National Redistricting News

July - September 2001

  • Washington Post :  "Georgia Democrats May Gain Up to 4 Seats in House." September 29, 2001
  • Chicago Tribune : "The real remap losers:  Voters." September 20, 2001
  • Common Sense : "God Help Them." September 17, 2001
  • Miami Herald: "Web will allow open view of state's redistricting." September 15, 2001
  • National Journal: "Off to the Races: GOP's Redistricting Nerves." September 13, 2001
  • The Hill: "Campaign 2002" September 12, 2001
  • Roll Call : "All in the Family." September 10, 2001
  • Roll Call : "No Gold Rush in California." September 10, 2001
  • Orange County Register: "All bow to redistrict architect." August 26, 2001
  • CNSNews.com : "2002 Redistricting could spell trouble for Democrats."  August 22, 2001
  • Boston Globe : "Hispanics poised to gain clout in redistricting plan." August 18, 2001
  • Associated Press: "Redistricting to Help Shape Politics." August 13, 2001
  • Associated Press : "Politicians Wade Into Redistricting."  August 13, 2001
  • The New York Times: "As Redistricting Unfolds, Parties Leverage Power to Get More of It." August 13, 2001
  • Roll Call: "Between the Lines." August 13, 2001
  • Roll Call: "Between the Lines." August 6, 2001
  • New York Times : "Metro Briefing: Newark." July 30, 2001 
  • Roll Call: "Between the Lines." July 30, 2001
  • Roll Call: "Between the Lines." July 23, 2001
  • Roll Call: "Between the Lines." July 16, 2001
  • Roll Call: "Between the Lines." July 9, 2001
  • Roll Call: "Between the Lines." July 2, 2001
  • What's New in Redistricting is a summary of nationwide redistricting activity that is updated weekly.
  • California Congressional Delegation Proposed Districts Maps now online. August 31, 2001
  • Michael McDonald, an assistant professor at the University of Illinois-Springfield has compiled a redistricting scorecard with updated information about the redistricting progress in each state.

More redistricting news

Washington Post
Georgia Democrats May Gain Up to 4 Seats in House
By Thomas B. Edsall
September 29, 2001

Georgia Democrats survived racial fights, political bickering and regional conflicts to give final approval yesterday to new congressional district lines that could give the party as many as four new House seats in a crucial victory in the national redistricting struggle.

The national redistricting -- which really involves a collection of state-by-state battles, most involving marginal shifts of one seat -- is roughly one third complete. For Democrats, Georgia offered the best chance to make a substantial gain and, until yesterday, the prospects for success had appeared slim as the state legislature approached a deadline of last night.

"It matters not whether the road is straight, but just that you get where you want to go," said John Kirincich, executive director of the Georgia Democratic Party. Under the plan approved by the legislature last night, the new lines could result in one of "the single biggest pickups from redistricting that any party has gotten," he said.

Ralph Reed, the Georgia Republican chairman, acknowledged that the Democrats had produced a plan that on paper looks like a major setback to the GOP, but, he argued, incumbent Republican House members have shown an ability to win in Democratic-leaning districts. "I've had members look me in the eye and say, 'I will take the $750,000 to $850,000 I've raised, move to a district across the state, and I'll win it,' " Reed said.

Because of population growth recorded in the 2000 census, Georgia will pick up two new House seats. Currently, the Georgia delegation has eight Republicans and three Democrats. Democrats contend that the post-2002 delegation could be 7 to 6 Democratic.

They note that in the new configuration, seven of the 13 districts have Democratic voting histories, or a "performance" of 55 percent or more, leaving only six secure GOP seats.

The Georgia setup would balance the solid Republican redistricting victory in Michigan, where a 9 to 7 Democratic majority delegation is likely to become a 9 to 6 GOP majority. Michigan lost a seat because of its shrinking population.

California has already proven to be a disappointment to many Democrats. Pressures to protect incumbents and avoid a referendum challenge prompted Democrats in control of the process to adopt a plan with only a one-seat Democratic pickup, frustrating those who saw an opportunity to gain as many as four seats because of the state's population growth.

With Republicans hoping to make gains of two to three seats each in Pennsylvania, Ohio and perhaps Florida -- where the GOP controls the legislature and the governorship -- Georgia has been viewed by Democratic Party strategists as an essential linchpin to their national plans.

Nationally, Republicans say they are likely to pick up eight to 10 seats as a result of redistricting, while Democrats contend that the outcome will be a wash. Democrats note that the expected GOP gains in Ohio and Pennsylvania will be countered by a collection of one-seat Democrat pickups in North Carolina, New Mexico and Iowa, along with Republican losses in Oklahoma and Indiana.

Republicans bolster their prospective numbers by arguing that Democrats are likely to suffer single-seat losses in Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin and, perhaps, Utah as the lines are redrawn.

There are strong incentives for Democrats and Republicans to exaggerate their prospects of redistricting success: The party that is expected to control the House after the 2002 elections will have a much easier time recruiting strong candidates and raising money.

One of the most striking trends has been a reduction in the number of competitive seats. Mark Gersh, Washington director of the National Committee for an Effective Congress, has estimated that out of the 137 districts that have been redrawn, the number of marginal seats has fallen from 23 to 15.

If this pattern continues for all 435 districts, there will be a number of significant consequences. The national outcome of House elections will be less reflective of overall political trends, and the "coattail" effects in presidential election years will be weakened because fewer seats will change hands.

The state where there is a potential for the largest partisan swing of seats is Texas, where legislators failed to agree on a plan and the issue is before a Democratic state judge in Austin.

Texas Democrats control the delegation by a 17 to 13 ratio. They have proposed protecting all incumbents and giving each party one of the two new districts that must be added because of population growth -- one a Democratic Hispanic seat in South Texas and the other a Republican seat north of Dallas.

The GOP, however, contends that the state has moved dramatically toward the Republican Party and has proposed plans that would add from four to eight Republican seats, while eliminating a number of seats held by white Democrats.

The state court is expected to issue a ruling early next week, which will then go before a federal court in East Texas for review.

In Georgia, both local and national Democrats had been worried that this year could turn into a repeat of the post-1990 census redistricting, when state House Speaker Tom Murphy (D) was determined to use redistricting to defeat then-Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.). The Murphy plan not only failed to force Gingrich out of office, but it set the stage for the 1994 elections, when the Democratic losses in Georgia were among the most severe in the nation.

This year, Murphy sought to end the House career of Rep. Robert L. Barr Jr. (R-Ga.), undermining, in the view of Democratic strategists there, the larger goal of creating the maximum possible number of Democratic-leaning districts. At one point, black Democrats in the House voted against the 2001 Murphy plan.

The plan approved by the legislature, according to Democrats, puts Republican Reps. John Linder and Jack Kingston most at risk, while Barr and Rep. C. Saxby Chambliss, another Republican viewed by Democrats as a threat in a Democratic district, are both likely to choose to run in Republican-leaning districts.

Chicago Tribune
The real remap losers: Voters
Editorial
September 20, 2001

This past week, there have been countless acts of heroism and self-sacrifice. There has been a heartening rise--and who cares how brief it turns out to be--above partisan politics in Washington.

But don't start looking for any such phenomenon in Illinois' General Assembly.

Particularly not when it comes to the legislative redistricting process, which this week predictably had Democrats taking aim at vulnerable Republican incumbents like crows on a telephone wire.

That's because politics is king in Illinois, and Democrats happened to win a blind draw from a hat, a trivial act that accords enormous power over what political direction the state takes over the next 10 years. This week the Democrats revealed their preferred redistricting plan, one they hope escapes a pending Republican challenge in federal court.

That plan, of course, was essentially drawn with Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan's own set of crayons, with as many squiggly lines as he could get away with legally to give Democrats as much legislative control as possible over the next decade.

Their version threatens to loosen, if not topple, the Republican stranglehold on the state Senate, and to solidify Madigan's control over the House.

Republicans are crying that the Democrats have rudely and unfairly forced dozens of GOP incumbents to run against each other. Of course, that's exactly what Republicans did to Democrats 10 years ago, when the Republicans drew the map.

Whatever remotely idealistic notion planners of this system had 30 years ago about how representatives of different parties would have to work together to avoid having remap decisions fall to pure luck of the draw grossly underestimated this state's obsessive zeal for partisanship. The remapping system has descended into winner-take-all, and the leaders prefer it that way.

Why? Because compromise isn't in their vocabulary. Because if they win by luck, they win big. They can draw a map that protects their incumbents from competition and gives them the chance to control the legislature for the next decade--until the next census. If they lose, they can send out their lawyers to try to defeat the map in court, and they can go down saying they fought valiantly for the entire party faithful, instead of having to decide which members of the flock to sacrifice at the altar of bipartisanship.

The winners wear a predictable that's-life gloat on their faces, while the losers hasten to reinvent themselves as righteous defenders of good government as they lambaste the system. Everyone winds up looking silly and voters lose, because they rarely get genuine competition on the ballot.

Illinois politics grows increasingly Balkanized with each decade. DuPage County Democrats have virtually no voice in the legislature; Chicago Republicans are a lonely bunch. With the Democratic map a handful of Republican politicians will be forced into retirement. The real loss for voters, though, is the opportunity to have genuine choices in spirited elections for the legislature.

Common Sense: U.S. Term Limits Weekly Radio Commentary #439
God Help Them
By Paul Jacob
September 17, 2001

Every 10 years we take a census so that new political lines can be drawn for Congress and the state legislatures. It's the state legislatures that draw the lines, which are then ratified like any other piece of legislation.

These lines really matter. As the Center for Voting and Democracy tells us, "With increasingly sophisticated computer software, polling results and demographic data, incumbent legislators quite literally choose the voters before the voters have a chance to choose them." The Center notes that as a result of redistricting, "most voters are locked into one-party districts where their only real choice at election time is to ratify the incumbent or heir apparent."

I'm not shocked that state legislators tend to reward themselves, at least those in the majority, with seats that are designed to elect . . . well, them. But how do congressmen get such nice treatment? After all, the congressmen don't draw the district lines, not directly.

Good connections help. So does a little bribery. Take California, where Michael Berman, brother of Congressman Howard Berman, is the legislature's appointed line-drawing guru. U.S. Representative Loretta Sanchez publicly admits that she and 30 of the 32 Democratic congressional incumbents have already paid Berman $20,000 each for what she calls an "incumbent-protection plan."

"Twenty thousand is nothing to keep your seat," says Sanchez. "I spend $2 million every election. If my colleagues are smart, they'll pay their $20,000, and Michael will draw the district they can win in." She adds, "Those who have refused to pay? God help them."

God help them? God help us.

This is Common Sense. I'm Paul Jacob.

Common Sense is U.S. Term Limits' weekly radio commentary program by National Director Paul Jacob. Common Sense can be heard on 277 radio stations in 49 states.

Miami Herald
Web will allow open view of state's redistricting
By Phil Long
September 15, 2001

Redistricting, that most political of all political decisions and one of those most often associated in the public's mind with deals brokered in smoke-filled back rooms, is about to be flashed across the Internet into the light of public scrutiny.

Buy from the state a $20 software package called FREDS 2000 -- short for Florida's Redistricting System -- and you can look over the shoulders of public officials as they create the maps and plans that will yield two new U.S. House seats for Florida and redefine countless state legislative districts. If you don't have a computer, public institutions such as libraries and community colleges will have the program, officials say.

Election redistricting is the once-a-decade process in which elected officials in each state redraw political boundaries based on the most recent Census figures.

Some legislative committee meetings, which will be held before the Florida Legislature meets in January to redraw the districts, will be webcast live. Some legislative redistricting sessions will be televised. & Maps and proposals will be posted on the state's website within two hours after they are delivered to officials. Verbatim transcripts of debates will be available on the Internet as well.

The FREDS software, which will allow the public to see exactly the same thing legislators see as they remap the districts, can be ordered on the state's website at www.leg.state.fl.us/senateredistricting/

Though nothing will eliminate the secret political deal-making that is inherent in redistricting, experts say Florida's openness and access is unique in the nation.

"Florida is on the far edge of the envelope, clearly far beyond other states in making the process user-friendly and making available vast amounts of information to the public,'' said Tim Storey, redistricting analyst for the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures. "The question is will people use it. It is still an esoteric process, hard for regular people to understand.''

State officials are excited about the project.

"This is a new phenomenon,'' said state Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, the Miami Republican who chairs the House congressional redistricting committee. "Because of the Internet, the public will have more access today than the members of the Legislature had 10 years ago.''

Though there were public hearings a decade ago, Diaz-Balart said, "the plans were already drawn. It was almost like a sham.''

