February 28, 2024

Analysis: 7th District U.S. House of Representatives Race

By Ola Stepien

Things are only continuing to heat up during the Illinois 7th District Congressional Election as Primary Election Day comes closer for voters.

Incumbent Danny Davis, 82, is running for reelection gaining several endorsements from Gov. JB Pritzker, Toni Prekwinkle, several state representatives and senators and more. 

However, Davis’ age came into question as candidates debated if he is fit enough for the role after 27 years. In addition, based on interviews conducted with WTTW and the Chicago Sun-Times, Davis will continue the same work in the district, giving short and direct answers, not going into detail. However, he continues to gather support from several contributors, like the Home Depot Inc. Political Action Committee, Service Employees International Union, National Association of Realtors Political Action Committee and several individual contributors.

Current Chicago City Treasurer Melissa Conyaers-Ervin, 48, who has lived in the district, is running for the seat with endorsements from the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), Illinois Nurses Association, Chicago Firefighters Union Local 2 and some alderpeople. As of Dec. 31, Conyears-Ervin has raised the most money out of the three top candidates – Davis and Kina Collins – amidst undergoing an investigation based on violating ethics ordinances. 

Candidate bios: 7th District US House | State’s attorney

Some of Conyears-Ervin’s top contributors include Ald. Jason Ervin (28th Ward) who contributed $5,000, Premier Artist Productions LLC with a contribution of $3,300 and Women for a Better Westside with a contribution of $1,000.

Running against Davis for the third time is Collins, 33, former executive director for the nonprofit Democratizing Philanthropy Project. She stepped down from the position to focus on her reelection campaign. In 2022, when running against Davis, she lost with 46% of the vote. Collins has endorsements from several progressive Democrats in the city, like Ald. Daniel La Sparta (1st Ward) and Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th Ward) and others. 

While Collins has not raised as much money as her two opponents, she is hosting a benefit concert with The Strokes, as she did in 2022. The top contributors to her campaign include the founder of the Blue Raven Campaigns, Joshua Kaufman, who contributed $3,000; Abe Matthew for Police District Council, with a contribution of $500; and 25th Ward Independent Political Organization, with a contribution of $150.

There are several concerns among voters in the 7th District. Locally, each candidate has different plans for tackling issues inside the district. Davis will work on narrowing the poverty levels in the area, Conyears-Ervin wants to work on neighborhood investments, and Collins is looking to address present medical issues in the district.

Another point of concern is the current migrant crisis in the city. Davis and Conyears-Ervin and Davis discuss how the situation and conditions at the border need to improve, as Conyears-Ervin also highlights how the challenges affect families. 

However, Davis also discusses how there needs to be restrictions on the number of migrants entering. Collins and Conyears-Ervin support the DREAM Act and believe this will help mitigate issues within the current immigration system. But Collins also wants to focus on working with Gov. JB Pritzker to get local towns and villages in the surrounding areas to aid with the influx of migrants.

Alongside these three, Nikhil Bhatia, 36, a high-school teacher at Gary Comer College Prep, is also running. His contributors to his campaign include the Leadership for Educational Equity. To learn more about Bhatia’s campaign, visit his site and interview with the Sun-Times.

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