The 4th congressional district of Illinois includes part of Cook County, and has been represented by Democrat Jesús "Chuy" García since January 2019.
In November 2017, incumbent Luis Gutiérrez announced that he would retire from Congress at the end of his current term, and not seek re-election in 2018. Jesús "Chuy" García was elected on November 6, 2018.
It was featured by The Economist as one of the most strangely drawn and gerrymandered congressional districts in the country and has been nicknamed "earmuffs" due to its shape. It was created after federal courts ordered the creation of a majority-Hispanic district in the Chicago area. The Illinois General Assembly responded by packing two majority Hispanic parts of Chicago into a single district.
This district covers two strips running east–west across the city of Chicago, on the west side continuing into smaller portions of some suburban areas in Cook County, surrounding Illinois's 7th congressional district. The northern portion is largely Puerto Rican, while the southern portion is heavily Mexican-American. The two sections are only connected by a piece of Interstate 294 to the west; the highway is in the district while the surrounding areas are not. It is the smallest congressional district in area outside New York City and California.
The 4th District includes the Chicago community of Brighton Park, in addition to almost all of Hermosa, Lower West Side and Gage Park; parts of Albany Park, Irving Park, Avondale, Logan Square, West Town, Humboldt Park, Belmont Cragin, Austin, McKinley Park, South Lawndale, New City, West Elsdon and Archer Heights; portions of riverfront Bridgeport; the portion of North Center southwest of Clybourn Avenue; and the northwestern tip of Lincoln Park.
Since the 2011 redistricting, the district also includes portions of Berwyn, Brookfield, Cicero, Lyons, Melrose Park, Riverside, and Elmwood Park.
The Illinois 4th Congressional District was originally formed in 1842. It included 17 counties, which were Cook, Lake, McHenry, Boone, De Kalb, Kane, Du Page, Will, Kendall, Grundy, La Salle, Bureau, Livingston, Iroquois, McLean, Vermilion and Champaign Counties. Beyond this Ford and Kankakee Counties were part of Vermillion and Iroquois Counties respectively at this point and thus in the district's boundaries.In the redistricting following the 1990 United States Census, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and Governor Jim Edgar both wanted a Latino district, as Latinos were the fastest growing demographic group in the state at the time. In June 1991, Congressman Dennis Hastert, a suburban Republican, filed a federal lawsuit claiming that the existing congressional map was unconstitutional; the present congressional district boundaries emerged as a result of that lawsuit. A three-judge panel of the federal district court adopted the map proposed by Hastert and other Republican members of the Illinois Congressional delegation. Subsequent lawsuits challenging the redistricting as racially biased did not succeed in redrawing the district boundaries. The district, as it was in 2009, was in some places less than 50 metres wide and parts covered no more than one city block.