The Process

Every 10 years states are required to redistrict U.S. congressional and state legislative seats. Florida has grown by more than three million people, giving the state two new seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. And the new population will result in the need to redraw most of the 40 state senate and 120 state legislative boundaries.

In the state Legislature, Republicans hold 25 of the 40 Senate seats and 77 of the 120 House seats. The GOP also controls 15 of the 23 U.S. House seats from Florida, while Democrats occupy both U.S. Senate posts.

"A computer could easily draw the districts,'' said Sharon Wright, associate professor of political science and black studies at the University of Missouri. "But it's not that simple . . . because of all the politics that goes into it. And much of the politics revolves around race.''

There is always competition between drawing perfectly aligned districts without regard to communities of interest and accommodating the need for districts that allow for minority representation, said Wright, a visiting political science professor at the University of Florida.

More Participation

"The more you open the process up, the more you allow participation, the better,'' said state Sen. Dan Webster, a Winter Garden Republican and chair of the Senate Redistricting Committee. ``If we plan to have an open process, it will be an open process.''

In 1991, the Democrat-controlled legislative leadership put the redistricting plan together, Webster said, and ``no one knew about it until the last night. We voted the final passage of that plan at 3:30 in the morning. We started debate at 12:01. That's not what I consider an open process. Only a day or two before we had even seen the plan.

``We have something that didn't exist 10 years ago,'' Webster said. ``We have the Internet. Everything is available on the Internet. You can get the software for $20. You put it in the computer and watch it develop. You can actually draw a plan and submit it.''

Democrats, though equally excited about the technology, worry that high-tech aside, there are fundamental issues that remain to be addressed.

There are not enough public hearings around the state and not enough evening meetings for working folks, said Sen. Nan Rich, D-Sunrise. & Even though 21 hearings are scheduled, added Sen. Ron Klein, D-Delray Beach, there will be none in seven of the state's 23 congressional districts. & Democratic Sen. Kendrick Meek of Miami-Dade said legislative members need to hold at least nine more hearings.

National Journal
Off to the Races: GOP's Redistricting Nerves
By Charlie Cook
September 13, 2001

While the political world has focused on the weakening economy and the diminishing federal budget surplus, recent developments in congressional redistricting are proving to be as worrisome for Republicans. They underscore just how tough it will be for the GOP to make significant gains through redistricting. In a number of states, such as Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio and Florida, Republicans have a serious advantage in drawing favorable districts. But others -- such as Georgia, California, Alabama, North Carolina, Tennessee and Maryland -- have plans that help Democrats, and these could offset almost all of those GOP gains.

State legislators in California, Alabama and Georgia are close to completing congressional redistricting. In all three states, Democrats control the line-drawing process. In the end, it looks as if Democrats might be able to pick up four or five seats from these states.

In California, Democrats in the state Senate drew an incumbent-friendly map that helps shore up marginal Democrats as well as Republicans. It gives Democrats one new seat, the 53rd District, that is 56 percent Latino and has a 27-point Democratic registration edge. Some Democrats in Washington have grumbled privately that legislative leaders should have taken a more aggressive approach to picking off GOP incumbents, to pick up as many as four new seats. But California Democrats noted that they had gained five seats since 1994 and had very few places to try to draw out Republicans. Under the new lines, Republicans would have an advantage in 20 seats, the same number they hold today.

In Georgia, Democrats have big plans for reversing their fortunes -- in the Peach Tree State, they hold just three of the state's 11 districts. Democrats in the state House and Senate passed different versions of maps and are currently in conference committee to hash out their differences. The new map is likely to contain a Democratic-leaning, Augusta-based district and at least one new, Democratic-leaning district that will encircle Atlanta. Four GOP members -- Reps. Saxby Chambliss, Jack Kingston, Bob Barr and John Linder -- could find themselves with heavily altered districts. It looks as if Democrats will be able to pick up three seats in the process.

And in Alabama, Democrats -- who as recently as 1992 held five of the state's seven seats -- are trying to improve their deteriorating status in the congressional delegation (where today they hold just two seats). Their biggest target is the 3rd District, where GOP Rep. Bob Riley is retiring to run for governor. Some Democrats also have proposed making the 2nd District in southern Alabama more Democratic. Even one Republican insider noted that Democrats could gain at least one seat in the process.

Whether Democrats get everything they want remains to be seen, however. The redistricting process is very personal, parochial and political, and great ideas on paper have a hard time getting translated into real, workable districts.

In Georgia, friction between African-American Democrats and the Democratic leadership already has made the road to redistricting bumpy for the party. In the state Senate, Democratic leaders were forced to pull their first redistricting draft from the floor because African-American Democrats complained that the Senate plan diluted black voting strength in the two new districts. And in the Georgia House, a coalition of African-American Democrats and Republican lawmakers combined to defeat the redistricting proposal of Speaker Tom Murphy. But one Democratic insider in the state argues that the African-American rift was overblown and is confident that Democrats ultimately will pass a plan giving Democrats at least three more seats in the delegation.

In Alabama, the House and Senate also are in the process of reconciling two competing bills. If they do not agree to a map, the courts will draw the new lines, thereby taking away any Democratic advantage.

With redistricting still in its nascent stages in most of the country (only nine states have completed congressional line-drawing) and with the courts likely to play a significant role in drawing many districts (Texas being the best example), it is still premature to make any hard and fast predictions about what the 435 redrawn seats will look like in 2002. But it does look increasingly likely that Republicans will make only slight gains, perhaps one to four seats, through the redistricting process. And ultimately, the economy and other, larger issues appear to be much more critical to 2002 election dynamics than the shifting of congressional lines.

The Hill
Campaign 2002
By Sarita Mary Chourey
September 12, 2001

With the end of summer, so ends the first round of redistricting. And while both parties took a few punches from their state Legislatures ó Republicans in Iowa and Indiana, Democrats in Michigan and Pennsylvania ó neither party was knocked down for the count.

With a few exceptions, the new congressional district maps that have been signed into law have proved to be benign. State lawmakers in Arkansas, Idaho, Missouri and Virginia ó none of which will gain or lose any seats in the 2002 elections ó left boundaries largely intact and protected most incumbents. Nevada and Illinois lawmakers pleased neither party. They created a swing district in Nevada, which gains a seat, and pitted a Democrat against a Republican in Illinois, which loses a seat.

In Texas, the state that Republicans consider the mother lode, the split Legislature sent competing plans to the courts. The GOP-leaning Harris County Court is expected to take up the case, although the maps will likely reach the federal bench in October.

This month, state lawmakers in Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, New Mexico and South Carolina opened Round Two. North Carolina and Colorado are next up, and Florida, Ohio, New York and other heavy hitters loom on the horizon. But the real blows wonít be thrown until next year, when the judgesí gavels fall. Here are the states to watch this month:

Alabama

A plan designed to add a third Democrat to Alabamaís GOP-dominated delegation resulted in a standoff last week, as members of the state House deadlocked over a plan that would make the east-central 3rd District strongly Democratic. The seat is now held by Republican Rep. Bob Riley, who is retiring at the end of next year to run for governor.

Tim Baer, executive director of the Alabama Republican Party, cried foul, calling the House plan, which was passed out of committee by a one-vote margin, ìa very partisan attempt by the Democratic majorityî to squeeze out another Democrat. Baer noted his party has already filed a lawsuit in Mobile to determine whether the plan passes constitutional muster. A hearing is set for Sept. 25.

The state House plan, which would have significantly upped the number of Democrats in the GOP-leaning 1st and 3rd districts, differs in degree from the incumbent-approved state Senate plan, which was passed last month.

Although the Yellowhammer State is neither losing nor gaining any seats, national Democrats are relying on Alabama Democrats, who control the state Legislature and Governorís Mansion, to offset heavy Republican gains in states such as Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Arizona

With a newly employed independent commission charged with redrawing the congressional lines, the redistricting process in Arizona was supposed to be less controversial this year.

But even though the theoretically nonpartisan group released a draft map that added a new Democratic district and a new swing district to the stateís six existing districts ó all but one of which are represented by Republicans ó Democrats are grumbling.

ìWeíre very disappointed,î said Paul Hegarty, political director for the Arizona Democratic Party. ìIf you look at the stateís registration Ö we should have had at least three competitive districts, another two Democratic districts and three Republican districts.î Hegarty cites the commissionís decision to exclude voter registration as a factor in drawing the lines.

The commission will hold public hearings until Sept. 15 and is scheduled to vote on the map at the end of the month. But court action could stretch the process out until early next year.

California

Republicans suffered their first redistricting casualty last week when embattled Rep. Steve Horn of Long Beach, Calif., whose district had been drawn out of existence, opted to retire.

Despite the loss, state and national Republicans were overjoyed with the new congressional map, which left the heavily Democratic stateís 20 Republican-leaning districts intact, created a new Democratic district designed to elect a Latino, and shored up a few swing districts, including those held by vulnerable Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D) and scandalized Rep. Gary Condit (D).

The map is intended to lock in the gains Democrats made in 2000, when they captured four House seats from the GOP. Still, Republicans were relieved that Democrats did not attempt to further expand their majority to counter the national redistricting advantage held by the GOP.

ìFrom our point of view, 33-20 is fine,î state Senate Minority Leader James L. Brulte (R) told reporters.

Democrats are still seeking Republican votes to gain the two-thirds majority they need to put the plan in immediate effect, which would enable candidates to get an early start campaigning.

 

Roll Call
All in the Family: Members Prepare to Face Each Other and New Voters in the Wake of Redistricting
By John Mercurio
September 10, 2001

Rep. Steve Buyer (Ind.) never relished the notion of facing fellow GOP Rep. Brian Kerns in a new Democratic-drawn district. But Buyer's early vision of their matchup probably didn't feature the pain of shin splints and herniated discs and the image of dead possum. "Yesterday I ran 13 miles and today I did 12. I have to be careful, though; today I developed shin splints. I ran four marathons last year, and I herniated the disc in my back," said Buyer, who spent his August recess running 225 miles across the new 4th district, where state Democrats set him and Kerns on a collision course for a 2002 primary. "I told my wife I've seen 23 dead possum so far. She said I need to get a life if I'm just out there counting dead possum."

However, Buyer is clearly doing more than counting roadkill. Like many other Members in the 10 states that lost House seats in reapportionment, this previously safe incumbent is preparing for perhaps the biggest challenge of his political life, a race against a colleague who arguably enjoys a similar degree of political strength. 

"The toughest possible campaign for any incumbent is to run against another incumbent, so it would be unwise not to prepare for that possibility," said a spokesman for 10-term Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-Conn.), who penned a fundraising letter this year warning that she could face three-term Rep. Jim Maloney (D) in a new district next year. The Buyer-Kerns race is the most developed of the cycle's Member-versus-Member contests, as both Republicans have stated their intentions to run in the new 4th district. Races in nine other states are mired in varying stages of the redistricting process, ranging from sheer speculation about the shape of new districts in New York to Democrats mounting court challenges of a map approved by Michigan's GOP-controlled Legislature.

Eight states are losing one seat apiece, meaning that at least two Members will likely be forced to go up against each other. Those states are Connecticut, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. Two states, New York and Pennsylvania, are losing two House seats, so at least four House Members may possibly be paired in races.

Republicans control the redistricting process in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio, meaning Democrats will be targeted. Meanwhile, in Mississippi and Oklahoma, Democrats dominate the process, so Republicans are sure to face trouble.

The dynamics at play vary as widely as the states. In Oklahoma, for example, Rep. Ernest Istook (R) is openly battling a proposal floated by Gov. Frank Keating (R) to throw him into the same district with House Republican Conference Chairman J.C. Watts. Keating's plan would preserve the Tulsa-based district in which his wife, Cathy, is the frontrunner to succeed soon-to-depart Rep. Steve Largent (R).

And Members from states where their own parties control the machinery of redistricting are not immune. Five-term Rep. Marty Meehan (D-Mass.) spent much of the summer fighting a move by fellow Democrats in Boston to throw him into a primary with three-term Rep. John Tierney (D). The two may have caught a break, though, since Gov. Jane Swift (R) recently threatened to veto the plan that would force them to face-off.

Even before their new boundaries will be formally put in place, however, some Members have already signaled plans to leave the House. 

Eleven-term Rep. William Coyne (D-Pa.), facing the unwelcome prospect of a primary battle with four-term Rep. Mike Doyle (D) in a Pittsburgh-area district drawn by Republicans in Harrisburg, has opted to retire. A top target of GOP remappers in Michigan, House Minority Whip David Bonior (D) announced earlier this year that he would run for governor in 2002. But Bonior, who would have been paired with Rep. Sander Levin (D), has denied he was motivated by redistricting fears. 

