PI Original Josh Kalven Tuesday July 21st, 2009, 12:12pm

All Eyes On IL-10 (UPDATED)

Now that GOP Rep. Mark Kirk has officially launched his U.S. Senate bid, the race is on for his soon-to-be-vacated 10th Congressional District seat.  Having poured substantial sums of money into last year's unsuccessful challenge by Dan Seals, the Democratic ...

Now that GOP Rep. Mark Kirk has officially launched his U.S. Senate bid, the race is on for his soon-to-be-vacated 10th Congressional District seat.  Having poured substantial sums of money into last year's unsuccessful challenge by Dan Seals, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) likely would have stayed away from the race in 2010 if Kirk had stayed put.  But with the seat open, you can bet they'll be targeting it once the general election rolls around.  The question is this: Who will emerge as the Democratic candidate?

Well, as Capitol Fax reports, Seals announced via email today that he plans to take a third shot at the district:

I am running to help the families of our community get back on solid ground. I have been struck by how this economic downturn has hit people of all communities and economic strata. I will work to make healthcare and energy costs more affordable, while focusing on job growth for our community. I know that President Obama shares these values, and I look forward to the opportunity to join President Obama in working towards a brighter future for our children and our community.

We wrote recently about State Sen. Michael Bond (D-Grayslake), who began raising money for a 10th District bid less than two months ago.  Susan Garrett (D-Lake Forest) is another state lawmaker thought to be considering a bid.  However, Roll Call reports today that she is staying put and Rep. Julie Hamos (D-Evanston) is looking at the race:

National Democrats have tried to recruit state Sen. Susan Garrett (D) in the 10th district for the past few cycles, but she has resisted a bid each time. In a phone interview Monday, Garrett said she has decided not to run for the open-seat race.

“I made the decision this weekend, albeit it wasn’t easy,” Garrett said. “I’m here to stay for a while.”

Garrett is close with state Rep. Julie Hamos (D), who she said will move from Rep. Jan Schakowsky’s (D) neighboring district into the 10th district to run. Hamos did not return a call for comment on the race, but Garrett said she would be likely to support her at some point in the campaign.

Hamos was previously thought to be gearing up for an attorney general campaign (in the expectation that Lisa Madigan would run for higher office).  A potential bid for lieutenant governor is another possibility.  In the first six months of this year, she raised $233,000, though none of that money could be used in a congressional race.

Roll Call has more on the potential GOP candidates, including State Reps. Beth Coulson and Ed Sullivan, businesswoman Patricia Bird, and businessman Bill Strong.

UPDATE (2:30 pm): Greg Hinz writes that "some think" Merchandise Mart CEO Chris Kennedy might take a look at a 10th District run, rather than a Democratic bid for Senate.

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