National Redistricting News


December 2000 - February 2001


More Redistricting News

 

The Washington Post
Parties Play Voting Rights Role Reversal
By Thomas B. Edsall
February 25, 2001

Every 10 years, the Democratic and Republican parties change places on a key issue of civil rights policy. Soon after the start of each decade -- when, as now, it comes time to begin reapportioning congressional districts -- the GOP abruptly becomes the advocate of tough enforcement of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which protects the interests of black voters during the redistricting process. At the same time many Democrats abandon their commitment to the broad interpretation of the law, which seeks to increase black representation by concentrating minority voters. Democrats call instead for a looser and less binding approach to the application of the Voting Rights Act. Designed to prohibit attempts to restrict black representation, the act has produced a surge in black representation in southern House delegations.

But during redistricting neither Democrats nor Republicans are driven by ideology, but by a desire to maximize their representation in Congress. Republicans calculate that for every overwhelmingly black Democratic district created, there is a good chance of creating two or more districts that are overwhelmingly white and Republican. Democrats, conversely, know that in the South their party does not win majorities among whites. Their best strategy is to create as many districts as possible with 25 percent to 40 percent black voters. These largely loyal Democratic voters coupled with the third or so of the white electorate that traditionally votes the same way can send a Democrat to Congress. The issue of race is crucial as state legislatures prepare to redraw congressional, state house and state Senate lines to meet one-person, one-vote standards.

Based on the finding of the 2000 census, 10 states will lose at least one seat in Congress by 2002, including two each for Pennsylvania and New York, and eight states will gain seats, including two each for Florida, Georgia, Texas and Arizona. In northern states losing seats, white Democrats are most in danger. Much of the population decline is concentrated in urban areas with large black populations. If existing black seats are preserved in these areas, the most threatened incumbents become those in nearby white areas, such as districts in the suburban ring counties of Detroit and Cleveland. Many of these legislators are Democrats. In the South, much of the population growth has been in white, Republican-leaning suburbs. In that region, Democrats want to "pack" as many solid GOP voters together in as few districts as possible, while increasing the number of racially mixed districts in which Democratic candidates would have a chance.

The GOP in the South has a directly contradictory goal: to "pack" as many African American voters as possible in as few districts as possible to increase the chances of winning the remaining majority-white districts. The decennial metamorphosis of the two political parties on enforcement of the Voting Rights Act lasts roughly two years, or about the time it takes to redraw congressional districts across the nation. Republicans, including Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (Va.), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, are gearing up to counter the efforts of Democrats to spread out minority voters. "We have attorneys ready," Davis said at a recent luncheon meeting with editors and reporters at The Washington Post. "You have the issue of retrogression. If you take a district that is 60 percent minority now, and a Democratic legislature makes it 55 percent to spread those voters out to help other Democrats, that is retrogression," and it violates the Voting Rights Act, Davis argued.

Democrats reply that Republican civil rights sympathies are cynical and mask the GOP goal of "packing" the maximum number possible of black voters into districts that then elect black Democratic representatives while diminishing overall black "influence" by segregating African Americans into just a few districts. "Our goal is to not allow Republicans to use redistricting to put us in a permanent minority status," declared Gerald Hebert, general counsel to IMPAC 2000, the Democratic Party's major redistricting organization. "We fully expect the Republicans to try to keep the districts packed, and attempt to pack them with high levels of minorities." The overall shift in congressional representation from north to south should benefit the GOP, Davis said, because most of the states losing seats voted for Al Gore, while most of those gaining seats voted for President Bush. Neither party has an overall political advantage in the current redistricting efforts.

In Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio, for example, the GOP controls both legislative branches and the governorship. Democrats control all three in North Carolina, Georgia and California. Strategists in both parties are preparing to take every adverse political redistricting outcome to court. If many or all redistricting cases end up in the courts, the Supreme Court could set legal standards crucial to determining which party controls the House. The most volatile, and unsettled, legal issue in redistricting is race and judicial interpretation of the Voting Rights Act. Since the early 1990s, the Supreme Court has rejected plans drawn with race as the "predominant" factor that supersedes other factors such as county boundaries, incumbency protection and compactness. The court has not ruled out the use of race as one of many factors to be considered.

Since 1992, the Supreme Court has ordered the redrawing of oddly drawn districts with majority-black constituencies in North Carolina, Florida, Georgia and Louisiana. Those Supreme Court rulings proved highly beneficial to Democratic strategists on two counts: First, the court effectively rejected "packing," the Republican-supported approach of creating "super-majority" black districts with African American percentages of 65 percent or more. Second, after many majority-black districts were redrawn, reducing the proportion of black voters in each district to less than 50 percent, all the African American incumbents who sought reelection from those districts won back their seats. Strategists say that shows that black candidates in the South can win a substantial percentage of white votes. The court now has before it a new challenge to North Carolina's 12th District, a challenge that the justices may use to give further direction to the post-2000 redistricting. As originally drawn in 1991, the district curved along Interstate 85 for 160 miles from Gastonia outside Charlotte to Durham, producing a 57 percent black electorate. Rep. Melvin Watt (D) won the House seat in 1992. After a series of challenges by white voters protesting racial gerrymandering, the district was redrawn in 1998 to become far more compact, with the proportion of African Americans reduced to 36 percent. Watt retained the seat in the 1998 election, beating a white Republican by 56 percent to 42 percent. Watt won again in 2000, with 65 percent of the vote.

Under a tough interpretation of Section V of the Voting Rights Act by the Bush administration Justice Department in 1991-92, southern state legislatures significantly increased the number of majority-black districts. As a result, the number of blacks elected to the House from the South shot from five to 17. Increased black representation from black districts also coincided with Republican gains in much of the rest of the South. The simultaneous increase in representation by both blacks and Republicans has prompted a surge of scholarly interest in the redistricting process. Three researchers -- Bernard Grofman of the University of California at Irvine, Lisa Handley of Frontier International Electoral Consulting and David Lublin of American University -- recently challenged the arguments of earlier civil rights advocates, who argued that black candidates needed majority-black districts to win. After studying results in southern congressional and legislative districts, the authors argue that black candidates needed "less than 50 percent in every instance, and in most cases . . . in the range of 33-39 percent black [voters to win]." If this view is sustained by the courts, the politics of redistricting in 2001-02 will be very different from those of a decade ago.