In Michigan, four House Democrats are preparing for possible races against each other. The map Democrats are challenging in federal court would throw Reps. John Dingell and Lynn Rivers into the new 15th district and Reps. Jim Barcia and Dale Kildee into the new 5th district, a Democratic stronghold.

"This is the first step in a very long dance," Rivers said in July before indicating she planned to make no further comments about the possibility of running against Dingell, the dean of the House.

Kildee said he definitely will run for re-election in 2002, but Barcia said he'll wait to see if a court challenge forces a change, so as to avoid facing Kildee. Barcia said he is also considering a bid for a newly configured state Senate seat.

"Virtually every day we sit down on the House floor and talk about this," Kildee said recently. "We laugh about it and we commiserate about it. But we're both adults, and one thing for sure is that we'll remain friends before, during and after whatever happens."

In Pennsylvania, Republicans are openly boasting of their plans to pick up four House seats, in part by throwing at least four Democratic Members into two seats. Reps. Paul Kanjorski and Tim Holden may face each other, and the same goes for Reps. Joseph Hoeffel and Bob Borski.

The map widely embraced by Republicans in Harrisburg would merge Kanjorski's district, based in Wilkes-Barre, with Holden's seat, now based in Schuylkill and Berks counties. Holden's district would move south into the GOP areas of Montgomery and Chester counties.

Confident that they can not only force the two Members into a primary but can defeat whomever emerges in the general election, Republicans are already referring to the new Holden-Kanjorski district as the "Gerlach district" after state Sen. James Gerlach, a Chester County Republican who intends to run.

Echoing the sentiments of several Members, Borski cautioned that state legislators had not even begun to formally draft a House map. "I've heard thousands of different 'final versions' of this, so until I see a plan, I don't want to comment on a primary," he said.

Like several of these races, however, a Borski-Hoeffel matchup would be colored by the two mens' personal relationship. The two Democrats first met in 1977 when they first won seats in the state House.

"Joe's a good Congressman and a damn good public servant," Borski said. "We've been through a lot of wars together. I just really care for Joe a great deal."

But would Borski still run against Hoeffel? "Sure," he said, laughing. "What's that have to do with anything? It's not either of us doing this, it's what someone else is doing to us."

Another battle between friends could shape up in Mississippi, this one across party lines. Democrats who control the state Legislature plan to draw a new central-Mississippi district for Reps. Ronnie Shows (D) and Chip Pickering (R).

"In parts of Mississippi you're either kin to a Shows or kin to a Pickering," Shows said. 

"We're friends," said Pickering, whose father is a longtime elected official and also a friend of Shows. "I fully expect Ronnie to run a good race; he's a very good politician. Should be a good campaign, fun to watch."

Although Democrats will draw the lines in Mississippi, Pickering said "regional political forces" will have a larger impact than "partisan" influences. Pickering also enjoys a decided cash advantage, one of the largest of any Member likely to face another incumbent next year. He had $936,000 on hand as of June 30, while Shows reported just $189,000 in the bank.

For his part, however, Shows appeared undaunted. "There's a saying down here that on election night, we count votes, not money," he said. "We win by shaking hands and doing constituent work."

Another Republican who appears well positioned financially is three-term Rep. John Shimkus, who's preparing to face two-term Rep. David Phelps (D) in a GOP-leaning district in southern Illinois that was drawn by leaders of the state's House delegation. Phelps, who was thrown into a GOP stronghold with freshman Rep. Timothy Johnson (R), said in August that he is more inclined to face Shimkus in a more competitive seat.

In terms of campaign cash, Shimkus had $509,000 when June ended; Phelps had $288,000. The Democrat, who is leading a lawsuit on behalf of southern Illinois residents to protest the constitutionality of the new map, recently was urged to run for lieutenant governor. Shimkus also appears to benefit from the new boundaries. He currently represents roughly two-thirds of the population of the new 19th district. President Bush carried the district with 56 percent.

Still, Phelps' legal challenge drew support recently from Sen. Dick Durbin (D), a former House Member from southern Illinois. "I think this thing is awful," Durbin told the St. Louis (Mo.) Post-Dispatch. "Ten years ago Southern Illinois was devastated by a map drawn by the [Republican] opposition and endorsed by a federal court. I didn't think it could get any worse, but this map is worse."

Ten years ago a similar situation arose, and the affected Member was another sophomore named Glenn Poshard (D). Poshard also battled the remap in court but lost the decision. He went on to beat fellow Democratic Rep. Terry Bruce in a primary.

Shimkus and Phelps met after the latter won his first House race in 1998. These days they occasionally spend time together on flights and visit on most Thursday mornings during Congressional prayer breakfasts.

"We enjoy that hour together; it's good to stop and mingle in the ways we do there," Phelps said of the Capitol Hill breakfasts. "I don't have any reason to not like John. Socially he's a pleasant person, but most of our relationship is on a professional basis."

However, Shimkus said their cordial relations would play no role in a House race. "We're friends, and no one likes to run against a friend or another incumbent," he said. "But I think we're both mature enough to run on our records and our visions. I don't plan to do anything differently."

Roll Call
No Gold Rush in California: Democrats May Look for Gains Elsewhere
By John Mercurio and Ethan Wallison
September 10, 2001

California Democrats have told Congressional campaign officials that they expect no financing from the national party because the state's new map ensures the safety of their incumbents, according to Democratic leadership aides. Though party strategists had earlier suggested Democrats could reap as many as four additional seats from California, they are now expected to gain just one seat from a new, Hispanic-majority district in Los Angeles. & Nevertheless, the aides suggested the outcome of the state's redistricting process should ease concerns about whether Democrats can counter GOP gains elsewhere.

The safety of Democratic incumbents in the Golden State, they argued, would provide a financial windfall that could be used towards possible new pickups elsewhere in the country.

"I guarantee you that if this map is put in play, the [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee] will not spend one dime in California," one senior leadership aide said, citing discussions with California Reps. Howard Berman and Nancy Pelosi. "They told us no Member is in any danger."

Asked whether Pelosi had given party campaign officials the impression that no money would be needed in California, an aide to the lawmaker said, "I think that's a pretty reasonable interpretation of that map."

Still, the development appeared to take some delegation insiders by surprise.

Berman chief of staff Gene Smith, for one, said she had not heard anything about California's delegation swearing off money from the party, and was skeptical.

"I think it's a little hard to envision," she said.

The delegation's executive director, Pam Barry, echoed Smith. "It doesn't register with me," Barry said. "Everybody always needs money. I don't know where that [talk] could have come from."

The remarks follow the unveiling of a new California map last month that would bolster incumbents at the expense of possible gains for the Democrats throughout the state.

The bipartisan map enhances the party strength of virtually every House incumbent's district, including the ones served by Republicans, while using the state's one new seat to create a new Democratic district.

Legislators are drawing a new Hispanic-majority seat in Los Angeles, a Democratic stronghold, and a GOP-leaning seat in the Central Valley.

The only Member left in the lurch was Rep. Steve Horn (R), whose Long Beach-based district was eliminated. Horn said last week that he will retire in 2002.

"From a realistic, strategic perspective, we'll have to spend a lot less to protect what we've got in California, which is a lot more beneficial than if we had tried to draw in four new House seats," one Democratic campaign official said. The DCCC spent more than $12.5 million on California in the last cycle, a figure bloated by the state's wildly expensive media markets and the unusually large number of districts in play.

Democratic strategists say the money that was sunk into California, which helped the party pick up four seats there in 2000, can now be shifted to similarly inviting prospects in states such as Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina, where Democratic control of the redistricting process has created new opportunities for the party.

Republicans, meanwhile, noted that the map would cut both ways. Because the map would protect incumbents from both parties, the GOP would also have to spend far less in California next year than they did in 2000.

"Democrats have been saying for months that California would put them over the top. This has got to be a huge disappointment for them," said Carl Forti, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee. "We'll come back with 20 seats. We have to be happy with that. "When you look at the numbers, our Members will be less vulnerable, which means we'll also spend less money than we would have had to."

Not all Republicans are ebullient, however. Though most say the map exceeds their expectations from a process controlled by the Democrats, Rep. Bill Thomas (R-Calif.), a chief GOP redistricting strategist, maintained that the "incumbent protection" plan is "not in the public's interest."

"I have always said it is wrong for incumbents to draw districts to protect incumbents of either party," Thomas said. "There will be no opportunity for the voters in California to defeat or elect a candidate of the party opposite to the one for which the seat was drawn. That is wrong."

The Democratic-controlled legislature is expected to approve the map this week, though some groups have threatened to file suit to block it.

The following article is about redistricting in California, but revealing about what likely goes on behind the scenes in redistricting across the nation. Here an incumbent talks openly about she and 29 of her fellow incumbents paying $20,000 to the consultant developing a redistricting plan to help insure a safe district for the coming decade. The consultant was paid $2 million by the party for developing congressional and state senate districts.

The Orange County Register
All bow to redistrict architect: Politics Secretive, single-minded Michael Berman holds all the crucial cards.
By Hanh Quach and Dena Bunis
August 26, 2001

Beverly Hills

Michael Berman starts his workday at about 8 a.m. He often ends it around 6 -- the next morning.

He hardly eats or speaks. His aides are lucky to catch a glimpse of him for more than a few minutes, or hear him utter a word. His colleagues stick messages on the closed door of his Wilshire Boulevard office but say he usually ignores them.

Berman is the central figure in the once-a-decade ritual of redistricting -- redrawing political boundaries to reflect changes in population.

He has been hired by the Democrats, who control the process, at a salary of almost $2 million over 18 months.

His job is to draw California's congressional and state Senate districts -- 93 maps in all.

That makes Berman -- younger brother of Rep. Howard Berman, D-North Hollywood -- the most politically powerful man in the state right now.

He can move the boundaries and squeeze a sitting lawmaker out of his or her safely nested seat.

Or he can create a district so loaded with Democratic voters that no Republican candidate has a chance.

Whatever he emerges with will likely form the basis of the plan the Democratic-controlled Assembly and Senate will pass and Democratic Gov. Gray Davis will sign this fall.

The map maker's task is not easy. Because the maps must be able to pass muster in each legislative house, Berman must understand the interests of each of the incumbents, whose political futures are on the line.

The maps also must have the blessing of the U.S. Department of Justice, which ensures that minority voting blocs aren't diluted, and must be drawn with various interest groups in mind to avoid court challenges.

Census creates some challenges

Berman must take all this into consideration as he abides by the most basic rule of the game: Each political district must have approximately the same number of residents. For the state Senate, the number is 846,000; for the U.S. House of Representatives it's 639,000.

The regional particulars are these: Democrat-heavy Los Angeles lost people in the 2000 census relative to the rest of the state. The Republican-strong Inland Empire and Central Valley, meanwhile, gained. While adjusting boundaries to deal with that, Berman also must figure out how to draw in the one new congressional seat California picked up through the census; the state will now have 53 of the 435 seats in Congress, the most of any state.

In the state Senate, which remains at a permanent 40 seats, Los Angeles Democrats are particularly worried because their region has 11 senators for an area that now needs only 10.

That means either collapsing one of the strongly Democratic seats in the city or forcing Democratic lawmakers representing the fringes of greater Los Angeles to expand their districts into the Republican-heavy Inland Empire to grab enough people -- thereby eroding their strong voter bases.

A similar dynamic is at work with Los Angeles County's 10 core congressional districts, which somehow have to expand to pick up an average of 45,000 more constituents. That is likely to affect Republican congressmen on the geographic fringes, such as Reps. David Dreier of San Dimas, Gary Miller of Diamond Bar, and Ed Royce of Fullerton.

Ethnic considerations are in play as well. The Hispanic population is increasing, which poses a threat to many non-Hispanic incumbents, including African-Americans. Berman needs to draw boundaries that don't alienate either of these traditionally Democratic groups.

Republicans are pretty much spectators in this process, although Democrats need a few of them to go along with their plans to get a referendum-proof two-thirds' vote in each state chamber.

Many Republicans believe this will be a pretty benign year, with Democrats already so dominant that they can't do much to improve their position in the state.

But Republicans are still wary. Rep. Darrell Issa of Vista, who represents one of the safest Republican districts in the state, says he's been told by senior GOP members that even after they think they've come to terms with Berman, ``he'll make a few fence changes even between Republican districts that are troublesome'' -- such as forcing incumbent Republicans to run against each other.

Secretive king of gerrymandering

For three decades -- four redistricting cycles -- Berman has weighed in on California's political boundaries.

