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Lane Evans Retires

Illiinois Democratic Congressman Lane Evans announced his retirement yesterday after serving 24 years in the House representing the 17th district. Evans was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in 1995 but didn't make the news public it until three years later.

In 2004, Evans' opponent, Republican Andrea Zinga, made his health an issue by saying ""People who are on the medications he is on may have trouble with judgment, which can be worsened by excitement or stress." Bad move. Evans easily fended her off, winning by 22 points.

With Evans stepping aside the 17th is suddenly very much in play, though Democrats feel confident they'll be able to hold the heavily-gerrymandered district with a hand-picked successor. Republicans note that the district showed a big swing toward Bush in 2004 - he lost it to Kerry by only 3 points, 51-48 - after losing it 54-44 to Al Gore in 2000.

Ms. Zinga is back as the GOP nominee after squeezing out a victory in last Tuesday's competitive three-way primary by roughly 300 votes. The upside is that she's a known quantity with high name recognition in the district, the downside is she exits the primary essentially broke.