s daily breakfast briefing Tuesday, Democratic stalwarts took the stage to praise their party’s redrawing of legislative maps after the 2010 census – the very same map Republicans spent much time criticizing during their convention in Tampa, Fla. last week.

Although the newly drawn districts are expected to make some races easier for Democrats, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, from Evanston, pointed out five competitive Illinois congressional races that could put her party back in power on Capitol Hill.

“The path to a majority for Democrats in the House of Representatives runs exactly through Illinois,” she said.

Those five include races in the 10th District, which encompasses the northern suburbs, and the 11th, which includes part of the western suburbs.

Meanwhile, Rep. Danny Davis, from Chicago, called on the African-American members of the delegation to travel to districts outside Chicago to reach black voters.

“I think that we have a responsibility to help stimulate, activate, motivate and convince them” to vote Democratic, Davis said. “I think we have a responsibility to go to Peoria, to go to Decatur, to go where they are because they may not have had as much interaction with the candidates.”