So serious and secretive is Berman about his task that no one who works for him is allowed to disclose where his office is. The directory in the lobby of the nondescript three-story office building does not list its reclusive third-floor tenant. A note on the outer office door asks that packages be dropped off at a room downstairs.

Berman likes toiling in near solitude, his aides say, not that any of them could be of much help anyway. His spacious personal office -- wallpapered with maps -- is cluttered with papers arranged in a way only he understands.

His attitude: `` `Unless you're on fire, don't bother me,' '' said Lynette Stevens, who works at Berman's firm, Berman and D'Agostino (acronym: BAD). She pauses. ``And even if you were on fire, he'd walk right by you and he'd not notice you.''

Berman, through an aide, declined requests for an interview. One veteran political reporter said he has been trying without success to get an interview with him for 10 years. But some of his friends and lawmakers this week agreed to talk briefly about the enigmatic redistricting king.

They describe the chain-smoking, rumpled Berman, 53, as ``brilliant,'' ``gruff but gentle,'' ``fingernail-biting,'' ``demanding'' and ``focused.''

Berman thinks, dreams and breathes the lines. He has read reams of census data months in advance -- line after line of numbers. On many days, he sits in his office alone, moving population numbers, voting-tendency analyses and political boundaries around in his head.

``The computer is almost irrelevant for Michael,'' said Bruce Cain, director of the Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

Democrats pay for Incumbency protection

Berman became involved in politics in high school. State Senate leader John Burton, D-San Francisco, met him when Berman was a high school student organizing the Young Democrats and toiling in the shadows of the more public west Los Angeles politicians, including ringleader Rep. Henry Waxman.

Berman used to drive Burton's older brother, the renowned San Francisco Democratic Rep. Phillip Burton, around Los Angeles during his visits there, and the two got to know each other, according to a biography of the late congressman.

In the 1980s, Berman -- the numbers technician -- and Phil Burton -- the political salesman -- artfully redrew California's districts to increase Democratic representation in Congress by six, to 28 Democrats vs. 17 Republicans, author John Jacobs wrote.

Now, Berman works for the younger Burton.

``He understands the stuff. He understands all the history of the districts,'' Burton said. The Sacramento statehouse Democrats are paying Berman $1.36 million to draw the state Senate districts. (Another Democratic consultant is drawing the lines for the state's 80 Assembly districts, although Berman has input on those as well.)

That worried congressional Democrats, who fear some of the Sacramento lawmakers are angling for their seats in Washington. So Rep. Loretta Sanchez of Santa Ana said she and the rest of the Democratic congressional delegation went to Berman and made their own deal. Thirty of the 32 Democratic incumbents have paid Berman $20,000 each, she said, for an ``incumbent-protection plan.''

``Twenty thousand is nothing to keep your seat,'' Sanchez said. ``I spend $2 million (campaigning) every election. If my colleagues are smart, they'll pay their $20,000, and Michael will draw the district they can win in. Those who have refused to pay? God help them.''

 (Register staff writer Elizabeth Aguilera contributed to this story)

CNSNews.com
2002 Redistricting could spell trouble for Democrats
By John Rossomando
August 22, 2001

Republican controlled legislatures in large, politically important states such as Pennsylvania, Florida, and Michigan have several Democratic incumbents in their crosshairs as they finalize their 2002 congressional redistricting plans.

But while redistricting could spell trouble for the Democrats in those states, the party might be able to achieve gains in other states.

"In reapportionments, Republicans have felt that the process favored them," said Dr. Robert Speel, assistant professor of political science at Penn State Erie, and 2002 will not be an exception, he said.

Republicans have a distinct advantage over Democrats in the redistricting process for the first time since the 1950s because of GOP gains in state legislatures since 1994, according to Michael Barone, author of "The Almanac of American Politics."

"My estimate is that the redistricting will have a distinct five to ten seat Republican advantage," Barone said. "In states such Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, they are clearly out to reduce the number of Democratic seats."

Since those states will lose congressional seats as a result of a drop in their census figures, Republican lawmakers have the opportunity to redraw political boundaries and force two Democratic incumbents to face off against each other.

The GOP controlled state legislature in Pennsylvania will also try to strengthen Republican control of the state's congressional delegation by forcing several Democrats to run against each other for re-election, and through the creation of a new GOP dominated district.

"The Republicans have decided that they are going to take the ten Democratic seats and carve them up in a way to reduce [the Democratic] seats to the lowest number that they possibly can," said Dr. Terry Madonna, professor of political science. "Pennsylvania loses two [seats], so the obvious thing is to get two seats of Democrats to run against each other, and that they will do in the Pittsburgh area, where they will make Bill Coyne run against Mike Doyle.

"In the eastern part of the state, they are going to force representative Paul Kanjorski, who represents the Wilkes-Barre area to run against Tim Holden who represents Berks and Schuylkill count[ies]," he said.

Madonna also indicates that the GOP legislature will force Democratic Reps. Joe Hoeffel and Robert Borski to face off against each other following the elimination of a suburban Philadelphia congressional district under the Republican plan.

"They will create that [new] district in a way that Borski [has] the clear advantage," Madonna said. "The Republican hope is that Hoeffel will lose and Borski will win."

He said Republicans are creating a new congressional seat in Chester and Berks counties for Republican State Sen. Jim Gerlach to run. According to Madonna, this will leave the Republicans with an 11 to 8 lead in the state's congressional delegation.

"Similar things are happening in Michigan and Ohio, [where] Congressman David Bonior (D-Mich.), the Democratic Whip in the leadership is now running for governor [because of redistricting]," Barone said. Bonior would have had to run against fellow Democratic incumbent Sander Levin if he chose to run for re-election.

The Michigan Information and Research Service (MIRS) has also reported that the redistricting plan will force the dean of the U.S. House, Rep. John Dingell, to run for re-election against Democratic Rep. Lynn Rivers and for Democratic Reps. Bart Stupak and Jim Barcia to run against each other.

According to Barone, Florida Republicans aim to draw two new congressional districts in areas of the state where the GOP is dominant, but he dismissed published reports that Florida Democrats Robert Wexler and Peter Deutsch will be forced to run against each other in the 2002 primary.

Democrats hope to marginalize losses in these states by picking up congressional seats in other states that are more favorable to them.

"The Democrats hope for at least marginal gains perhaps in North Carolina and Georgia," Barone said. "I think that they'll gain at least a seat in Georgia, which gained two seats [in the reapportionment], and similarly with North Carolina, and the Democrats will try to make that [seat] theirs."

"In California it looks like they are going to have an incumbent protection plan with the Democrats getting the sole new seat," he said.

But Greg Speed, spokesman for the Democratic Party's Impact 2000, said Republicans are using partisanship to try to fuel their political advantage next year.

"They (Republicans) are trying to essentially draw an extremely partisan plan to maximize their gains, which is difficult to do historically, when you have courts looking at these plans," Speed said.

Speed indicates that Democrats see hopes in Alabama, Arizona, California, and Colorado among others that will offset any Democratic losses in states where Republicans control the redistricting process. He also said Democrats would not write off Florida.

Democrats believe they will defend all of their Florida congressional seats, while making inroads with the growing Hispanic population.

Boston Globe
Hispanics poised to gain clout in redistricting plan: Population surge may lead to more members in House
By Wayne Washington
August 18, 2001

Bolstered by their booming numbers, Hispanics are poised to make historic gains in Congress next year after the once-a-decade redistricting creates new opportunities to increase their political clout.

Political analysts predict that as many as 10 more Hispanics could be elected to the House of Representatives in November 2002, possibly boosting the total to 29, assuming that candidates from the ethnic group sweep the new Hispanic-majority districts expected to be drawn.

Most of those new congressional districts are likely to be in California, Texas, New Mexico, New York, and Florida, states that have seen huge increases in their Hispanic populations since 1990. Nationwide, the number of Hispanics rose by 58 percent over the past decade.

The growth in the Democrat-leaning population could increase chances that Democrats will regain a House majority, if the party can pull off the tricky maneuver of protecting its incumbents while creating new Hispanic districts.

Republicans, meanwhile, are pursuing a redistricting strategy of their own that could help retain GOP control of the House. The party has been pushing for creating heavily Hispanic districts that would leave surrounding areas more receptive to Republican candidates.

Hispanics say they simply want to make sure they get their due.

''We want greater representation to better reflect our numbers,'' said Representative Charles Gonzalez, a Texas Democrat who chairs a Congressional Hispanic Caucus task force on the Census and civil rights.

The number of Hispanic House members grew from 11 to 17 in 1993, following the last round of redistricting and a 53 percent increase in the Hispanic population from 1980 to 1990.

Using 2000 Census figures, state legislatures across the country are redrawing congressional and legislative district lines, a process that's as messy as a mudfight. Parts or all of 16 states must have their plans preapproved by the US Justice Department because of past denials of minority voting rights. While they have no official standing in the process, both political parties are monitoring it carefully, ready and willing to fund lawsuits to challenge unfavorable plans.

Democrats have set aside $13 million for the party's redistricting operation. Republicans, who would not reveal the budget for their effort, are just as active and have devoted a chunk of the Republican National Committee's Web site to the issue.

Anyone wondering how high the stakes are - or how difficult a challenge the Democrats face - need look no further than Massachusetts, where House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran has proposed a plan to create a new minority-majority district.

Finneran's plan would unite Hispanic communities in Marlborough and Framingham, but it would wipe out the congressional district currently represented by Representative Martin T. Meehan, a fellow Democrat from Lowell.

Republicans say Democrats face a similar quandary throughout the country. They are trying to answer Hispanic calls for greater representation while at the same time protecting incumbents, including several who represent districts where a majority of residents are Hispanic.

''The question is, what Democrat is going to give up their seat for a Hispanic?'' said a Republican strategist who asked not to be identified. ''There are still 435 seats. If someone's getting a seat at the table, who's losing theirs?''

Lee Sigelman, a political science professor at George Washington University, said redistricting has often been used to preserve the power of incumbents, making it tough for minority groups to elbow their way into the nation's white-dominated political structure.

''The rules of the game haven't been structured in their favor,'' Sigelman said.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 mandates that minority voters be given an opportunity - where it's possible - to send candidates of their choosing to Congress, but the Supreme Court has also forbidden the use of race or ethnicity as the primary factor for drawing district lines.

In a series of rulings during the last decade, the court has struck down as unconstitutional a number of oddly-shaped, majority-minority districts, including a district in Houston that was reduced from 55 percent Hispanic to 45 percent.

So state legislatures, which draw most congressional districts, face a challenge: create a district that gives minority voters a chance to elect one of their own, don't use race as the main factor in creating its boundaries, and make it geographically compact.

In trying to uphold the interests of both the party and an important constituency, Democratic Party officials have found themselves at odds with Hispanic Democrats over how to proceed.

Party leaders have resisted Republican efforts in New Jersey and Virginia to ''pack'' a few districts with Democratic-leaning minority voters, a move that tends to reduce the number of minorities in adjoining districts and improve Republican prospects there. Instead, Democrats have favored redrawing district lines so that significant but not overwhelming percentages of minorities fall in several districts.

Spreading Hispanic voters around increases the chances that a Democrat could win in those districts, but Hispanic Democrats are wary of diluting the group's voting strength.

''When you create the district, we have to make sure it doesn't threaten what we already have,'' Gonzalez said.

Added Dale Oldham, an attorney who handles redistricting cases for the Republican Party: ''It becomes a question of whether you're advancing the minority community or a particular political party.''

Terry McAuliffe, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, would not say what percentage of minorities the party regards as ideal in majority-minority districts. ''We're not for any specific number,'' he said. ''We're for fair and balanced districts. The more Hispanic seats we can get, the better.''

Of 19 Hispanic members of Congress, 16 are Democrats and 3 are Republicans.

But the Democratic leanings of Hispanics have not stopped Republicans from targeting their communities in search of political support.

As he campaigned last year, George W. Bush sometimes spoke in Spanish to large Hispanic audiences. He got 31 percent of the Hispanic vote, and his first foreign trip as president was to see President Vicente Fox of Mexico.

Bush has also supported a sort of amnesty for Mexicans and possibly other immigrants who have entered the country illegally.

Those moves were widely seen as part of a broad Republican strategy to reach out to Hispanics and broaden the party's base.

Republicans hope such policy positions will eventually pay off, allowing them to pick off Democrats who represent Hispanic-majority districts.

Representative Tom Davis, the Virginia Republican who directs his party's House campaign committee, predicted that the creation of Hispanic-majority districts would not stop Republicans from making a gain he estimated at eight to 10 seats.

