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Posts in "Between the Lines"
October 15, 2012
If freshman Republican Rep. Dan Benishek is losing his grasp on Michigan’s 1st district, his campaign coffers don’t show it.
His campaign announced its best fundraising quarter ever today, raising a total of $510,000 from July 1 to Sept. 30 to close the period with more than $570,000 in cash on hand.
His opponent, former state Rep. Gary McDowell (D), reported raising just $400,000. But heading into the final weeks of the campaign, he is sitting on $600,000.
Recent polls suggest McDowell has gained ground on Benishek, a tea-party-backed physician who rode the 2010 Republican wave to Congress and is one of his party’s most vulnerable lawmakers. The Detroit Free Press endorsed McDowell on Sunday.
June 8, 2012
The nation’s decennial redistricting process finished late Thursday night when a federal court in Kansas released the state’s new Congressional map.
Despite the political drama leading up to the court’s decision, the new Kansas map doesn’t make any sweeping changes to the state’s Congressional lines.
According to a source who examined the lengthy order, here are the changes to the state’s four House districts:
- In the 1st district, freshman Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R) picked up Riley, Geary and Pottawatomie coutnies. The 1st district needed to add about 60,000 in the redraw. It remains a solidly GOP seat.
- In the 2nd district, Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R) picked up Montgomery County and all of Douglas County, including Lawrence and the University of Kansas. That means this district became slightly less Republican and could be competitive.
- In the 3rd district, freshman Rep. Kevin Yoder (R) now has all of Johnson County, Wyandotte County and a small piece of Miami County. As a result, the Republican performance in his district improved slightly. Yoder’s district needed to shed about 60,000 people in the redraw.
- In the 4th district, freshman Rep. Mike Pompeo (R) dropped Montgomery County and picked up several rural counties on the west side of his Wichita-based district. His seat is now even more friendly to Republicans.
Kansas had been the only state without a new Congressional map. For months, Republicans squabbled in the state Legislature over a new map in what should have been a simple process. The GOP controls the governor’s mansion, both state legislative chambers and the entire Congressional delegation in this geographically rectangular state.
In late May, for the first time in state history, a federal court took up the mapmaking process.
May 18, 2012
A federal court will take up the new Kansas Congressional map May 29, while the Republican-controlled state House will make a last-ditch effort to rescue the mapmaking process.
The court’s imminent redraw is unpredictable, but it’s likely at least one of the state’s four GOP Members will get a more competitive district under the new map.
The trial marks the beginning of the end of the mapmaking process in Kansas, the last state to finish its decennial redistricting. Republicans control the Legislature and every major office in the state, but GOP infighting halted the redraw process this spring. Full story
April 30, 2012
A Florida state circuit court ruled against a Democratic challenge to the state’s new Congressional map, denying a motion that the map violates the state constitution and declining to issue an injunction against the map.
The news comes hours after the Department of Justice greenlighted the GOP-drawn Congressional map. This, in effect, means that Democrats are probably stuck with the map passed by the GOP-controlled state Legislature earlier this year, which keeps most of the 19 Republican Members in comfortably safe districts. While Democrats could appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court, legal observers believe it is probably too late to change the 2012 lines. Full story
The Justice Department today precleared Florida’s Congressional map, making the GOP-friendly lines enforceable law.
The new lines, passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature and signed into law by GOP Gov. Rick Scott, are likely to lead to Democrats picking up two to four seats in November. But the Florida delegation is almost certain to remain overwhelmingly Republican. The current House delegation includes 19 Republicans and six Democrats. Reapportionment granted Florida two new seats because of increases in population.
The 1965 Voting Rights Act requires the Justice Department or the federal court in Washington, D.C., to certify new Congressional maps before they can be enforced. Full story
April 27, 2012
Kansas is now the only state in the country with an outstanding redistricting map.
New Hampshire’s new map became law on Monday when Gov. John Lynch (D) signed a bill passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature. Reps. Charles Bass and Frank Guinta ultimately agreed to the map after some earlier tension over moving voters between the two districts. Both Congressmen are being targeted by Democrats in an effort to defeat them this cycle.
March 19, 2012
UPDATED 5:35 p.m. | A federal three-judge panel begrudgingly adopted a court-drawn Congressional redistricting plan for New York, locking in lines for this November’s election after the perpetually deadlocked Empire State Legislature failed to fulfill its constitutional responsibility to update a map to reflect changes in population.