Atlanta Journal and Constitution
Census Shifts Can't Fully Predict Redistricting Results
By Charles W. Holmes
January 14, 2001

The political landscape across America will shift this year as state legislatures, furnished with new population data from the 2000 census, redraw the boundaries of congressional and legislative districts. But how it will look and who will gain in the 2002 midterm elections is anybody's guess, despite early GOP predictions that the population surge in the Sun Belt will be a boon for Republicans. State-by-state figures released late last month by the Census Bureau showing a national head count of 281.4 million Americans appear to favor Republicans. As a result of the census, eight states in the South and West, most of them won by President-elect George W. Bush in last year's close election, picked up 12 congressional seats. Those seats were taken from 10 states in the Northeast and Midwest and reflect the population shift toward the Sun Belt. Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, is ''cautiously optimistic'' that the GOP could see significant ''double-digit gains'' in the House in the 2002 midterm elections.

Republicans now hold only a 10 seat majority in the House, 221-211. But the census numbers tell only part of the story and make political forecasting difficult, independent analysts say. The outcome of mapmaking battles to be waged in coming months will be determined by a variety of factors, including party control in state legislatures, federal oversight to protect minority rights and inevitable court battles over how the lines are drawn. And by Election Day next year, the changing face of the electorate in fast- growing states --- especially among Latinos and independent voters --- makes it impossible to tell which party will gain seats in Congress. ''The simple fact that certain states grow is not enough to tell us who gets the advantage,'' said Rob Richie, executive director of the nonpartisan Center for Voting and Democracy near Washington. Bush, who defeated Al Gore by four electoral votes, 271-267, would have won by 18 votes under the shift of congressional seats caused by the 2000 census.

In the new apportioning of 435 House seats, Georgia, Florida, Texas and Arizona each will gain two seats. California, Colorado, Nevada and North Carolina will gain one new seat apiece. New York and Pennsylvania each will lose two congressional seats. Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma and Wisconsin will lose one seat apiece. Redistricting across the 50 states won't begin until March, when the Census Bureau is scheduled to release detailed population data down to the block level. Control in state legislatures, like politics throughout the country as reflected in the presidential election, is nearly even. Nationally, Republicans control legislatures in 18 states, while Democrats dominate in 16 states. Party control is split between the upper and lower chambers in 15 states. ''Even if one party has entire control of the process, it is not a mandate to gerrymander your opponent into oblivion,'' said Tim Storey, a redistricting specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Only one state of the eight that gained congressional seats --- Florida --- is controlled completely by a House and Senate dominated by Republicans. Democrats control the legislatures in California, Georgia and North Carolina. The legislatures in Arizona, Colorado, Texas and Nevada are shared, with Republicans controlling one chamber and Democrats the other. In Pennsylvania, which lost two seats, a solid GOP majority in the Legislature will draw the new map, naturally expected to favor Republicans. Historically, midterm elections tend to repudiate the new White House incumbent, giving gains to the party out of power --- in the case of 2002, the Democrats. Rep. Martin Frost of Texas, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, asserts that neither party can count on major gains from redistricting.

"We're at political parity now, and we'll be at political parity after redistricting," Frost said. "Anyone who claims redistricting will be a slam- dunk for either party is just blowing smoke. The 2002 elections will be the most wide open and competitive we've seen in some time." The Democrats may have the edge in some states, he said, because of the rapid population changes occurring in the South and West, particularly the growing number of Latinos. In all but Florida, Latino voters tend to favor Democrats. For example, the Republican Party has steadily seen its power in California eroded by the state's Latino immigrants and the growth of independent voters. President Clinton carried the state in 1992 and 1996, and Gore won it last year. Analysts think Democrats could pick up another congressional seat or two in the 2002 elections.

Legislatures must draw districts to be geographically contiguous and nearly equal in population --- to reflect the one-person, one-vote principle. Also, the federal Voting Rights Act gives the Justice Department the ability to review and approve redistricting plans in states with a history of racially biased elections. The process this year is expected to generate more lawsuits than usual because the Census Bureau may release two sets of numbers --- one statistically altered to compensate for the historic undercount, especially of minorities and children, and another unadjusted head count. The Census Bureau plans to announce next month whether it will release both sets of data. If it does, state legislatures will be able to choose which set to use. 

ON THE WEB: For more information about U.S. Census Bureau redistricting: www.census.gov/clo/www/redistricting.html



Stateline.org
State Lawmakers Facing Redistricting, Budgeting 
Clare Nolan
January 9, 2001

On top of their normal work load, lawmakers in nearly every state must redraw their Congressional and legislative districts this spring, making the upcoming statehouse sessions the busiest in recent memory. In 2001, legislatures will convene in every state, with all but six starting work this month. In addition to redrawing their political maps, most will also have to make spending decisions for the upcoming 2002 fiscal year. As they do every year, tax and budget issues will dominate agendas across the country. "We've had six years of net state tax cuts," said Gene Rose of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). "It'll be interesting to see if states can go a seventh year, this year."

According to a survey released Friday (Jan. 5) by NCSL, boosting funding for education remains a high priority among lawmakers in many states, as does meeting the growing demands of state Medicaid budgets. Lawmakers will likely introduce more bills on education and health care this year than on any other topic, Rose said. The results of the 2000 census released Dec. 28 mean the Congressional delegations of 18 states will either shrink or expand in time for the 2002 elections. Ten states are slated to lose at least one seat in the U.S House of Representatives and eight states will pick up at least one seat. New York and Pennsylvania -- the biggest losers -- will have to give up two of their seats. Delegations from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Oklahoma and Mississippi will shrink by one each. Eight states will pick up seats. Texas, Georgia, Florida and Arizona will each gain two new Congressmen. The delegations for North Carolina, Nevada, Colorado and California will grow by one. In all of those states but Arizona, state lawmakers are charged with carving out the new districts or wiping the old ones off the map. In another 25 states, lines will still have to be redrawn -- albeit with less dramatic results -- to keep pace with population growth since the last census in 1990. The remaining seven states have only one representative in the U.S. House.

Not all the states, however, have left Congressional redistricting in the hands of the legislature. Six states -- Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, New Jersey and Washington -- have moved the responsibility to state commissions or appointed commissions. In another six states, panels will also draw new boundaries for state legislative seats: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Missouri, Ohio and Pennsylvania. In the other 38 states, lawmakers will decide their own fates, as well as those of members of Congress. Because the dominant party is expected to create a map tilted in its favor, often by lumping its constituents together as closely as it can, the legislative sessions of 2001 are likely to be highly politically charged. The results of redistricting can effect party control for the next decade. Whether decided by commission or lawmakers, "redistricting is inherently political," said Tim Storey of NCSL.

