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Most Fascinating Races of 2014: Illinois’ 13th District

Davis faces a competitive race in 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Davis faces a competitive race in 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Few true swing districts remain on the congressional map following the most recent round of redistricting in 2012, but Illinois’ 13th District still fits that description.

The downstate district splits along partisan lines, and voters essentially handed a tie to President Barack Obama and GOP nominee Mitt Romney in 2012. Republican freshman Rep. Rodney Davis captured the seat in 2012 with one of the slimmest margins of the cycle, defeating Democrat David Gill by less than 1 point. 

Democrats viewed Gill as a lackluster, perennial candidate. But after three failed House bids, he defeated attorney Matt Goetten — who was recruited by national Democrats — by less than 1 point in the primary.

Democrats face a similar situation this cycle, while Republicans have a primary problem of their own.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has anointed former judge Ann Callis as its pick to take on Davis in November, but she has company in the primary. Physics professor George Gollin may not have high name recognition like Gill had in 2012, but he does have money. At of the end of the third quarter, Gollin had $262,000 in the bank and Callis had $370,000.

Davis also has a primary challenger: Former Miss America Erika Harold. But her lackluster fundraising and poor polling make her less of a threat.

No matter who wins the nod, this will be one of the marquee House contests this cycle, likely to see millions in outside-group spending.

Illinois’ 13th District is rated a Tilt Republican contest by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

Editor’s note: Not all congressional races are created equal, and Roll Call’s politics desk admits to playing favorites. So in the spirit of the holidays, these are a few of our favorite things (races) to cover this cycle. We’re shining a spotlight on our 12 most fascinating races through the new year — in no particular order. Happy holidays from @RollCallPols!

Check out more fascinating races of 2014:
California’s 31st District and California’s 17th District.

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