Big cash spent in key congressional races

November 5, 2012 (CHICAGO)

One of the hotly-contested congressional races in Illinois is in the newly remapped 11th district.

The congressional race could help shift the balance of power in Congress: the Republicans are trying to hold on while the Democrats need 25 seats to regain control of Congress. Under a remapped Illinois, Democrats are hoping to pick up seats in the 11th district. Because of that, an historic amount of money has been spent on the key races by both parties.

It's the final stretch for Democrat Bill Foster and Republican incumbent Judy Biggert. Both are in a tight congressional race for the newly remapped 11th district.

"It is a middle class district and it is one that feels very much like I represented. I'm very comfortable in it," Bill Foster said.

The former congressman should feel comfortable in it. Democrats redrew the district to favor one of their own.

The 11th includes about 48-percent of Judy Biggert's current 13th District. She says at this point in the campaign every second counts.

"Have to do everything, started out this morning at the train station, few calls," Biggert said.

The 8th district was also remapped in favor of a democrat. Polls show Democrat Tammy Duckworth leading Republican Congressman Joe Walsh. While the presidential race is not in play in Illinois, congressional races are -- in terms of Republicans holding on to a majority in Congress or Democrats regaining the House of Representatives.

The amount of outside money being poured the 11th district race and the 10th between Democrat Brad Schneider and Republican Bob Dold is historic. Millions of party and super PAC money is being spend on all the candidates, mostly for TV ads.

"You are paying advertising for a 9 million media market. It is unbelievably expensive for the votes that will be gained or lost margins," professor Wayne Steger, DePaul University political science department, said.

Steger says the amount of money spent on the tight Illinois congressional races is the same, if not more than voters would see in a statewide race. Steger says money may talk. Republican super PAC money has outspent Democratic money and Steger says polls show Republican candidates are making gains.

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