Not until March will lawmakers learn from the Census Bureau exactly where within their state people have moved. At the beginning of the session, they can start making plans, but the mad dash really gets underway when the concrete data arrive. And that's when most lawmakers also get down to` and-bolts discussions over the state budget. As a result of the rapid economic slowdown, many states are reporting less interest in adding to the tax cuts of recent years, says NCSL's tax expert Arturo Perez. Every year, Perez and his colleagues survey the economic outlook in the 50 states as legislative sessions begin. "For five or six years now, this report has been relatively easy to write," Perez said. "State have reported that revenues are at or above expectations. It was the same old song for so long. Now it's changing." In the most recent report, less than half the states -- 21 -- said tax cuts would be on the legislative agenda this year.

But only three -- Washington, Kansas and Alaska -- reported that they might consider tax hikes for the 2002 fiscal year. Washington and Kansas lawmakers are contemplating increases to provide additional services, not to make up for revenue shortfalls, Perez said. Alaska legislators plan to continue an ongoing debate over ways to diversify the state's revenue stream. Alaska relies on oil revenues for 75 percent of its general fund and in recent years has considered creating an income tax or sales tax to protect government programs in lean drilling years. In general, Perez said, states are adjusting to slower rates of revenue growth, but none are reporting circumstances that would require large tax increases or sharp spending cuts. State lawmakers throughout the country must also contend this year with local fallout from the presidential election. Of particular interest are measures to update voting machines to assure more accurate counts, says NCSL's Tim Storey.

But states will also be looking at measures to increase voter turnout and reduce fraud -- two goals that often conflict. The sleeper issue of 2001 may be protecting the privacy of genetic information. "It's definitely an issue that state legislators are going to have come up to speed on very quickly," Rose said. In 2000, two states, Massachusetts and Maine, passed measures to ban discrimination based on genetic information. Although Michigan's law limited its protections largely to health care providers, Massachusetts law went further and prohibited discrimination in housing and other areas. The NCSL says lawmakers in seven other states are knowledgeable about the issue and prepared for debates this year: Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah and Washington.

Bills to deter drunken driving with lower limits on blood-alcohol levels will likely resurface in Iowa, Missouri and other states this year. After voters in Colorado and Arizona rejected ballot initiatives to establish growth limits around cities, lawmakers in those states are likely to try to address the issue of urban sprawl. Helping low-income seniors pay for prescription drugs will also return to the policy agenda in states this year. Twenty-three states have already adopted plans, including four in 2000: Indiana, Kansas, Florida and South Carolina. Lawmakers will also have to contend in 2001 with the divisive issue of the death penalty and whether to allow inmates access to DNA testing in order to appeal their convictions. And, legislators in many states will be closely watching events in California as lawmakers there grapple with the results of a utility deregulation bill passed several years ago. Power shortages in California have forced policymakers everywhere to reconsider the wisdom of deregulation.



Associated Press Online
Population Shifts Alter US Politics
Will Lester
January 5, 2001

Republicans sense a big opportunity in the 2002 congressional elections given new Census figures that caused a dozen congressional seats to slide from traditionally Democratic territory to conservative regions in the South and West. Despite the shifts, Democrats say they should be able to hold their own after the districts are redrawn. The truth is that nobody really knows which side will gain ground in the process of redrawing congressional districts a task both complicated and contentious.

''There's no way to know unless you've got a direct link to the psychic hot line,'' quipped Tim Storey, a redistricting analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures.

A variety of factors make it nearly impossible to clearly predict results in the 2002 congressional elections. Those factors include which party controls a state's government and controls how the state legislatures draw the lines, what happens in the courts (where many of the remap battles end up) and how effectively the parties campaign at the local level. Republicans currently control just 10 more seats than Democrats in the House, 221-211, making any shift between parties in the next House election even more significant.

The influence of the population shift on future presidential politics is almost as big a mystery. President-elect Bush would have won by 18 electoral votes in the new alignment, 278-260, rather than by four, 271-267. But that says little about what could happen in four years. The shift of population from the Northeast and Midwest found in the 2000 Census continues a geographical trend. ''In any reapportionment, if you grab the country by Maine and shake vigorously, seats will drop to the south and west,'' said Tom Hoffler, a redistricting expert for the Republican National Committee. The population figures released late last month give more House seats to eight states including two apiece in Florida, Georgia, Texas and Arizona and takes some away in 10 two apiece in New York and Pennsylvania. Under the Constitution, each state receives at least one seat, and the remaining seats are divided up according to the changing population after each census.

The battle to redraw district lines in the states will begin in March when the Census Bureau releases more detailed results of the count. Rep. Thomas Davis, the Virginia Republican who chairs the National Republican Congressional Committee, has said the shift should result in a minimum gain of 10 seats for his party.

''We won't know the new playing field for a while yet, but I'm cautiously optimistic that redistricting is going to turn into gains for House Republicans,'' Davis said Thursday. Rep. Martin Frost, a Texas Democrat who is chair of the House Democratic Caucus, counters that Democrats could break even, but that neither side will have a big advantage after redistricting is completed. The increase in population in states gaining seats doesn't necessarily help Republicans, he said.

''Six of those eight states have had a very significant increase in Hispanic population,'' Frost said, noting that Hispanics in most states tend to support Democrats. The migration of new residents to the South and West could dilute Republican strength and make those fast-growing states more independent. And Democrats expect to do well in 2002 since the opposition party usually gains ground in non-presidential election years.

The states that gained seats are Arizona, Georgia, Florida and Texas, which get two more seats each, while California, Colorado, Nevada and North Carolina each gain one. New York and Pennsylvania lose two seats each, while Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma and Wisconsin lose one apiece. Three Southern states that gained seats, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina, have shown increased Democratic strength in recent elections. And Democrats control state government in Georgia and North Carolina, while Republicans control Florida. Among the losing states, Pennsylvania may be the most painful for Democrats when Republicans get to redraw the map with fewer seats. New York also is losing two seats, but the parties share control of state government, so the losses likely will be split.