On March 12, federal Magistrate Judge Roanne L. Mann released a proposed map. In today’s opinion, the three-judge panel ordered the state of New York to adopt that plan “in its entirety.” The panel made tiny tweaks to Mann’s map in a few districts that won’t materially affect any candidates or political outcomes.
March 15, 2012
The Department of Justice raised no objections to Virginia’s Congressional redistricting plan on Wednesday, ending a turbulent process and clearing the way for the state’s primaries to be held in June, as scheduled.
“Now that the lines are effective, the June congressional primaries can proceed on time and in an orderly fashion,” state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said in a statement. Full story
March 13, 2012
UPDATED 4:25 p.m. | There’s a growing bipartisan sense in top political circles in New York that the Congressional redistricting map released by a federal judge late last night represents the final lines for the 2012 cycle.
Despite certain Democrats and Republicans pushing furiously for the Legislature to draw a map — one that creates a new majority-minority district in New York City or shores up Rep. Peter King (R) on Long Island or creates better districts for Reps. Kathy Hochul (D) and Chris Gibson (R) upstate — competing agendas make it more likely than not that the judge’s map will the final one.
“At this point, I’d be surprised if something other than this is” the map, said one national Republican familiar with New York redistricting. That’s a sentiment plugged-in Empire State Democrats echoed in interviews with Roll Call.
March 12, 2012
The new map, which could represent the final Empire State lines, imperils Reps. Kathy Hochul (D), Chris Gibson (R) and Bob Turner (R). It also leaves Rep. Gary Ackerman (D) with a tough election slog. Full story
The New Hampshire House of Representatives is finally beginning to move ahead with the state’s redistricting, according to a New Hampshire Union Leader report.
The state House committee that oversees redistricting recommended a plan that “effectively sided with U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta over U.S. Rep. Charlie Bass in their redistricting feud,” according to the Union Leader.
March 6, 2012
A federal magistrate judge released a draft Congressional map late Monday that drew some Members together and riled Empire State politics, putting immense pressure on the long-deadlocked state Legislature to find a redistricting solution of its own.
On first take, analysts of both parties saw freshman Reps. Chris Gibson (R), Kathy Hochul (D) and Bob Turner (R) in the biggest trouble under the new map. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D), who was drawn into the same district as Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (D), appears to have a district to run in, though it won’t be the one he lives in. He is not expected to run against Israel.
Hochul’s home appears to have been drawn into four-term Rep. Brian Higgins’ (D) district, setting up the potential of a Member-vs.-Member primary. The district that is most similar to the one she currently represents remains difficult turf for any Democrat. Full story
March 1, 2012
The federal court in San Antonio issued an order today setting a new primary schedule. The ruling comes a couple of days after the same federal court ordered a new interim Congressional map for the Lone Star State.
You can check out the court’s full order, sent over by the Texas Democratic Party, below. But here are the key dates:
- March 2: The filing period reopens
- March 9: The filing period closes at 6 p.m.
- May 29: Primary election
- June 10: Deadline for primary runoff candidates to withdraw from the ballot
- July 31: Primary runoff election Full story
Updated 12:25 p.m. | It’s no surprise that all the action is in the Big Apple.
The New York state Assembly Democratic majority released a proposed Congressional map late Wednesday that eliminated the upstate district of retiring Democratic Rep. Maurice Hinchey and pitted freshman Rep. Bob Turner (R) and powerful seven-term Rep. Joe Crowley (D) against each other in the heart of New York City.
Even though more of the newly configured district comes from Turner’s current territory, Crowley would have a substantial edge if there were to be a battle between the two Members.
The Democratic map also draws Rep. Gary Ackerman (D) into Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel’s Long Island-based seat and makes Ackerman vulnerable to a primary challenge in his reconstituted district. A map from the state Senate Republicans completely eliminates Ackerman’s district.
February 29, 2012
The disjointed, perpetually deadlocked, rumor-filled, agita-inducing drama of New York Congressional redistricting moves into its final act today, with the Legislature expected to submit proposed lines to a judge by midnight and a final map approved within less than a month.
Magistrate Judge Roanne L. Mann has ordered all the parties involved in a redistricting lawsuit, which include state Assembly and Senate Democrats and Republicans, to submit their proposed Congressional plans to the court by today, if they are submitting plans at all. With control of the Legislature split, the main plans are expected to be submitted by Democrats from the Assembly and Republicans in the Senate. The opposing sides reportedly remained deadlocked this morning. Full story