Incumbent Danny K. Davis (D), Kina Collins (D), and Denarvis Mendenhall (D) are running in the Democratic primary for Illinois’ 7th Congressional District on June 28, 2022. Davis has represented the district in Congress since 1997. Davis and Collins have received the most media attention and funding in this race.
Prior to serving in Congress, Davis served on the Chicago City Council for eleven years as alderman of the 29th Ward. He also served on the Cook County Board of Commissioners from 1990 to 1996. He was elected to the U.S. House to represent Illinois’ 7th Congressional District in 1996 and still holds this office. While in Congress, Davis serves on the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee and is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Progressive Caucus. Davis’ reelection has been endorsed by the governor of Illinois, both U.S. senators from the state, the mayor of Chicago, and others.
Collins became a protest organizer in the wake of the police shooting of Laquan McDonald and founded the Chicago Neighborhood Alliance in 2017 to help end gun violence through civic engagement. Collins ran unsuccessfully in the 7th District’s 2020 Democratic primary. She has also served on the transition team and task force for gun violence prevention under President Joe Biden (D). Collins’ campaign has been endorsed by several alderman in the 7th district and the national political organizations Indivisible, Justice Democrats, and the National Organization for Women.
Davis has focused his campaign on familiarity with the district’s voters, saying “This is my community…This is my home. This is my life.” Davis’ campaign yard signs read, “Re-elect Danny Davis. He’s someone you know,” and his campaign website highlights his congressional voting record and seniority on congressional committees and caucuses.
Despite agreeing with Davis on most political issues, Collins’ campaign has focused on providing the district with a fresh voice in Washington. Collins emphasizes the fact that Davis has represented the district since she was in kindergarten and says that it is time for a change. She says, “ I’m not just running to be the congresswoman in the Illinois 7th, but to talk about a vision for the Democratic Party, which includes young people, people of color, women, and those who do not come from traditional political backgrounds.” Analysts have described this primary race as a bellwether for generational tensions within the Democratic Party.
Before the primary, the Cook Political Report, Sabato’s Crystal Ball, and Inside Elections all rated Illinois’ 7th Congressional District as a solid/safe Democratic seat. This means that the winner of the Democratic primary is also likely to win the general election.