''It's a mistake for either side to claim they have a huge advantage in the reapportionment process,'' Democratic Party spokeswoman Jenny Backus said. ''There's good news for Democrats and good news for Republicans.'' And the act of drawing districts that look good on paper won't be enough. ''After you draw the lines,'' said Republican Hoffler, ''you still have to go out and win those states.''

Roll Call
Loss of Seats Likely to Create Battles Between Sitting House Members   
By John Mercurio 
January 4, 2001


Rep. Chip Pickering (R-Miss.) ran unopposed in 1998 and stomped all over his Democratic challenger last year, sailing to a third term with 73 percent of the vote. Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) has also dominated his foes in recent races, taking 65 percent in November. Both Members ended 2000 with well-stocked war chests. But the cakewalks Brown and Pickering have enjoyed could soon be history. Like more than a dozen other Members from states that will lose House seats in the post-census reapportionment, Brown and Pickering are bracing for 2002 races in changed districts and the possibility that they could face matchups with fellow Members of Congress.

"This will be much different, a much more hard-fought race," conceded Pickering, who said he's preparing for a potential face-off with Rep. Ronnie Shows (D) in a new district drawn by the Democrat-controlled state legislature and Gov. Ronnie Musgrove (D). "Any time you face an incumbent, it's a whole different dynamic. Any other member of this delegation is very capable politically, so we would need to work hard to maintain the support I've had previously."

The Census Bureau announced Dec. 28 that two states, New York and Pennsylvania, will each lose two House seats in 2002. Eight other states - Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma and Wisconsin - will each lose one seat. Legislative leaders in those states cautioned this week that speculation about 2002 is premature. The remapping process won't even begin until the bureau releases further details from the decennial count this spring, which could trigger a round of special sessions this summer in statehouses across the country.

"There's always conventional wisdom here and there, but it is usually wrong, " said Mississippi state Rep. Tommy Reynolds (D), chairman of the Apportionment and Elections Committee, which handles redistricting in the state House. "We still need a lot of information before we can do the actual on-the-ground work."

However, House Members and redistricting agents privately acknowledge that likely scenarios are already being discussed in several states, particularly where one party holds all the cards in the process. That spells trouble  for Members such as Pickering and Brown, with Brown's slow-growing district near Cleveland being heavily targeted by the GOP-controlled legislature and Gov. Bob Taft (R).  Brown, who could be thrown into a race against nearby Reps. Dennis Kucinich (D) or Tom Sawyer (D), said Wednesday that he'll eye career options outside the House, including running for governor or state auditor, if he's forced to run in an untenable district.

"I want to be in Congress, I plan to be in Congress in 2003, and I'm preparing for it every way I can, by doing  my job here and raising money," said Brown, a former Ohio secretary of state who had $1.1 million in reserve on Nov. 27. "But if they divide my district up into six or seven pieces and make it almost unwinnable, I'll look at another race."

Ohio Republicans said they could also create headaches for Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D), whose Toledo-based 9th district grew more slowly than the rest of the Buckeye State in the 1990s. The 9th borders Michigan to the   north and is otherwise surrounded by the 5th, a GOP-leaning district held by Rep. Paul Gillmor (R).

"Kaptur can only go one place, south, which would take her into Gillmor's district, where she would pick up solidly Republican precincts," particularly in Ohio's western reaches, said state GOP Chairman Bob Bennett.

Like Brown, Minority Whip David Bonior (D), who is expected to be a top target of Michigan's GOP-controlled legislature and Gov. John Engler (R), may forgo a tough race by running for governor instead.   Bonior, a scourge of House GOP leaders, has faced increasingly difficult re- election bids since his 10th district   grew more Republican during the 1990s, especially in St. Clair County. He raised $2.3 million in his successful   bid for a 13th term, but he had just $151,000 on hand as of Nov. 27.

Michigan Republicans, citing population losses in Detroit, could also try to force the state's two   African-American Members, Reps. John Conyers (D) and Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D), into one district. But   any move to eliminate a majority-minority district would face strong court challenges.

Gubernatorial bids in 2002 by other House Members would have far-reaching impacts elsewhere. Following President-elect George W. Bush's nomination of Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) to head the   Department of Health and Human Services, for example, Reps. Tom Barrett (D) and Ron Kind (D) have started   talking seriously about gubernatorial bids two years from now.   

A retirement by either House Democrat would be good news for Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), a sophomore  who narrowly won re-election last year and may be targeted by her state's GOP-controlled legislature. If Barrett was to depart from his Milwaukee-based district, where population growth was particularly sluggish  in the 1990s, it could help save Baldwin, since remappers would probably choose to eliminate his district, likely   salvaging her Madison-based seat for Democrats.

In Illinois, where Democrats control the state House and Republicans hold the state Senate and the  governor's office, much of what happens in redistricting may be determined by retirements. Rep. Rod   Blagojevich (D) may vacate his solidly Democratic district to challengeGov. George Ryan (R) in two years, and  14-term Rep. Henry Hyde (R), 76, may retire - especially if Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) declines to extend his chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee.

The outcome is less clear in states where both parties will have seats at the redistricting table. Still, officials   are making early predictions based on census findings in the regions of states that either lost population or  growth was especially slow.

In Connecticut, for example, where Democrats hold the legislature but the governor, John Rowland, is a  Republican, state legislators said Reps. Nancy Johnson (R), James Maloney (D) and Rob Simmons (R), a freshman, are more vulnerable than the state's three other Members.

Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D) and John Larson (D) represent New Haven and Hartford, respectively, and remappers   are unlikely to divide those cities into separate districts, officials said. Democrats, who control the state   Senate, are reluctant to target Rep. Christopher Shays because the moderate Republican has shown he can withstand the influx of large numbers of Democratic voters into his district. Officials said Simmons could end up as the most vulnerable Member in Connecticut. 

Democrats who control the legislature in Oklahoma, where Republicans hold five of the state's six House seats, say they would likely target Rep. Wes Watkins (R), also a potential retiree. Legislators could easily boost Democratic strength in Watkins' district, a traditional Democratic stronghold, by moving Payne and Pawnee  counties - where voters gave Bush some of his largest margins in the state - into Rep. Ernest Istook's   (R) adjacent district.