''In my district, Bolivians vote differently from Salvadorans, [who] vote different from Mexicans, [who] vote different from Cubans,'' Davis said.

Associated Press
Redistricting to Help Shape Politics
By Robert Tanner
August 13, 2001

Mayors in the Boston area are in a fury. Politicians in Iowa and Indiana plan to move their homes across the state. Several members of Congress face an end to their Washington careers.

One of the most sweeping political dramas of the year - redistricting - is quietly building tension. Though it gets scant public attention, it will help shape the nation's politics for a decade.

The most vehement battle is for control of Congress, with the first results emerging now from legislative backrooms on detailed street-by-street maps. The maps themselves don't decide who wins and loses, but they can make an election a safe bet by drawing a district so it is overrun with voters of one party.

So far, with eight states done, the fight is a draw. Democrats and Republicans each appear likely to lose a seat in the Midwest and a new seat in Nevada is engineered as a toss-up.

The big battles, however, await in Texas and California. Strategists agree they could determine if either party picks up congressional seats from redistricting, and, potentially, control of the U.S. House.

"This is an inside-politics kind of enterprise. Very few people understand it, very few people pay attention to it. But in terms of who controls Congress, it's huge,'' said T.J. Rooney, a state representative in Pennsylvania. Maps are drawn by state legislators in all but a handful of states.

In Pennsylvania, as in Michigan and Ohio, Republicans in control of state government are vowing to oust five Democratic members of the U.S. House, adding to the GOP's 12-seat margin in the House.

In the end, Republicans say they'll gain eight to 12 seats from redistricting. Democrats counter that they'll make small gains in enough states to leave redistricting a wash. The Democratic plan is to then take back Congress in 2002 because of what they hope will be voter backlash against the Bush presidency.

Besides Congress, redistricting changes the political geography for state legislatures, county commissions, city councils and more. It comes every 10 years, after the Census, with new political districts drawn to reflect demographic changes and to give each electoral district roughly the same population.

The details might be eye-glazing, but for politicians, this is life or death. Already, there have been examples of how personal redistricting fights can get:

In Oklahoma, Republican Gov. Frank Keating proposed a remap that pits two fellow GOP congressmen against each other and leaves the state's lone Democrat mostly untouched. Who benefits? Candidate Cathy Keating - the governor's wife, running for an open seat. Keating's allies have denied the governor is trying to help his spouse.

In Oregon, Democrats in the state House boycotted the capitol for five days in an effort to stop a GOP-backed plan. Upset Republicans hired people to deliver summons ordering them back. None of the lawmakers could be found.

A city alderman in St. Louis refused to give up the floor in a filibuster, opposing a city redistricting map that she said would damage black representation. Denied a bathroom break, aides handed her a wastebasket and held a tablecloth around her; police cited her for urinating in public. "What I did behind that tablecloth is my business,'' Alderman Irene Smith said, successfully blocking the vote.

In Massachusetts, an intra-party fight could see Boston-area districts sliced and diced, angering local mayors. New maps that threw together incumbents in Iowa and Indiana spurred congressmen in each state to leave their hometowns for more winnable districts. In New York, three members of Congress hired lobbyists to protect their seats.

Many maps will go to court and won't be settled until long past 2002. Forty-three states must redraw congressional lines; the rest have only one district. Eight states have final maps.

In Indiana, where slow population growth means the state will lose one district, the GOP is likely to lose a seat as two Republicans, Brian Kerns and Steve Buyer, were placed in the same district.

In Illinois, also losing a seat, Democrats are likely on the losing end, as Democratic Rep. David Phelps was redrawn into a Republican-leaning district with an incumbent, GOP Rep. Tim Johnson.

And in Nevada, which gained a House seat because of population growth, the new district is evenly split Democrats to Republicans.

The jackpot states will be decided this fall: Texas, where Republicans say they'll gain between four and eight seats; California, where Democrats say they can gain up to three.

Last month in Michigan, the GOP-controlled legislature produced a map that would reverse the 9-7 Democratic control of the congressional delegation to 9-6 Republican. GOP Gov. John Engler is all but certain to approve.

That spurred 24-year Rep. David Bonior, thrown into a district with a fellow Democrat, to run for governor, acknowledging that "Republicans have made the decision to shut the door on my career in Congress.''

Rep. John Dingell, the nation's longest-serving House member, saw another Democrat, Lynn Rivers, put into his district.

"We're confronting a vicious, hateful Republican partisan gerrymander,'' said Dingell, first elected in 1955. "The motivations of my Republican friends are ... steal as many votes as they can get, by any means, fair or foul.''

The GOP contends the maps reflect a state that has become more Republican.

The same argument is heard in Texas, which gains two seats. "If they're fair, they're going to give Republicans a majority,'' said Susan Weddington, state GOP chairwoman. Legislative gridlock, however, sent the maps to the courts.

California, too, is an unknown. GOP analysts say the delegation is too Democrat-heavy already - the Democrats hold a 32-20 edge. But Rep. Martin Frost, a Texas Democrat overseeing redistricting, thinks there's room for more representatives from his party.

Congressional redistricting sits high on both parties' agendas, said GOP Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia, who is working with state leaders to help draft maps and craft legal challenges. He won't talk money.

Democrats promise to spend $13 million, Frost said: "Both parties are deadly serious about this and both parties are working very hard.''

On the Net: Informal redistricting scorecard by University of Illinois political science Professor Michael McDonald: http://ilsc.uis.edu/mcdonald/redistricting-scorecard.htm  

Associated Press
Politicans Wade Into Redistricting: Battle for Congress Rages State by State
By Robert Tanner
August 13, 2001

Mayors in the Boston area are in a fury. Politicians in Iowa and Indiana plan to move their homes across the state. Several members of Congress face an end to their Washington careers.

One of the most sweeping political dramas of the year - redistricting - is quietly building tension. Though it gets scant public attention, it will help shape the nation's politics for a decade.

The most vehement battle is for control of Congress, with the first results emerging now from legislative backrooms on detailed street-by-street maps. The maps themselves don't decide who wins and loses, but they can make an election a safe bet by drawing a district so it is overrun with voters of one party.

So far, with eight states done, the fight is a draw. Democrats and Republicans each appear likely to lose a seat in the Midwest and a new seat in Nevada is engineered as a toss-up.

The big battles, however, await in Texas and California. Strategists agree they could determine if either party picks up congressional seats from redistricting, and, potentially, control of the U.S. House.

"This is an inside-politics kind of enterprise. Very few people understand it, very few people pay attention to it. But in terms of who controls Congress, it's huge,'' said T.J. Rooney, a state representative in Pennsylvania. Maps are drawn by state legislators in all but a handful of states.

In Pennsylvania, as in Michigan and Ohio, Republicans in control of state government are vowing to oust five Democratic members of the U.S. House, adding to the GOP's 12-seat margin in the House.

In the end, Republicans say they'll gain eight to 12 seats from redistricting. Democrats counter that they'll make small gains in enough states to leave redistricting a wash. The Democratic plan is to then take back Congress in 2002 because of what they hope will be voter backlash against the Bush presidency.

Besides Congress, redistricting changes the political geography for state legislatures, county commissions, city councils and more. It comes every 10 years, after the Census, with new political districts drawn to reflect demographic changes and to give each electoral district roughly the same population.

The details might be eye-glazing, but for politicians, this is life or death. Already, there have been examples of how personal redistricting fights can get:

In Oklahoma, Republican Gov. Frank Keating proposed a remap that pits two fellow GOP congressmen against each other and leaves the state's lone Democrat mostly untouched. Who benefits? Candidate Cathy Keating - the governor's wife, running for an open seat. Keating's allies have denied the governor is trying to help his spouse.

In Oregon, Democrats in the state House boycotted the capitol for five days in an effort to stop a GOP-backed plan. Upset Republicans hired people to deliver summons ordering them back. None of the lawmakers could be found.

A city alderman in St. Louis refused to give up the floor in a filibuster, opposing a city redistricting map that she said would damage black representation. Denied a bathroom break, aides handed her a wastebasket and held a tablecloth around her; police cited her for urinating in public. "What I did behind that tablecloth is my business,'' Alderman Irene Smith said, successfully blocking the vote.

In Massachusetts, an intra-party fight could see Boston-area districts sliced and diced, angering local mayors. New maps that threw together incumbents in Iowa and Indiana spurred congressmen in each state to leave their hometowns for more winnable districts. In New York, three members of Congress hired lobbyists to protect their seats.

Many maps will go to court and won't be settled until long past 2002.

Forty-three states must redraw congressional lines; the rest have only one district. Eight states have final maps.

In Indiana, where slow population growth means the state will lose one district, the GOP is likely to lose a seat as two Republicans, Brian Kerns and Steve Buyer, were placed in the same district.

In Illinois, also losing a seat, Democrats are likely on the losing end, as Democratic Rep. David Phelps was redrawn into a Republican-leaning district with an incumbent, GOP Rep. Tim Johnson.

And in Nevada, which gained a House seat because of population growth, the new district is evenly split Democrats to Republicans.

The jackpot states will be decided this fall: Texas, where Republicans say they'll gain between four and eight seats; California, where Democrats say they can gain up to three.

Last month in Michigan, the GOP-controlled legislature produced a map that would reverse the 9-7 Democratic control of the congressional delegation to 9-6 Republican. GOP Gov. John Engler is all but certain to approve.

That spurred 24-year Rep. David Bonior, thrown into a district with a fellow Democrat, to run for governor, acknowledging that "Republicans have made the decision to shut the door on my career in Congress.''

Rep. John Dingell, the nation's longest-serving House member, saw another Democrat, Lynn Rivers, put into his district. "We're confronting a vicious, hateful Republican partisan gerrymander,'' said Dingell, first elected in 1955. "The motivations of my Republican friends are ... steal as many votes as they can get, by any means, fair or foul.''

The GOP contends the maps reflect a state that has become more Republican.

The same argument is heard in Texas, which gains two seats. "If they're fair, they're going to give Republicans a majority,'' said Susan Weddington, state GOP chairwoman. Legislative gridlock, however, sent the maps to the courts.

California, too, is an unknown. GOP analysts say the delegation is too Democrat-heavy already - the Democrats hold a 32-20 edge. But Rep. Martin Frost, a Texas Democrat overseeing redistricting, thinks there's room for more representatives from his party.

Congressional redistricting sits high on both parties' agendas, said GOP Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia, who is working with state leaders to help draft maps and craft legal challenges. He won't talk money.

Democrats promise to spend $13 million, Frost said: "Both parties are deadly serious about this and both parties are working very hard.''

On the Net: Informal redistricting scorecard by University of Illinois political science Professor Michael McDonald: http://ilsc.uis.edu/mcdonald/redistricting-scorecard.htm

 

The New York Times
As Redistricting Unfolds, Parties Leverage Power to Get More of It
By David E. Rosenbaum
August 13, 2001

Over the last decade, much of the political power in Texas has shifted to Republicans, and the party once intended to use this new strength to redraw the lines of Congressional districts this year so that Republicans could pick up a half-dozen or more seats in the 2002 elections.

But those plans may have been thwarted. The Legislature was unable to agree on a redistricting plan, and the matter will probably be decided this fall by a panel of three federal judges, two of whom were appointed by President Bill Clinton.

In California, the situation is somewhat reversed. With a Democratic governor and strong Democratic majorities in the Legislature, Democrats anticipated picking up several new seats from redistricting. But tension among Democrats over Hispanic demands for more power and the perilous position of Representative Gary A. Condit, a Democrat from Modesto, have led Democrats to lower their sights considerably.

Texas, which will gain two Congressional seats because of population growth, for a total of 32, and California, which will gain one, for 53, are among the biggest battlegrounds in the war over redistricting that arises every decade after new census figures are released.

But other bitter battles, each with its own characteristics, are being fought in nearly every state ó from Massachusetts, where the Democratic speaker of the House is at odds with a popular Democratic congressman and seems intent on taking his seat away, to Oregon, where the Democratic governor just vetoed the redistricting plan drafted by the Republican-controlled Legislature.

"It's political hardball, state by state, and anything can happen," said Representative Thomas M. Davis III of Virginia, who is in charge of national Republican redistricting strategy.

Mr. Davis predicted that when the November 2002 elections are over, Republicans would be 8 to 10 seats ahead from redistricting. He calculated that Republicans won an additional 25 to 30 seats from redistricting 10 years ago, an important factor in his party's capture of control of the House in the 1994 elections. (Republicans now have 221 seats to 210 for the Democrats with 2 independents and 2 vacancies.)

