Republican Congressman Don Manzullo formally announced Sunday he will seek re-election in 2012, and hopes to know in what district by month's end.
His announcement was made within the current 16th Congressional District. While the current district does not include Grundy County, the redrawn 16th District will if the Democrats' redistricting map wins in federal court later this month.
Grundy County is in the current 11th Congressional District, represented by Congressman Adam Kinzinger, R-Manteno.
Much of the current 11th District would become part of the new 16th District in next year's election under the Democrats' redistricting map, which places all or parts of Grundy La Salle, Livingston, Winnebago, Boone, Ogle, Lee, Iroquois, DeKalb, Lee, Bureau, and Putnam counties into the new 16th.
Manzullo, 67, of Rockford, will battle with the 33-year-old Kinzinger on the Republican ticket in the March 2012 primary because Kinzinger, who does not live within the boundaries of the new 16th district, has still opted to run in that district in order to continue representing the bulk of his current constituents.
A resident of the redrawn 2nd District, Kinzinger has indicated he will move to the new 16th District if elected.
If the Fair Congressional Map touted by the Republican Party wins out in court, Manzullo and Kinzinger would avoid a primary battle against each other. Manzullo would remain in the redrawn 16th District, while Kinzinger would stay in the revised 11th District, which includes Grundy, La Salle, McLean, Iroquois, Ford, Champaign and Vermillion counties
Therefore, Manzullo's re-election focus thus far has not included any new areas, his campaign manager, Richard Carter, noted Monday.
"We fully believe we will win the lawsuit," Carter said. "It's a very delicate situation with the lawsuit, so there's an agreement we will not campaign in each other's districts, pending results of the lawsuit."
Kinzinger spokesman Eric Rayman said there is no such agreement.
"The Congressman hasn't been in Winnebago and other counties outside (the current 11th District), but there wasn't an agreement they wouldn't campaign in each other's territory. The Congressman has been pretty much staying in this area."
Kinzinger formally announced his bid a month ago for a second term in Congress.
He admitted today he and Manzullo had "kind of a handshake agreement" to not circulate petitions in each other's district, pending outcome of the lawsuit.
"So for the most part, we're sticking to the current district," he said. "We're hoping the lawsuit wins. Ultimately, I'm running for re-election. But the agreement (pertained) more to petitions, and we're honoring that."
Testimony in the legal battle over the redistricting map is to be heard by a three-judge panel in Northern District Court in Chicago on Thursday, Nov. 17, and Friday, Nov. 18. The first day for filing petitions of candidacy is Monday, Nov. 28.
Kinzinger noted he has not campaigned to date in areas currently in Manzullo's district, which he said is more a reality issue than a tactical one.
As to campaigning in areas he's never before represented, Kinzinger said he is excited about the opportunity to meet new people.
On convincing constituents to vote for a relative newcomer rather than a veteran congressman who has represented the current 16th District since 1993, Kinzinger said the freshman class elected to the House last year has changed the dialogue in Washington, D.C., from "how much to spend to how much to cut."
"We've really started reducing the size of government," he said. "The constant idea of 'tax, spend, and more government is better,' since my class came into office, we've begun to turn that dialogue around, and I think people understand that."
Campaigning in counties where he is unfamiliar to constituents isn't new. Kinzinger said he did that when he campaigned for office against then-Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson, D-Crete, and won by a large margin.
"It's a challenge, but I'm used to it," he said. "I also like sharing with people the true passion I have. That's fun."