Incumbent Danny K. Davis, Kina Collins, and Denarvis Mendenhall ran in the Democratic primary for Illinois’ 7th Congressional District on June 28, 2022. Davis, who has represented the district in Congress since 1997, won the primary with 52.3% of the vote. Collins received 45.3% of the vote, and Mendenhall received 2.4%.
Davis 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 highlighted his congressional voting record and seniority on congressional committees and caucuses. Collins’ campaign did not draw a contrast with Davis on policy but said Collins would provide the district with a fresh voice in Washington. Collins emphasized the fact that Davis has represented the district since she was in kindergarten and said that it was time for a change. She said, “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.” Collins’ campaign raised more money than Davis’, according to reports from the Federal Election Commission. Analysts described this primary race as a bellwether for generational tensions within the Democratic Party.
Prior to serving in Congress, Davis served on the Chicago City Council for 11 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. Davis served on the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee and was a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Progressive Caucus. Davis’ re-election was endorsed by President Joe Biden (D), Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker (D), Illinois Senators Tammy Duckworth (D) and Dick Durbin (D), and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
Collins became a protest organizer in the wake of the Chicago police shooting of Laquan McDonald in 2014 and founded the Chicago Neighborhood Alliance, a group describing its goal as to help end gun violence through civic engagement, in 2017. Collins lost to Davis in Illinois’ 7th Congressional District’s 2020 Democratic primary. She also served on the transition team and task force for gun violence prevention under President Joe Biden (D). Collins’ campaign was endorsed by several aldermen in the 7th District and the national political organizations Indivisible, Justice Democrats, and National Organization for Women.
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, meaning that as the winner of the Democratic primary, Davis is very likely to win the general election as well.