Mr. Davis's Democratic counterpart, Representative Martin Frost of Texas, conceded that his party suffered badly from redistricting in the 1990's. But lessons were learned, Mr. Frost said, and he expects the parties will break even in redistricting this time.

Independent analysts say that Republicans may have an advantage but that the net swing from redistricting is not likely to be more than four seats. "Candidate recruiting, the state of the economy, the condition of the Bush presidency and some other factors will matter more than redistricting," said Amy Walter, who follows the topic for the Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan magazine that tracks House races.

But with the House now so closely divided between the parties and the prospect that lawmakers once elected will keep their seats for many years, the difference of a few seats could determine which party controls the House for the next decade.

Only a handful of states have completed redistricting. Many legislatures will take up the issue this fall. Some states, including New York, will not begin the process until next year.

These are the fundamental rules: Under the Constitution, each of the 50 states is entitled to one seat in the House. The other 385 seats are allotted to the states according to population. After each decennial census, adjustments are made.

As a result of the 1990 census, 12 seats shifted. Arizona, Florida, Georgia and Texas gained two seats each and California, Colorado, Nevada and North Carolina each gained one. New York and Pennsylvania each lost two seats. Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma and Wisconsin each lost one.

Even if the size of their Congressional delegation is unchanged, states must go through the process of redistricting to account for population shifts in the state. The Constitution requires Congressional districts to be nearly equal in population.

In five states (Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, New Jersey and Washington), Congressional redistricting is done by a commission. In all the rest, it is addressed first by the legislatures and the governors. When both houses of the legislature and the governor's office are not controlled by the same party, an agreement often cannot be reached, and the redistricting map is then often drawn by a court.

In redistricting cases, legal authorities say, the political affiliation of the judges involved often makes a big difference. "It is one of the most political things judges do," said Sheldon Goldman, a political scientist at the University of Massachusetts who specializes in the judiciary. "After Bush v. Gore," Mr. Goldman said, referring to the Supreme Court decision that ended the Florida recount after the presidential election last year, "no one in his right mind can say politics never enters electoral decisions."

This is why Republicans in Texas are concerned about having the lines of Congressional districts determined by a judicial panel dominated by Democrats. The trial in federal court is scheduled for October.

The states where most of the political fireworks can be expected are those where one party controls both houses of the legislature and the governor's office. Republicans have that situation in eight states with 97 Congressional seats and Democrats in eight states with 103 seats.

Republicans are especially counting on using their control to improve their position in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida and Michigan.

In Michigan, one of the few states where redistricting has been completed, Republicans exercised their strength. Representative David E. Bonior, the Democratic whip, was thrown into a largely Republican district, and he is leaving Congress to run for governor. Two other Michigan Democrats, Representatives John D. Dingell and Lynn Rivers, will have to run against each other.

The Michigan delegation now consists of nine Democrats and seven Republicans. The best guess is that after the next election, there will be nine Republicans and six Democrats.

Democrats hope to reciprocate in Maryland, Georgia, Alabama and California. No political expert would be surprised, for example, if Democrats rearranged the lines in Maryland next year so they gain two seats. In Indiana, where redistricting was completed last spring, districts now represented by two Republicans were merged. The lines were drawn by a commission with a Democratic majority after the divided Legislature could not reach an agreement.

But California, where the Legislature plans to finish redistricting next month, may be less fruitful for Democrats than might have been expected. One reason is that four vulnerable Republicans were defeated in the last election, meaning that the lowest-hanging fruit has already been picked.

Another reason is that the biggest growth in the state's population and in Democratic strength has come from Hispanics in and around Los Angeles. Rather than ousting Republicans, the main Democratic goal in redistricting is likely to be satisfying the demand of Hispanic voters for more representation. Democrats would like to do this without harming Democratic incumbents like Representatives Maxine Waters, who is black, and Howard L. Berman, who is white, and whose districts have big Hispanic populations.

In addition, because of the notoriety growing out of the case of the missing intern Chandra Ann Levy, Mr. Condit's re-election prospects are in jeopardy.

When the redistricting process began 10 years ago, Democrats held a 100-seat advantage in the House. But despite large black populations, there were no black representatives from Alabama, Florida, Virginia and the Carolinas and only one from Georgia, a situation that Democrats found embarrassing and that the Republican Justice Department found did not comply with voting rights laws.

When the Congressional map was redrawn, heavily black districts were created in all these states. As a result, blacks were elected to the House in all these states, but the concentration of black voters led to the development of overwhelmingly white districts that elected Republicans.

The black Democrats who were elected in the 1990's have become entrenched, Representative Frost said, and can be re-elected in districts with a smaller proportion of blacks. He said that in Southern states where Democrats control redistricting, like Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and North Carolina, the party will try to make sure that blacks are spread more evenly among districts where voters are likely to vote for Democrats, white or black, for Congress.

In New York, the assumption before the census figures were in was that of the two Congressional seats the state stood to lose, one would come from a New York City Democrat and the other from an upstate Republican.

But the final census numbers showed that the city's proportion of the state's population actually increased in the 1990's, making it difficult to take away a Congressional seat. The latest thinking is that when the new lines are drawn next year, the most vulnerable Democrat could be Eliot L. Engel, whose district extends from the Bronx into Westchester County. The most vulnerable Republicans will probably be Benjamin A. Gilman, of Middletown, and Amo Houghton of Corning.

Roll Call
Between the Lines
By John Mercurio
August 13, 2001

Boston Brawling, Cont.

In a sign that Massachusetts' overwhelmingly Democratic Legislature could face a redistricting impasse, state Senate leaders last week sided with Rep. Marty Meehan (D) in his remap battle with state House Speaker Thomas Finneran (D).

Finneran last month proposed a new House map that would eliminate Meehan's Lowell-based district in northeast Massachusetts, forcing him into a primary face-off with nearby Rep. John Tierney (D).

Meeting with mayors of four of the largest towns in Tierney's 6th district, state Senate President Thomas Birmingham (D) said Finneran's plan would be a "mistake."

Birmingham and the mayors "did not see a need for two incumbent Congressmen to run together and they can envision a map which preserved both the 5th and 6th while also enabling them to pursue establishing a majority-minority district, while they still consolidate other districts," said Allison Franklin, a Birmingham spokeswoman.

Birmingham is an all-but-declared candidate in the gubernatorial primary that Meehan was pressured to forgo following Finneran's threats.

Birmingham's views were echoed Thursday by state Sen. Stanley Rosenberg (D), the chairman of the state Senate Redistricting Committee.

"There is significant concern in the state Senate about the dynamic of having two incumbents run against each other," Rosenberg said. "We're reviewing several maps, but the issue of incumbency is a significant concern."

Rosenberg said he hopes the state Senate will approve a map by late September and that both chambers can agree on a consensus plan by Nov. 21.

With Finneran showing no signs of backing off his plan, however, redistricting insiders say Rosenberg's schedule could be overly optimistic. Will Keyser, Meehan's senior adviser, said Birmingham's comments "were very helpful and encouraging. But I think we're realistic in knowing that the process really has just begun. We're still quite early in the game."

Tornado Hits Mississippi!

Well, not a real tornado, just a proposed House district in the Magnolia State that's being likened to a real live twister.

"They call it the tornado plan," state House Speaker Tim Ford (D) said Thursday of a new district that would stretch across northern Mississippi into Rankin County. He called the district "ugly" but acknowledged its appeal because of recent voting patterns and demographics.

The plan would create a GOP-leaning district, mostly with territory from Rep. Roger Wicker's (R) 1st district. It would take Rankin, a GOP stronghold, from Rep. Chip Pickering's (R) 3rd district.

That would help state legislators accomplish their goal of eliminating a House district (required under reapportionment) by forming a new seat that combines most of Rep. Ronnie Shows' (D) 4th district in southwest Mississippi with other parts of Pickering's current base.

The two Members would be thrown together into the new, combined district. Ford says the tornado plan would hurt Pickering and help Shows.

Gov. Ronnie Musgrove (D) is expected to call the Democratic controlled legislature into a special session for redistricting sometime this fall.

Minority Gains.

Minorities could gain a second House seat in Arizona if a new map being considered by the state's bipartisan redistricting commission is enacted.

The two proposed minority districts, spanning southwestern Arizona, would have 62 percent and 72 percent minority populations, respectively.

Hispanics alone would have 54 percent of the voting-age population in one district. Also, Hispanics, American Indians, Blacks, Asians and other minorities would have a fighting chance for House seats in two other districts, each with about 36 percent minority populations.

The House map would create five House districts in the increasingly populous Phoenix area, put two others in southern Arizona and create a purely rural district centered in the state's northern reaches.

Under the 1990 redistricting, Phoenix has just two districts. But the Phoenix area's population exploded during the past decade and now has more than 3 million residents - about three-fifths of the state's total population of 5.1 million. Still, it's roughly 125,000 residents short of the number needed to obtain all five districts.

Because Arizona's population grew by 40 percent during the 1990s, including a 79 percent increase in the minority population, the state's six-Member delegation is gaining two House seats in reapportionment.

The maps released last Wednesday offered the first glimpse of House maps the commission is reviewing. They were drafted by the bipartisan commission's consultant, National Demographics Corp. The commission is comprised of two Republicans, two Democrats and one Independent.

Arizona's new, non-political Independent Redistricting Commission, created by a statewide vote last year, is expected to approve a new House map this fall.

Roll Call
Between the Lines
By John Mercurio and Chris Cillizza
August 6, 2001 

Getting the Jitters.

Bracing for a Democratic-controlled remap that could force them into hostile new territory, several House Republicans in California have intensified their fundraising drives this year.

At least half the 20 Republicans in the state's 52-Member delegation raised far more money in the first six months of this year than they collected during the comparable period in 1999, according to fundraising reports filed last week with the Federal Election Commission.

The group which features several top redistricting targets, includes Reps. Elton Gallegly, Bill Thomas, Dana Rohrabacher, Ed Royce, John Doolittle, Buck McKeon, Ken Calvert, Mary Bono, Duke Cunningham and Duncan Hunter. Fundraising reports were unavailable for Reps. Christopher Cox and Richard Pombo.

"Both houses of the [Legislature] and the governorship are held by Democrats, so what we Republicans are holding is our breath," Rohrabacher told the Orange County (Calif.) Register. "I've raised a little bit more money than I normally would in case the district is so configured that I have a lot of new voters. I will have some money to introduce myself."

There was, of course, an exception to the rule. Another House Republican wearing a bull's eye on his back, Rep. Steve Horn, raised just $4,000 during the six-month period, adding fuel to speculation that he may retire next year.

The state legislature will start considering new House maps later this month.

Jersey Plan Falters.

The state's bipartisan redistricting panel will convene after Labor Day to vote on one of several maps currently being reviewed, but support for an incumbent-friendly House map drafted by Members could be waning.

Specifically, GOP commissioners are criticizing a delegation-led move to increase the Democratic strength of Rep. Rush Holt's (D) district just nine months after he won re-election by 651 votes. Some Republicans also want to further protect moderate Republican Rep. Marge Roukema, who has faced a series of primary challengers in the 5th district, according to PoliticsNJ.com.

Additionally, Democratic commissioners are trying to rework proposed district lines in South Jersey, where the delegation map splits Cherry Hill between the 1st and 3rd districts, represented by Reps. Robert Andrews (D) and Jim Saxton (R), respectively.

Camden County Democrats are resisting the move, which could position Cherry Hill Mayor Susan Bass Levin to run if Andrews retires. Levin unsuccessfully challenged Saxton last year, but insiders say she would not be the choice of local party leaders if a Congressional seat were to open up. Two of the five Democratic commissioners have not yet endorsed the delegation plan.

Helping Heather.

New Mexico Republicans released their own plan last week to redraw the state's three House seats in an attempt to protect Rep. Heather Wilson's (R) Albuquerque-based 1st, a potential swing district.

The plan, crafted by demographer Rod Adair for the state GOP, would keep the entire city of Albuquerque in the 1st and would add the tech center of Los Alamos.

This proposal runs counter to one of several plans submitted to the state's Democratic-controlled Legislature by a consultant to the committee charged with redistricting, which would place parts of Albuquerque into all three districts and make the new 1st a majority-Hispanic seat unifying the Rio Grande Valley.

The plan would also bundle the state's Native American population into the 3rd district of Rep. Tom Udall (D).

Wilson does not comment on redistricting directly. A Wilson staffer, however, said "Representative Wilson has a keen interest in redistricting because it affects the people she represents in Congress.

"She hopes the redistricting process is a fair and open process," added the staffer.