In Indiana, a scenario has surfaced in which Democrats, who control the state House and the governor's   office, would draw GOP Reps. Brian Kerns, a freshman, and John Hostettler into one district. Democrats said  state House Speaker John Gregg, a Democrat who's eyeing a challenge to Hostettler, wants to move Vigo   County, a Democratic stronghold in the southwestern corner of Kerns' 7th district, into the 8th district to help maximize his party's strength there.

Indiana Republicans, who control the state Senate, could make life difficult for some House Democrats,  including Rep. Peter Visclosky, whose Gary-based district in the state's northwest corner could see the addition of GOP-friendly counties to the south, such as Newton and Jasper.

Perhaps the most blatant maneuvering is occurring in New York and Pennsylvania.    Rep. Amo Houghton (R), for example, didn't wait for the bureau to strike the first blow at his western New York constituents before starting to fight to preserve his district. Last year, months before the bureau announced the Empire State would lose two seats, Houghton lobbied Gov. George Pataki (R) and helped finance GOP candidates for the state Senate, which he hopes will decline to merge his rural district with seats in Rochester or Buffalo.

"One sure way to kill the attractiveness of a rural area is to make it the backwater of a big metropolitan city. Nice people, fine people, but they don't think the way we do," Houghton said. "I realize that two (House  Members) are going to have to take a bath, but I just don't want to be one of them. I'm clean enough already."

New York legislators are drafting plans that would eliminate one Republican House seat, probably upstate, and   one Democratic seat, most likely a New York City-based district. Houghton is clearly a top candidate, while   Democrats said Rep. Joseph Crowley's (D) district, based in Queens, could also be targeted.   

Republicans, who will control the redistricting process in Pennsylvania, have openly discussed plans to force   two House Democrats, one from the east and one from the west, into either GOP-leaning districts or races  against fellow House Democrats.

The Pittsburgh-based district held by Rep. Mike Doyle (D), for example, could be combined with the neighboring 14th, held by Rep. William Coyne (D), and Rep. Joseph Hoeffel (D) could end up in a face-off  against one of the three Philadelphia-area Members, all Democrats.

Providence Journal
Up for the count
By Philip Terzian             
January 4, 2001

The big political story of 2000, of course, took place in Florida. But a bigger story wasn't   strictly political, and it took place here in Washington. That is the U.S. Census.   First, there is the size of the country: 281 million, and counting. Not exactly the People's Republic of China, of course, but impressive nonetheless. Alabama and South Carolina, by themselves, now have larger populations than the whole nation boasted in the first census, in 1790.

When Franklin Roosevelt was elected president in  1932, the population stood at 123 million. In the 20th century, the population better than doubled.  This represents, by the way, a gradual slowing down. In the 19th century, the United States not only extended itself from the Ohio Valley to the Pacific coast, but its population grew from 5.3 million (1800) to   76.2 million (1900). And that was in the middle of the last great wave of immigration to these shores. By 1920, we were up to 106 million.

But it also represents the continuation of a trend. Since the founding of the republic 212 years ago, Americans   have been moving southward and westward, and they are still doing so. In 1790, the statistical center of the   population was 23 miles west of Baltimore; two centuries later, it is in central Missouri.

This relentless  migration is now routinely defined as the growth of the Sun Belt, as though Americans suddenly crave  air-conditioned climates and are abandoning their ancestral homes in New England. Not at all. Americans have   been moving south and west, for whatever reasons, since the opening of the Cumberland Gap in the 1760s.

One might argue, in fact, that the great wave of Eastern European immigration (1880-1920) retarded the process, statistically speaking. The immigrants landed in the East, and tended to concentrate in cities where   industrial jobs were plentiful. Now, immigrants appear at different points of entry, and their numbers are reflected in state populations. California, Texas and Florida (with 68 million people combined) are three of the four most populous states in the nation; New York (18 million) is third. And descendants of those Eastern European immigrants are now as likely to live in Atlanta or Los Angeles as Pittsburgh or Brooklyn.

So much for numbers; what about politics? Shifts in population mean that certain states will gain, or lose,   members in the House of Representatives in order to maintain its 435-seat limit. As a result, Arizona, Georgia, Florida and Texas will be awarded two more seats in Congress, and California, Colorado, Nevada and North  Carolina will gain one. Conversely, New York and Pennsylvania will be stripped of two congressional seats,   while Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma and Wisconsin will lose one each.

This is, on the whole, good news for Republicans. Seven of the eight states gaining representation in Congress   supported George W. Bush in the presidential election, and six of the 10 losing states went for Al Gore.

Congressional districts are, for the most part, designed by state legislatures, and while Democrats made gains  in some Republican strongholds in the last elections, Republicans are better positioned on the whole. Indeed,  as Virginia Rep. Thomas Davis, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, puts it,

"Republicans will control more seats at the bargaining table than at any time since 1920."  

Which is not to say Republicans have nothing to worry about. Reapportionment will provide some insulation for  congressional Republicans, but historically, the party in the White House loses seats in off-year elections. And political trends are mixed, at best. While President-elect Bush defeated an incumbent vice president in peaceful, prosperous times _ no small achievement _ he also found the unions united against him, along with blacks and a majority of Hispanic voters. Silicon Valley is now solidly Democratic, and Democrats won Senate seats in Georgia and Florida.

Well, Georgia and Florida have been sending mixed delegations to Washington for years, and when the Internet bubble bursts, the political complexion of Silicon Valley will betransformed. Which brings us to Hispanics, America's largest immigrant group, and a huge voting bloc. The presumption is that Hispanics _ recent arrivals,  poorer than most Americans _ will remain eternally wedded to the Democratic Party, but is that necessarily so?

There are large differences between Salvadoran refugees in California and Cuban exiles in Florida, and Hispanic public officials are evenly divided between the parties.

Moreover, there is every indication that Hispanics are following the pattern of immigration gradual, but inexorable, assimilation which, in time, could make Hispanics as politically predictable as citizens of, say,  Scottish descent. It's a process the Census has been tracking since 1790.

ABOUT THE WRITER Philip Terzian is the associate editor of the Providence Journal. Write to him at: Providence Journal, 1325 G Street NW, Suite 250, Washington, D.C. 20005. PHOTO of Philip Terzian available from KRT Direct. (c) 2001, The Providence Journal.

