Following the GOP race for Illinois’ 16th Congressional district the last few weeks would almost guarantee the onset of vertigo. The race features a classic confrontation between a veteran politician–Don Manzullo–against a young, talented upstart–Adam Kinzinger.
Kinzinger, who handily beat blue-dog Democrat Debbie Halvorson two years ago and has since impressed many, found himself without a political home when Illinois’ majority Democrats drew the new congressional map. About the only palpable option he had was to challenge the venerable Manzullo. At the time, it seemed to make sense as Manzullo was heavily rumored to be ready to retire. Even though Manzullo slow-rolled his decision, it was difficult for Kinzinger to get an operation cranked up in the 16th since Illinois’ GOP congressional delegation agreed to a court challenge of the new map. The lawsuit fizzled, leaving Kinzinger with a shorter time frame to mount a challenge against a newly re-focused Manzullo who had since decided he wanted to keep his job.
Early on in the campaign, Kinzinger had all the momentum. At one point not too long ago, we polled Kinzinger up by as much as 13 percent. That support, as the old expression says, may have been “a mile wide and an inch deep.” Manzullo and his campaign team have ferociously fought back to the point that the race is a dead heat. How close is it? We went out to the hundredth of a percentage point to show you:Type: Automated - Date: 3/11-12//2012 - Participants: 1,605 Likely GOP voters - Margin of Error: ± 2.44%
Logic dictates that Manzullo has the momentum leading into Illinois’ March 20 Primary, but Kinzinger continues to surprise and impress many with his abilities, and may have a better GOTV effort overall. As in any race, estimates concerning turnout vary greatly depending on who’s handicapping the contest.
At any rate, it may be a very late night for the folks in Illinois 16.