The 1st district is marginal. Then Vice President Al Gore scored a 1-point victory here over then Texas Gov. George W. Bush in the 2000 presidential race.

State legislators will meet in September to draw new lines for the 2002 elections. Control of the process is split, with Democrats in charge in the legislature and Gov. Gary Johnson (R) having veto power over any plan. It's the first time in 40 years that a Republican governor will oversee the process in the state.

Texas Tussle.

Texas Democrats last week charged that Gov. Rick Perry (R) conspired with GOP lawyers to find a friendly judge in the legal battle over the state's redistricting process. Perry denied the allegation, made in a Democratic court filing.

Perry had the power to call state lawmakers into a special redistricting session after the divided Legislature failed to adopt a map during a regular session that ended in May. But Perry decided not to do so, saying he doubted the Legislature could reach a consensus.

On the same day that Perry notified legislative leaders of his decision, attorneys with the Houston firm Baker Botts were filing
litigation in a Republican judge's court in Harris County.

However, Renea Hicks, a Democratic attorney in Austin, said the timing was not a coincidence. Hicks told The Associated Press that the Baker Botts lawyers had "inside information from the governor and/or his staff" so they could find "a forum to their liking." Democrats filed their legal papers last Tuesday.

Lawyers for Democrats and Republicans have filed several redistricting lawsuits and are jockeying to see which court will hear which lawsuit. Typically, the first lawsuit, if filed properly, determines where the court battle over redistricting will be fought.

A Perry spokeswoman last week brushed off the Democratic charges. "Conspiracy theories abound," Kathy Walt said. "It's a political season, and there's been a shortage of conspiracy theories."

New York Times
Metro Briefing: Newark: Residency Rule For Candidates
July 30, 2001

A federal judge has ruled that New Jersey's strict residency requirement for legislative candidates violates the United States Constitution's equal-protection clause. Jay R. Schwartz and Dennis Gonzalez sued the state after being barred from running for the Assembly in Passaic County. Because of redistricting and their moves to different towns, they had not lived in their districts for a full year. But with the June 26 primary over, the impact of the July 19 ruling by the judge, Dickinson R. Debevoise, above, of Federal District Court in Newark, was uncertain.

Roll Call
Between the Lines
By John Mercurio
July 30, 2001

Play Ball!

He was there to talk about redistricting, but House Democratic Caucus Chairman Martin Frost (Texas) clearly had another spectator sport on his mind Friday morning.

In his latest attempt to win the redistricting spin war, Frost repeated his mantra that the state-by-state process will conclude in a virtual draw nationally.

"We may pick up a few seats; they may pick up a few seats," said Frost, who was joined at the Capitol Hill media briefing by Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (N.Y.). "It will basically be a close ball game."

With that, Frost launched into a protracted metaphor about "GOP grand-slam fantasies" in states such as Pennsylvania, Texas and Florida, "Republicans swinging for the fence" in Ohio and Michigan and Democrats' numerous opportunities for more realistic "base hits" in Maryland, California and Oklahoma, among others.

"We'll be perfectly happy with a lot of singles and doubles," Frost quipped. "Republicans are banking on massive, five- and six-seat swings in some states."

It didn't stop there. Frost then compared Republicans to former Minnesota Twin Harmon Killebrew, who "usually swung for the fences, trying to hit a home run every at-bat, regardless of the circumstances." Killebrew, who played from 1954 to 1975, hit 573 home runs in 21 seasons, Frost noted, but he had only a .256 career batting average and struck out 1,559 times.

Democrats, Frost said, are behaving like legendary New York Yankee Joe DiMaggio, who had only 361 career home runs, but had a career batting average of .325. His 56-game hitting streak in 1941 is still the longest in Major League history. Additionally, Frost observed, the star slugger struck out only 369 times.

DiMaggio's teams won nine World Series in 13 seasons, while Killebrew never won a championship.

"Like Killebrew, Republicans are attempting to club a home run at every opportunity, regardless of the circumstances," Frost said.

House Republicans countered that they're already poised for a net gain of eight seats in the nine states that have completed the redistricting process - five seats in Michigan and one seat in Indiana, Illinois and Nevada.

"Martin Frost's understanding of redistricting and baseball is deeply flawed," said Steve Schmidt, the National Republican Congressional Committee's communications director. "If they wish to compare themselves to baseball players, it's clear that Bill Buckner would be most appropriate."

For the record, Buckner was the Red Sox first baseman who allowed a routine ground ball to roll between his legs in a misplay that cost Boston the 1986 World Series championship.

The Keating Five.

Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating's (R) wife, Cathy, is running to succeed Rep. Steve Largent (R), but that didn't stop the term-limited governor from wading into his state's redistricting battle last week.

Rejecting claims that he was maneuvering to protect his wife and the Tulsa-based district in which she's running, Keating unveiled a series of House maps, including one that would throw GOP Reps. Ernest Istook and J.C. Watts into the same central Oklahoma district.

Members of the House delegation, which is losing one of its six seats in reapportionment, got a glimpse of Keating's plans last week when Oklahoma Secretary of State Mike Hunter, who also serves as a political adviser and legislative liaison for Keating, traveled to Washington to discuss redrawing districts.

House Republicans reacted skeptically, at best, to the governor's foray into redistricting. Istook suggested that the delegation may present a map that would eliminate Largent's seat, a proposal Hunter called a "non-starter," according to Istook spokeswoman Micah Swafford.

Cathy Keating "has far more importance than any of the incumbents to the governor," Istook told the Daily Oklahoman newspaper.

Swafford noted that Keating's plan could jeopardize the political futures of three Republicans who hold powerful positions in the House - Watts, the Republican Conference chairman; Istook, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee; and Rep. Wes Watkins, who is on Ways and Means.

"It's perfectly understandable that the governor would want to protect his wife, but he puts her above everyone else," Swafford charged. "He's talking about sacrificing one of these incumbents for the possibility of an open seat for his wife."

Meanwhile, House Democrats are content to sit back and watch the GOP fireworks. They played down the ultimate impact of the governor's plan, noting that Democrats who control the state Legislature have not weighed in yet.

"Nonetheless, there will be a lot of blood in the water here as Republicans fall over themselves," a gleeful Frost predicted Friday.

Meehan in the Middle.

Worried about continued resistance from state House Speaker Thomas Finneran (D), the Bay State's House delegation is finally throwing its weight behind Rep. Marty Meehan (D-Mass.) in a battle between the two over redistricting.

That is, everyone except Rep. Barney Frank (D), who said Friday that he erred when he signed a delegation letter urging Finneran to drop his map plan. "I'm embarrassed," Frank told The Associated Press. "I made a stupid, careless mistake."

Frank said he supports Finneran's plan to create a majority-minority district in southeastern Massachusetts, a move that would require Meehan to run against Rep. John Tierney (D). "There appears to be strong interest in one and I am supportive of that," Frank said. "I represent those people, and I would have to side with them."

Responding to Finneran's threat, Meehan last week opted to forgo a gubernatorial bid to run again in what he hopes will be his own district.

Finneran had said he would reconsider his proposal if Meehan quit the governor's race to seek re-election. However, he reversed course last week, maintaining his support for the map that pits Tierney against Meehan.

"Adopting a redistricting plan that preserves and enhances a delegation's influence in federal decision making is a worthy and important goal of any state's redistricting plan," the House Members wrote last Thursday in a letter to Finneran and state Senate President Thomas Birmingham (D).

Members acknowledged that there are other goals in redistricting besides incumbent protection. "[But] we believe they can be met without forcing any incumbent Member of the delegation to run against one another," they wrote.

 

Roll Call
Between the Lines
By 
John Mercurio
July 23, 2001

Helping Themselves.

The New Jersey House delegation has embraced a new map aimed at protecting a bipartisan duo of vulnerable Members, Reps. Rush Holt (D) and Mike Ferguson (R). Officials expect the map to gain the approval of the state's redistricting commission later this year.

Meanwhile, that commission has chosen Rutgers University Professor Alan Rosenthal as its tie-breaking 13th member. Rosenthal, who runs Rutgers' Eagleton Institute of Politics, served as the tiebreaker when New Jersey reconfigured its House districts a decade ago. He is a registered Democrat who nonetheless voted with Republicans in 1992 for the current House map.

"Both Democratic and Republican members of the commission thought [Rosenthal] was fair. He knows New Jersey and participates in the election process," said George Gilmore, chairman of the commission's GOP delegation.

The 12th district, now represented by Holt, would pick up some Democratic precincts in Trenton and the towns of Franklin and North Brunswick, while some GOP-leaning communities in Hunterdon and Somerset counties would become part of Ferguson's 7th district. Holt won his 1998 election by 3 points and was re-elected last year by 651 votes.

Copies of the plan will be forwarded to the redistricting commission, which will determine the actual map. However, officials in both parties said the commission would probably approve the delegation's blueprint.

"If the entire delegation agreed on one map, we'd certainly consider it," Gilmore said.

Down in the Valley.

Hoping to capitalize on Hispanic population gains throughout California in the 1990s, two prominent Hispanic groups last week urged the Golden State to draw a new House district into the San Joaquin Valley that would help elect another Latino House Member.

The groups also want to amass large Hispanic bases in the Long Beach-based district of Rep. Steve Horn (R), who is widely viewed as one of the Democrats' top redistricting targets, and the Palm Springs-based district of Rep. Mary Bono (R).

Statewide, the Hispanic population soared by 43 percent in the 1990s. California's 11 million Hispanics now make up 31 percent of its population.

The groups - the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the William C. Velasquez Institute - want to create a new district that would include most of Tulare County and the city of Fresno in the agriculture-rich Central Valley.

Those areas are currently represented by Reps. Cal Dooley (D), Bill Thomas (R) and George Radanovich (R). The region falls just south of the Modesto-based district of Rep. Gary Condit (D), whose political and legal woes are sure to be a major issue for Democrats who control the state's remapping process.

California's 53rd district will come as a result of the fact that the state gained one House seat in reapportionment.

"The San Joaquin Valley is growing dramatically, and a Tulare County seat made good sense," said Antonio Gonzalez, president of the institute. "This area has been historically divided for no good reason. There are no state Assembly members or Congress people who are from Tulare County."

The new district would be nearly 47 percent Hispanic.

Horn's 38th district would also change dramatically under the groups' plan. The 38th would shift the primarily Hispanic cities of Huntington Park, Cudahy, South Gate, Lynwood, Paramount, Bellflower and parts of other nearby cities into one district.

The new district would be about 69 percent Hispanic. Horn won a fifth term last November by just 1 point - by far his closest re-election margin.

The plan for Bono's 44th district would join Imperial County with parts of Riverside County "to unite Latino communities that have been divided" in the southeast part of the state, Gonzalez said. That district would be nearly 50 percent Hispanic.



Roll Call
Between the Lines
By John Mercurio
July 16, 2001

Condit's (Redistricting) Dilemma.

The official line among California Democrats last week was that "no one's really thinking about" how Rep. Gary Condit's (D-Calif.) woes will affect redistricting in the nation's most-populous state.

"Don't believe that, not for a second. It's all we're thinking about. It's all we're talking about," said a top state Democratic official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Indeed, few House Members could have a more significant impact on redistricting in California than Condit, whose Central Valley 18th district is ripe for a GOP takeover (President Bush carried it by 9 points) and borders two Democratic-held districts desperately in need of help from party leaders, who control the state's remap.

Specifically, sources say, Democrats were debating how to shore up Condit, who won a sixth full term last year with 67 percent well before most people had even heard of missing 24-year-old intern Chandra Levy, while bolstering nearby Democratic Reps. Ellen Tauscher and Cal Dooley, who recently have faced competitive challengers. Other sources said party leaders are also preparing for Condit's possible resignation, which would allow them greater flexibility in the remap. Condit has said he plans to run for re-election.

Democrats also said they would like to target Rep. Richard Pombo (R), who represents a potential swing seat that borders Condit's to the north.

Meanwhile, Republicans, and some Democrats, have floated names of potential successors to Condit, either for a special election in the current district or in its new configuration in 2002.

State Republicans focused mostly on term-limited state Sen. Dick Monteith, who said he would run for Congress if Condit does not seek another term.

Democratic prospects included former Rep. Richard Lehman, an ally of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), state Sen. Jim Costa and former state Assemblyman Rusty Areias.

Another possible Democratic candidate is state Assemblyman Dennis Cardoza, but Cardoza could be hindered by his own resume - he once worked for Condit as his special assistant for local government affairs.

National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Davis (Va.) said Republicans would target the district, but only if Condit is not on the ballot.