Visit projo.com, the online service of The Providence Journal at http://www.projo.com



The Washington Post
The Census Unfolds
December 31, 2000

The Census Bureau has issued the first results from the year 2000 headcount. The state-by-state figures confirm a lot of what you already knew. The population continues to grow pretty steadily -- up by about an eighth since 1990. Most of the growth is where it's warm, in the South and West; there will be ever greater pressure on the water supplies and other resources in those regions. And the pattern would seem to favor Republicans; many of the states that gained are states that have leaned Republican in recent elections.

The gaining states will pick up seats in the House. Again the pattern is familiar. Four Sunbelt states will pick up two seats each. They are Texas, which has moved past New York to become the second-largest state, Florida, Georgia and Arizona. California picks up one seat and will have 53 -- an eighth of the entire House. The losing states are mainly in the North and East. New York and Pennsylvania will each lose two seats; Connecticut, Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin are among those that will lose one.

The reapportionment of seats among the states will be followed by redistricting within them. As the basis for that, the bureau hopes to have a second, better set of numbers available. The second set will be adjusted for the undercount, of poor people and minority groups especially, that continues to plague the census. The bureau this year engaged in elaborate sampling of selected census tracts in order to measure the undercount. If all goes well, it intends this spring to extrapolate from the samples and to publish for every census tract -- and thus every locality and state -- two population figures, one raw, based on the traditional enumeration, and one adjusted. The sampling process has itself, unfortunately, become a political issue. Most statisticians favor it as likely to produce a more accurate result. Most Democrats likewise favor it; they think it is their constituents who in the past have been disproportionately missed. But Republicans are opposed; among much else, they fear it could cost them seats in redistricting, although that is by no means clear.

The question is whether the Bush administration will acquiesce in publication of the adjusted numbers or seek to block them. The president-elect hasn't said, but in the past he has expressed reservations about the sampling process. His commerce secretary-designate, who will have charge of the Census Bureau, hasn't said either. Mr. Bush ought not hesitate on this one. If the Census Bureau professionals decide next year that the adjusted figures are more accurate, he should support them. To do otherwise would be indefensible. The purpose is not to draw congressional districts in a particular way but to produce as accurate a population count as possible -- in this case, to include people who have in the past been missed, vulnerable ones especially. Mr. Bush made such inclusiveness a campaign theme. The census presents him with an early test.

Orange County Register
CONGRESS: 'Equal Proportions' Uses Census to Give States House Seats -- and Take Them Away
By Ronald Campbell
December 30, 2000

A 60-year-old mathematical formula briefly replaced the federal budget as the most politically important set of numbers this week. That formula is the "equal proportions" method. With the release of preliminary U.S. Census results Thursday, equal proportions shifted 12 seats in the House of Representatives. The biggest losers were New York and Pennsylvania, which lost two seats each. Among the winners were California, which gained one seat, and Texas and Florida, which each gained two seats. The formula ensures that the House reflects the shift in the nation's population to the South and West from the Northeast and Midwest. As recently as the 1980s, the Northeast and Midwest had one fewer House seat than the South and West.

After the House is reapportioned in 2002, the South and West will have 51 more seats than the Northeast and Midwest. But the formula has its quirks: The number of constituents per representative varies widely from state to state. Montana's lone House member represents 905,000 people. Rhode Island's two House members represent 495,000 people each. Smaller states get additional seats more easily than larger states. Florida got its second new seat before California got its one new seat, although California added 1 million more people than Florida did. A shift of a few thousand people can determine which states gain or lose a seat. Because the census misses millions of people, some seats may have been awarded to or taken from the wrong states. The formula works like this: Each state is guaranteed one House seat. After that, states get a series of "priority values" for additional seats, based on population and a multiplier. The multiplier declines with each seat a state gets, reducing its priority value for the next seat. The multiplier is 0.707 for any state's second seat -- one divided by the square root of two (the number of seats) times two (the number of seats again) minus one. The multiplier declines to 0.105 for the 10th seat, 0.051 for the 20th seat, 0.0253 for the 40th seat, 0.0202 for the 50th seat.

So California had an unbeatable 24 million priority value for its second seat -- 33.9 million residents times 0.707. By the time it was vying for its 50th seat, however, California's priority value had sunk to 685,000. The result: Nevada, with 2 million residents, got its third seat before California got its 43rd. Colorado, population 4.3 million, got its seventh seat before California got its 51st. Arizona, population 5.1 million, got its eighth seat before California got its 50th. Until 1910, Congress avoided stripping seats from slow-growing states by increasing the size of the House after every census. That year, Congress froze the House at 435 members. Since then, every census but one has shifted seats among states. Congress stalemated after the 1920 census, refusing to shift seats from farm states to fast-growing urban and Western states. Congress adopted the equal-proportions method after the 1940 census. It survived two Supreme Court challenges after the 1990 census.

Congress experimented with four simpler apportionment methods before adopting equal proportions: Thomas Jefferson devised the first formula -- adopting a nationwide ratio of people per House member and dividing each state's population by that ratio. Fractions didn't count. If a state's population was 2.99 times the national ratio, it got two House members. The second method, championed by Daniel Webster, rounded fractions. If a state's ratio was 2.51, it got three House seats. The Vinton or Hamilton method, used from 1850 to 1900, combined the earlier approaches. Each state got a number of members based on a national ratio. Additional seats were assigned one at a time to the states with the largest fractions after the initial division. When Congress decided to freeze the number of House members in 1910, it adopted a variation of Webster's method, using a ratio that produced a predetermined number of representatives. The system was used in 1910 and 1930.

 

Congress Watch
Redistricting: Let's Play Musical Chairs
December 29, 2000

The U.S. Census Bureau on Dec. 28 released the first set of state-by-state population numbers following the 2000 census. "The first numbers from 2000 national count provided a few surprises" -- North Carolina picked up a House seat, while Indiana and Michigan "unexpectedly lost representatives." And Florida and Georgia "fared better than some experts had predicted." However, "the figures otherwise confirmed a decade-long trend of a population shift from the North and Midwest to the South and West." Breakdowns of population shifts within each state will be released in April (AP, Dec. 28).

"The GOP controls the governor's mansions in 13 of the 18 states that will experience major changes because they lose or gain seats," which "puts the top executive in those states in a position to influence which party wins and loses." Heritage Foundation's Dan Mitchell said Republicans "could pick up as many as 10 to 15 seats in the House" in 2002. The GOP holds a slim majority now "and will have a tough battle retaining all its seats because the president's party traditionally loses seats in the House during mid-term elections." Mitchell said of the census numbers: "This is generally seen as the Republicans' ace in the hole in keeping control of the House. As the population center of the country shifts South and West, that is good news for Republicans" (Orlando Sentinel, Dec. 29).

