So we won't just be voting for our junior Senator who is running for the Democratic Presidential nomination (he had just won in South Carolina, btw) but we've got congressional races to worry about among other things come February 5th. Here are the congressional races of note in this article...
-3rd District: Democratic Rep. Daniel Lipinski ascended to this Chicago-area seat -- held by his father, William, for more than two decades -- in 2004, in a classic example of party insiders flexing their muscles. (The elder Lipinski won his party's nomination that year, then announced his retirement less than two weeks before the deadline to replace a candidate who withdraws; he put forward his son, who was nominated with no opposition.) Lawyer Mark Pera is challenging the close connection between the Lipinskis and has become a darling of the liberal Net roots. Still, the race is a long shot for the challenger.
-8th District: Wealthy businessman and former minor-league hockey player Steve Greenberg is touted as a blue-chip recruit by national Republicans. Assuming he gets through the primary, Greenberg will face Rep. Melissa Bean (D) in November in a GOP-leaning district that she has held since 2005.
-10th District: Democrat Dan Seals, who came within six points of knocking off Rep. Mark Steven Kirk (R) in 2006 in this affluent district north of Chicago, is back for a second run, facing former Clinton administration official Jay Footlik in next week's primary. Seals has won the endorsement of Illinois Sen. Richard J. Durbin and is the heavy favorite, despite the fact Footlik has been well financed.
-14th District: The resignation of former House speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R) has set off a special election to replace him, a contest that is among the nastiest in the country. In the GOP primary race, dairy magnate Jim Oberweis is bashing state Sen. Chris Lauzen for accepting contributions (later returned) from a company that was sued over a series of sexual harassment claims; Lauzen is pushing back, casting Oberweis's ad as a "cruel, politically motivated lie." Hastert has endorsed Oberweis, but the race is up in the air. Scientist Bill Foster is the likely Democratic nominee. The primary winners will face each other in a special election on March 8.
-18th District: Youthful state Rep. Aaron Schock -- he's 26! -- is the favorite to win the three-way Republican primary to replace retiring Rep. Ray LaHood (R) in this downstate district. Democrats have struggled to find a top-tier recruit, so if Schock wins the primary nod, he will be favored to claim the seat in November.