"The 18th district is a district that is trending more Republican with every election. If the seat were to become vacant, it would be a huge battleground," Davis said, adding that the NRCC has not conducted a poll there since Condit's troubles began.

Going to Court.

The GOP-led Legislature in Michigan voted along party lines to approve a House map last week that could force six Democratic incumbents to face-off in three primaries, but Democrats have already filed a court challenge to the plan.

The Republican plan would pit Democratic Reps. John Dingell and Lynn Rivers against each other in a district that favors Dingell; Dale Kildee against James Barcia in a seat that favors Kildee; and Sander Levin against David Bonior. Bonior, the Minority Whip, is retiring to run for governor in 2002.

Gov. John Engler (R) has said he will sign the redistricting bill. Republicans were able to target so many Democrats in part because Michigan's 16-Member delegation lost a House seat in reapportionment.

Last Wednesday a group of mostly Democrats filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Detroit challenging the plan, which experts say could switch the state's House delegation from 9-to-7 Democratic to 9-to-6 Republican. Tom Lewand, an aide of then Gov. James Blanchard (D), is the lead attorney for the Democrats.

Going to Court II.

Virginia Democrats plan to challenge a GOP-backed House map in court, charging that it dilutes minority influence by moving thousands of black voters now in Rep. Randy Forbes' (R) district into Rep. Bobby Scott's (D) district.

Notably, the GOP plan also removes Portsmouth, the home of state Sen. Louise Lucas (D), from Forbes' district. Lucas, who is black, narrowly lost a June 19 special election to Forbes in the southeastern Virginia district.

The map now faces scrutiny by the Justice Department under requirements of the Voting Rights Act. However, owing to the department's initial approval of the GOP-sponsored legislative maps earlier this month, several Democrats said they're preparing to go to court.

Scott, an African-American who saw his Richmond-based district largely redrawn in 1998 to reduce the percentage of black voters by 10 percent, said the main issue will be whether Republicans have "packed" black voters into his district, already a Democratic stronghold, for the purposes of "diluting" their strength elsewhere.

"The dilution in the 4th violates the Voting Rights Act," Scott said Friday. "In the old district, the minority voters in the 4th were able to elect a candidate of their choice and, in fact, candidates of choice in statewide elections carried the district. Under the new district, they would rarely carry the district."

Meehan's Bad Week.

While House GOP leaders in Washington last week blocked Rep. Marty Meehan's (D-Mass.) prized campaign finance reform plan, his Bay State colleagues offered scant support in his clash with state legislators over redistricting.

Members of the state's all-Democratic House delegation said they would not help Meehan restore district lines, threatened in a plan by state House Speaker Thomas Finneran (D), until Meehan announces whether he intends to run for governor next year.

"Until we know if he's running for governor, there's nothing to fight over," one House Member told the Boston Globe on the condition of anonymity.

Last week Finneran unveiled a House map that would eliminate Meehan's Lowell-based district, which is northwest of Boston, and replace it with one in the southeastern part of the state. The Finneran plan could force Meehan into the district of Rep. John Tierney (D), who doesn't intend to back down from the possibility of a Member-versus-Member primary with Meehan.

"I'm running for the 6th district, and I'm the incumbent there," he declared.

For his part, Meehan has said he will decide this summer whether to challenge Gov. Jane Swift (R) in 2002.

Additionally, the Finneran plan would force Rep. Mike Capuano (D) to run in a majority-minority district.

Chris Cillizza contributed to this report.

Roll Call
Between the Lines
By John Mercurio
July 9, 2001

Headed to Court.

Rep. Martin Frost (D-Texas), who has frequently predicted and privately hoped that redistricting in Texas would end up in court, appears to have gotten his wish.
Citing vanishing hopes that the state's divided Legislature could reach a remap consensus, Gov. Rick Perry (R) said last Thursday that he does not plan to spend the money required to hold a special redistricting session.

"It is now clear to me that the Texas Legislature is not currently able to reach a consensus on a new Congressional plan," he wrote in a letter to legislative leaders. "I have decided that it is not in the best interest of our State to call a special session at this time."

Perhaps more than most House Members from Texas, Frost has closely monitored his state's redistricting process, both in his role as chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and as a top target of GOP redistricting agents.

Last month Frost criticized a map put out by Republicans in the state's GOP-controlled Senate, which would have targeted him as well as Democratic Reps. Ken Bentsen and Nick Lampson.

"Passing a Congressional plan in both houses of the divided Texas Legislature was always a difficult task, particularly in light of the fact that they were unable to agree on a plan for their own legislative lines," Frost said in a statement last week. "I am very confident the courts will craft a fair plan that protects minority voting rights and honors Texas tradition by providing voters the opportunity to vote for their Member."

Rural-Urban Divide.

Most rural voters in Utah back a plan to expand freshman Rep. Jim Matheson's (D) Salt Lake City-based district into the state's rural reaches, placing them at odds with city voters who favor keeping the district's urban nature, a new poll shows.

About 43 percent of those surveyed in a Deseret News-KSL poll favored dividing Salt Lake County among Utah's three Members. But only 29 percent of Salt Lake City residents backed the idea of blending it with more rural regions, according to the survey, conducted June 25-30 by Dan Jones and Associates.

Jones, an independent pollster based in Salt Lake City, questioned 403 Utah residents; the poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent.

The plan, which Matheson has threatened to challenge in court, has the backing of the state's two House Republicans, Reps. Jim Hansen and Chris Cannon. But state Democrats are crying foul, noting that it would effectively end freshman Matheson's House tenure by diluting any Democratic strength in the 2nd.

Indeed, respondents to the survey were split largely along party lines.

The poll found that 48 percent of Democrats favored keeping Matheson's district wholly in Salt Lake County, while only 33 percent favored splitting the county three ways. Republicans preferred the three-way split by 53 percent, with only 17 percent saying the 2nd should be kept entirely in Salt Lake County.

Arab-Americans Decry Michigan Plan.

Arab-Americans are criticizing a GOP-sponsored redistricting plan in Michigan, saying it would weaken their clout in suburban Detroit, one of their largest communities.

"The dividing line goes through the heart of Dearborn, with Arab-Americans on one side and the Europeans on the other," Ismael Ahmed, executive director of the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services, told the Detroit News.

"Because this is the center of the [most dense] Arab-American community in the United States, this has national implications," he added. "It's not that we don't like Detroit. Our representation would be weakened."

About one-third of the city's 98,000 residents are Arab-Americans. Approximately 300,000 Arab-Americans live in the Detroit area, which experts say is the highest concentration in the country.

Although state Republicans have cautioned that the plan is preliminary, Nasser Beydoun, executive director of the American-Arab Chamber of Commerce, said Arab-Americans might file a federal lawsuit if the final boundary lines are similar.

Colorado Commission.

Leaders of Colorado's divided Legislature last week assembled a bipartisan task force to start tackling redistricting, several months before legislators are scheduled to consider an actual map.

State Senate members of the task force are Majority Leader Bill Thiebaut (D), Terry Phillips (D), Ron Teck (R) and Doug Lamborn (R). State House members are Rosemary Marshall (D),Val Vigil (D), Keith King (R) and Joe Stengel (R).

Colorado gained one House seat in reapportionment, making it unclear which sitting House Members, if any, will be targeted.

Roll Call
Between the Lines
By John Mercurio
July 2, 2001

Drawn Out.

Marty Castro was ready for a primary challenge to Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.). A Chicago attorney and friend of Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin (D) and Mayor Richard Daley, Castro is a proven fundraiser with ties to the city's Hispanic and party activists, and he recently bought a house in the Hispanic-majority district that has re-elected Gutierrez four times.

However, that was before Illinois' House delegation drafted a new map that carved the block Castro recently moved onto out of Gutierrez's horseshoe-shaped district.

"It's not even a full city block. It's a half-block, and it just happens to be the half-block that I live on. This is not a coincidence," Castro said Thursday. "My wife and I went to sleep in the 4th Congressional district and we woke up in the 7th. ... It is exactly these kinds of politi cal games that make voters cynical about politics."

The new map, which has been embraced by state legislators, places Castro in the majority-black 7th, represented by African-American Rep. Danny Davis (D). Castro insisted he doesn't want to challenge Davis, saying, "I want to run in my community, and this is my community."

Castro is not alone. Elsewhere in Illinois, Lance Pressl (D), who took 39 percent in a 2000 challenge to Rep. Phil Crane (R) and planned to run again, is now drawn out of Crane's district - by less than 100 feet. State Sen. Barack Obama (D), who took 30 percent last year in a primary challenge to Rep. Bobby Rush (D), now lives two blocks from the border of Rush's district. State Sen. Donne Trotter (D) and George Roby, who also challenged Rush last year, were likewise drawn out of his district.

In southern Illinois, Mike Kelleher (D), who lost to now freshman Rep. Tim Johnson (R) last November, now lives down the street from Johnson's district.

Legislators and incumbent House Members have fiercely denied engaging in any self-interested monkey business, and Gutierrez spokesman Billy Weinberg said Castro's cries of foul play will backfire in the 4th.

"This is like people who move to the banks of the Mississippi River, and then when the water starts to rise, they complain that their house is the one that gets flooded. He's trying to make noises, and it's kind of an odd noise to make," Weinberg said.

"After a sustained period of making this your core issue, it dawns on voters that this is the only thing he has to talk about. To whatever extent he has the public megaphone, he's chosen to make a campaign issue of how the location of his house affects his political future."

Boosting Randy, Stiffing Ollie.

In charge of redistricting for the first time, Virginia Republicans last week signaled that they may use their new power to protect newly elected Rep. Randy Forbes (R) by increasing the percentage of white voters in his district.

However, the new maps outlined by GOP leaders of the General Assembly had some bad news for another Republican - 1994 Senate nominee Oliver North, who failed to persuade legislators to draw the district for which he had hoped.

Republicans are certain to hang Rep. Rick Boucher (D) with a more competitive district, but they rejected a plan advanced by North's supporters that would stretch the Democrat's southwestern Virginia seat into Northern Virginia, a move that could have set the stage for North to run against Boucher. Just days before Republicans unveiled the maps, North said he would run if a district was drawn for him.

The GOP map floated in the state House was drawn by state Del. Jeannemarie Devolites (R), a close friend of National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Davis (Va.).

In his role as NRCC chairman, Davis has said the committee will press state legislators to maximize potential Republican gains in redistricting. But the Devolites map protects Davis and two other House Members from Northern Virginia, including one House Democrat: Reps. Frank Wolf (R) and Jim Moran (D).

The clear winner in the GOP maps is Forbes, a former state Senator who narrowly beat African-American state Sen. Louise Lucas (D) in a June 19 special election. Lucas' strong showing in GOP-friendly district is widely attributed to unexpectedly high turnout among black voters.

Forbes' white constituency would increase from 59 to 67 percent under Devolites' plan. Most of the black voters in the 4th would be moved into the Richmond-based district of Rep. Bobby Scott (D), who in 1992 became the first African-American elected to Congress from Virginia since Reconstruction.

The General Assembly will consider the plans during a July 9 special session. Two other maps, introduced in the state Senate, were similar to Devolites' proposal.

Texas Remap.

Zeroing in on a trio of House Democrats, Republicans in the Lone Star State last week advanced a new map that would create two new minority districts, but is also aimed at giving the GOP a majority in the House delegation.

The map pushed by Republicans in the state's GOP-controlled Senate, which failed to produce a map during a legislative session earlier this year, would cause problems for House Democratic Caucus Chairman Martin Frost and Reps. Ken Bentsen and Nick Lampson.

Democrats have cried foul, and Frost, a Democratic point person on redistricting, lambasted Republicans in his home state for drafting a map that is "not a serious plan."

"The proposal moves the Legislature farther away from consensus on a Congressional map, not closer, because it differs significantly from the map already passed in the House Committee," Frost said. He added that the GOP map is "bizarrely shaped and extremely partisan."

Republicans say their plan creates 17 GOP-leaning seats and 15 Democratic seats. Democrats claim it's closer to 20 Republican seats, 10 Democratic seats and two swing districts.

Hoping to bypass a Republican-dominated process that features a Republican Senate and Gov. Rick Perry (R), Democrats, who run the state House, are criticizing the GOP plan in an effort to ensure that redistricting is resolved in court.

Perry has said he would call a special session for redistricting if both parties resolve their differences beforehand. Otherwise, he has threatened to send the issue to federal court. It is widely expected on both sides of the aisle that redistricting will end up there.



top of  page

______________________________________________________________________
Copyright © 2001 The Center for Voting and Democracy
6930 Carroll Ave. Suite 901    Takoma Park, MD  20912
(301) 270-4616 ____  [email protected]