A block of states stretching from Wisconsin to Connecticut "lost representation in Congress despite gains in population." Every southwestern state save New Mexico "gained at least one seat" (Dallas Morning News, Dec. 29).

Arizona (+2) "For a winner like Arizona, the increase may seem like a major victory for" the GOP, which holds five of the state's six current congressional districts, and controls the state Legislature. However, for the first time, Arizona's boundaries will be set by an independent commission. Arizona Democratic Chairman Mark Fleisher said: "People think you get two new seats, you don't. You get eight new seats. It's going to be a whole new ball game. They couldn't slice up the pie with eight and give us only one." Noting that Bush won the state by a "narrow margin," Democrats see redistricting "as an opportunity for Arizona's congressional delegation to better reflect the state's population, which they say has become more diverse and less conservative as its population has grown." Pollster Bruce Merrill: "I don't think anybody really knows what's going to happen" (AP, Dec. 29).

California (+1) Former GOP redistricting aide Tony Quinn says California Republicans "have resigned themselves to Democratic gains in Congress." Democrats will try to design the new district to favor Democrats -- "and could jigger lines to increase their chances of picking up three other districts now held by" Reps. Doug Ose, R-03, Elton Gallegly, R-23, and Steve Horn, R-38 (AP, Dec. 29).

Colorado (+1) "It's still unclear" how state lawmakers will redraw district lines. Gov. Bill Owens (R) on Dec. 28 said he anticipates "disagreement over it" and may call a special legislative session to deal with the issue (Denver Post, Dec. 29). Owens said "he envisions the district would be carved out" of the south Denver metro area, "where much of the growth has taken place. That would include the new city of Centennial as well as much of fast-growing Douglas County." That "also would make it likely a Republican seat." Others speculated that Colorado's seventh seat "could be centered in Jefferson County, giving Democrats a better chance at winning it" (Rocky Mountain News, Dec. 30).

Connecticut (-1) Connecticut "is venturing into somewhat unfamiliar terrain" because it has not created or eliminated a seat since 1964. Democrats and Republicans "have been trading possible plans." Republicans say the 5th District, currently represented by Rep. James Maloney (D), "could be divided up among other existing districts." Meanwhile, Democrats "have floated the prospect of doing the same" to the 2nd District, which is represented by Rep. Robert Simmons (R), who defeated former Rep. Sam Gejdenson (D) in November. If the Legislature cannot agree on a plan by Sept. 15, then a bipartisan commission would be formed by the governor, made up of eight members chosen by the majority and minority leaders of each chamber of the Legislature. The eight then choose a ninth tie-breaking member and must agree on a plan by Nov. 30 (New York Times, Dec. 29).

Florida (+2) Florida gained more than 3 million people during the 1990s -- "equivalent to the entire state of Iowa -- and will pick up two more congressional seats as a result" (Orlando Sentinel, Dec. 29). One of those seats "likely will be in Central Florida and the other in South Florida." Florida House Speaker Tom Feeney (R) said many congressional districts "will change only a little. He said he didn't expect large changes in the state's three districts with large concentrations of black citizens, including" the 3rd District, which is represented by Rep. Corrine Brown (D). Meanwhile, the possibility of a new seat in Central Florida "already is prompting some prominent politicians, such as" Feeney, "to think about a run for Congress." Florida "will have no shortage of candidates to run for the House" in 2002, as "dozens of state legislators bump into term limits and will be looking to move up" (Orlando Sentinel, Dec. 29). Meanwhile, Rep. Robert Wexler, D-19, said "he's heard Republicans will try to make it as difficult as possible for him" after redistricting. "There are Republicans that are talking as if their number one goal in reapportionment is to exact retribution from me," Wexler said. "I'm not going to sit aside and play dumb and allow them to do it to me" (Palm Beach Post, Dec. 30).

Georgia (+2) With two new congressional districts slated for Georgia, "one is certain to be Republican." And -- if the other district is drawn to make it Democratic -- Republicans "will have a lock on nine seats." In drawing new districts, "one obviously will go to the Northside." Democrats, "starting in Clayton County and picking up counties in east central Georgia with sizeable black populations, and taking in black areas of Macon, might squeeze out another" Democratic district --- "but at the expense of making the others more solidly Republican." In Georgia, GOP "territory... is growing rapidly." Eventually, Georgia "will be like Florida: The Statehouse will be controlled by the GOP while Democrats may continue to dominate statewide, in large part because blacks vote more than" 90 percent for Democrats and they constitute about 27 percent of the population (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Jan. 3).

Illinois (-1) "A congressman in Chicago will likely be out of a job if analysis shows a loss of population in the city in favor of greater numbers in the suburbs" (Bloomington Pantagraph, Dec. 29) Illinois Census Coordinator Sue Ebetsch said: "When you look at southern Illinois, you have to go a long way to find 650,000 people. Obviously, the districts in southern and central Illinois are going to get larger geographically." At the Statehouse, "the immediate problem will be trying to draw a congressional redistricting map that can satisfy a Democratic-led House and a Republican Senate, led by a GOP governor." However, "what could make the process easier and ripe for bipartisan dealmaking is if a congressman would retire or decide to run for another office." Already, Rep. Rod Blagojevich, D-05, is viewed as a "likely" candidate for governor in 2002. Some observers suggest that a compromise map "might provide each party with nine safe seats for their incumbents and put only one really up for grabs." If Blagojevich seeks re-election or no one retires, "some bet the most likely to go would be a newly elected congressman -- such as freshman Rep. Tim Johnson, R-15, or, if it's a Democrat, "a relative newcomer," such as Rep. David Phelps, D-19, or Rep. Jane Schakowsky, D-09 (AP, Dec. 28).

Indiana (-1) "Speculation has centered on which district will end up with two Members of Congress. Perhaps the best scenario for that" would be freshman Rep. Brian Kerns, R-07, ending up in the same district with Rep. John Hostettler, R-08. House Speaker John Gregg (D), "who is said to be considering a challenge to Hostettler, is expected to look to shift" Democratic-leaning Vigo County into Indiana-08. Meanwhile, Rep. Mark Souder, R-04, said "he is anticipating adding part of Elkhart County into" his district. "Another thought" is that the 4th District "might go south and incorporate the Anderson-Muncie area, which would concern Souder because it would expand his district into another media market" (Howey Political Report, Jan. 2).

Michigan (-1) EPIC/MRA pollster Ed Sarpolus said that in Michigan "there could be as many internal battles among Republicans as battles between the parties." For example, freshman Rep. Mike Rogers, R-08, may want to make his district "safer in what's often a swing district. To do that, he must take part of another Republican's territory." Meanwhile, Democratic analyst Mark Grebner noted that parties "often make the mistake of attaching marginal areas to traditional party strongholds... and then lose the strongholds by the time the next election comes around" (South Bend Tribune, Dec. 29).

Mississippi (-1) "Long-submerged political tensions" among the Mississippi delegation -- "and particularly between" Rep. Ronnie Shows, D-04, and Rep. Chip Pickering, R-03, "are likely to surface in coming weeks as this state decides which man will not return to Congress in 2002." State lawmakers "are almost sure to preserve the majority-black status of" the state's 2nd District, represented by Rep. Bennie Thompson (D). To the east, Rep. Roger Wicker, R-01, "is the only one of the five congressmen who lives north of Interstate 20" -- "leaving only a few counties to the South for expansion without a radical revision of the state's districts." Far to the south, in Rep. Gene Taylor's, D-05, district, "it seems likely his base of support in the populous Gulf Coast would remain stable.... That seems to put the center of the state in play, pitting Pickering and Shows against each other in 2002" (Memphis Commercial Appeal, Dec. 29).

Nevada (+1) Nevada redistricting "is boiling down to stripes versus doughnuts.... If the existing doughnut configuration is adopted, it would protect a heavily" Democratic seat for Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-01, "and create a conservative district for a Republican such as" state Sen. Jon Porter (R), who challenged Berkley in 2000. Porter and Berkley both "favor the doughnut, which would help each of them." However, if Clark County is divided into an east and west CD "with more equal numbers of" Democrats and Republicans, "both parties would have a better chance of winning those seats with a strong candidate who has bipartisan appeal" -- a plan that could benefit a Democrat such as Clark County Commissioner Dario Herrera (D). Meanwhile, 2000 Senate nominee Ed Bernstein (D) also "said he's considering running for the new seat," as did Nevada Democratic Chairman Rory Reid, the son of Sen. Harry Reid (D). Assemblyman David Goldwater (D) "is thinking about it too, but won't decide until after the end of the 2001 Legislature" (Las Vegas Review-Journal, Dec. 29).

New York (-2) "Many people suggested" a plan will be drawn "that will result in the loss of one" Republican from upstate New York, "which has experienced most of the population losses," and a Democrat from downstate, "probably New York City, out of a sense of compromise. The names mentioned most often were" Rep. Amo Houghton, R-31, "who promises a fight to keep his district," and sophomore Rep. Joseph Crowley, D-07 (New York Times, Dec. 29).

North Carolina (+1) North Carolina GOP Chair Bill Cobey said the "unexpected news" of an additional congressional district made him "even more disappointed that Republicans didn't take back the state House." If the new district is drawn "where the largest gains in population have occurred in the last decade based on state estimates, then it would likely be carved in either the Triangle or Charlotte area" (Raleigh News & Observer, Dec. 29).

Ohio (-1) "The most likely victim" after Ohio loses one seat is Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-10. "A possible alternate target" for Republicans could be Rep. Sherrod Brown, D-13. And Rep. Ted Strickland, D-06, "can expect to find his southern Ohio district reshaped to help GOP candidates." Kucinich "is the more likely target, although" Ohio House Republicans "would prefer to get rid of Brown." By eliminating either Kucinich or Brown, Republicans "could strengthen" the suburban Cleveland district held by Rep. Steven LaTourette, R-19. That would preserve the Cleveland district held by Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, D-11, the only black member of the Ohio delegation (Columbus Dispatch, Dec. 29).

Oklahoma (-1) If all of the current Oklahoma congressmen run in 2002, "two will have to run against each other, though it will take redrawing the lines to determine those opponents." However, Rep. Steve Largent, R-01, is expected to retire -- "perhaps to run for governor" in 2002. Meanwhile, Rep. Wes Watkins, R-03, and GOP Conference Chair J.C. Watts, R-04, "have both considered retiring in the last two years. The way the districts are drawn could influence their decisions." The "conventional wisdom has been that one of the first moves will be to remove Payne County," home of Watkins, from the 3rd District, "as a way of punishing him" for switching parties (Daily Oklahoman, Dec. 29).

Pennsylvania (-2) GOP legislators "will have to decide whether to carve out one seat with as much GOP strength as possible or try a riskier approach of drawing lines such that GOP candidates might have a shot at winning two regional congressional seats. In any case," Reps. William Coyne, D-14, Mike Doyle, D-18, and Frank Mascara, D-20, "look more vulnerable today." Another seat "that might be axed by the Legislature" is the 13th District, located in the Philadelphia suburbs and represented by Rep. Joseph Hoeffel (D) (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Dec. 29).

Texas (+2) Rep. Pete Sessions, R-05, said of Texas' two new seats: "We consider those two seats in Texas Republican seats. And nationally, we believe it's a pickup for the Republican Party." However, Democratic Caucus Chairman Martin Frost, D-24, disagreed, saying the two additional seats "could split" between Democrats and Republicans "if one goes to the Rio Grande Valley and the second goes to the suburbs of Houston, Austin or Dallas-Fort Worth." Said Frost: "If one of the seats does not go to the Valley, then they may both be Republican. But the Texas House is controlled by the Democrats and the Texas Senate by the Republicans, so both parties have a seat at the table." (Dallas Morning News, Dec. 29).

Wisconsin (-1) "Many speculate that" Rep. Tom Barrett, D-05, who is considering a bid for governor in 2002, "would simply resign, allowing his Milwaukee district to be merged with" the 4th District, represented by Rep. Gerald Kleczka (D). However, the GOP's narrow margin in the House "raises the ante," and now, "neither party is willing to back down just to ensure the rest of the state's incumbent representatives are re-elected." At the state level, the GOP-controlled Assembly is expected to approve one map, while the Dem-controlled Senate likely will pass another, "increasing the likelihood that the matter will be decided by the courts as it was in 1990 and 1980" (Wisconsin State Journal, December 29)



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