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Posts in "Between the Lines"
February 28, 2012
A federal three-judge panel in San Antonio released a new interim Texas Congressional map today after both parties failed to produce a compromise following weeks of wrangling in court.
The court-ordered map resembles a February proposal from state Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) that gave Democrats a new district in the Fort Worth area, effectively giving Republicans a 25-to-11 advantage in the Congressional delegation.
The fate of the Texas 2012 map remained uncertain for weeks after the Supreme Court ruled in January that the San Antonio court overstepped its boundaries with its original proposal for an interim map. There are several seats at stake on the new Texas map, which increased by four House districts due to explosive population growth, mostly in the Hispanic community.
Texas officials were forced to delay their primary twice while maps worked their way through two separate court systems. The San Antonio court released a revised interim map just in time for both parties to hold their primary on May 29.
Virginia is one step away from completing redistricting after the Richmond Circuit Court on Monday dismissed a lawsuit challenging the Legislature-drawn Congressional map.
The lawsuit argued that the state Legislature, which Republicans won complete control of in November’s state elections, was constitutionally mandated to complete redistricting in 2011. A similar lawsuit filed in federal court was dismissed Feb. 10. Full story
February 21, 2012
Let there be no doubt, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) staked her claim today on the newly drawn 6th district of Minnesota.
A special court panel drew the Congresswoman’s home into Rep. Betty McCollum’s (D) 4th district, but she forcefully told Roll Call that the 6th district was where she planned to continue her legislative career.
“I wanted to be very clear, unmistakable, unequivocal today out of the gate, I will be running in the 6th district,” she said. “So there was no question so people would be able to make their decisions accordingly as well.”
Although the newly released Minnesota Congressional reapportionment map has drawn Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) into Rep. Betty McCollum’s (D) 4th district, a Twin Cities Member-vs.-Member race is not in the cards.
Bachmann will continue to run in the 6th district, even though her residence does not fall within the new lines, according to a source in her camp. At first glance, Minnesota Republicans say, the new 6th district actually improves a Republican’s chances of winning.
February 16, 2012
Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) signed a new Congressional map into law that solidifies the huge GOP majority in the Sunshine State’s federal delegation. Democrats are challenging the lines in court, saying they violate a 2010 state constitutional amendment that requires lines to be drawn without “the intent to favor or disfavor a political party or an incumbent.”
“Today Governor Scott signed legislation to establish Congressional Districts of the State,” Scott spokeswoman Jackie Schutz said in a statement. “Governor Scott respects the Legislature’s prerogative on this subject and believes they have upheld their constitutional duty to redraw Florida’s districts.”
For more redistricting news, check out our latest Between the Lines column.
February 14, 2012
A federal judge has begun the process of moving New York’s Congressional redistricting toward the courts.
In an order released Monday night, Brooklyn U.S. District Court Judge Dora Irizarry asked the chief judge of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals to appoint a three-judge panel to appoint a special master to draw Congressional lines. She cited the impending Congressional candidate petitioning process, set to begin on March 20, as an impetus for the ruling. Full story
February 13, 2012
One of two lawsuits filed by Virginia residents over the General Assembly’s inability to complete Congressional redistricting last year was dismissed in federal court Friday.
According to the office of Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia dismissed the case brought by six residents in part “based on its finding that the recent actions of the General Assembly in passing a new redistricting rendered the case moot.”
The decision came one day after the state House of Delegates unanimously approved a bill that would push back the Congressional primaries from June 12 to Aug. 21 — a move requested by Cuccinelli in reaction to the lawsuits. The emergency bill must be passed by the state Senate and signed by Gov. Bob McDonnell (R). Full story
February 10, 2012
At long last, Kentucky’s Congressional delegation can break out the bourbon.
After weeks of Sturm und Drang, the split state Legislature passed a solid incumbent-protection map this afternoon. It will be signed into law by Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear today.
“I’m signing this bill today to provide certainty to this process so candidates can file for office,” Beshear said in a statement. “Redistricting is always a partisan process, and no redistricting plan will please everybody.”
One person who is pleased: Democratic Rep. Ben Chandler, who won an extremely close race in 2010 against Lexington attorney Andy Barr (R). Chandler faces a rematch, but in a better-performing district. He is now expected to comfortably win re-election.
February 9, 2012
The Republican-controlled Florida Senate passed a redistricting map today, sending Congressional lines that cement a strong Republican majority in the delegation to Gov. Rick Scott’s (R) desk.
Democrats immediately announced they had filed a lawsuit alleging that the map violates a 2010 popularly enacted state constitutional amendment that prohibits crafting Congressional lines with “the intent to favor or disfavor a political party or an incumbent.” Democrats blasted the state GOP, which also controls the state House. Full story
February 8, 2012
Gov. Lincoln Chafee (I) signed into law today the redistricting plan that Rhode Island’s Legislature passed last week.
Rep. David Cicilline (D) is the big winner under the new map. It is anticipated that he will have a tough re-election race this cycle, but his redrawn district shifts Democratic voters from fellow Democratic Rep. James Langevin’s 2nd district into Cicilline’s 1st district.
February 3, 2012
A Missouri circuit court today ruled against a group of citizens hoping to overturn the Show-Me State’s Congressional redistricting maps on the grounds that they did not meet state constitutional muster.
That’s bad news for Rep. Russ Carnahan, whose current district was essentially eliminated in last year’s redraw. The new map puts him in the same district as fellow Democratic Rep. William Lacy Clay, setting up the potential of a Member-vs.-Member race.
Carnahan, a four-term Congressman, supported the plaintiffs’ case and had hoped for a court to draw him a new district where he could comfortably run.
The plaintiffs argued that the new lines, passed over the Democratic governor’s veto, did not meet the state constitutional requirement for compactness. The circuit court had earlier dismissed the case but the state Supreme Court ordered the lower court to look at the merits of the compactness claim more closely. The court did that over the course of a short trial and, today, the judge tartly decided not to rule in the plaintiffs’ favor. Full story
The GOP-controlled Florida state House passed a Congressional redistricting map today, moving the Republican-friendly lines one step closer to becoming law.
The map passed by a margin of 80 to 37. The lines are identical to the version passed out of the House Redistricting Committee that solidifies the substantial GOP advantage in the delegation. The map can be seen here and is expected to pass the state Senate and be signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott (R) soon. Full story
February 2, 2012
The Kentucky Legislature, deadlocked for weeks over a Congressional redistricting map, took a huge step toward the passage of final lines today.
The Democratic-controlled state House and the Republican-held state Senate have reached a tentative agreement, a spokesman for the Speaker confirmed. Draft maps are expected to be released as early as tonight.
Sources told Roll Call that the map will protect incumbents and likely keep the 6th district’s political bent the same, giving a leg up to Rep. Ben Chandler (D) in his rematch with Lexington attorney Andy Barr.
February 1, 2012
At Roll Call, there’s no race like a Member-vs.-Member contest. Here’s the fundraising breakdown for these redistricting-forced battles, plus our picks for which Member won the money battle in the fourth quarter:
Democrats Vs. Democrats:
- CA-30: Rep. Howard Berman obliterated Rep. Brad Sherman by bringing in almost eight times his haul in the fourth quarter. Berman raised just more than $1 million, while Sherman raised just $126,000. Sherman still has more in his bank account with almost $3.7 million in cash on hand. But Berman is quickly catching up and now has close to $2.9 million in the bank. MONEY WINNER: Berman, by eight-fold.
- CA-44: Rep. Laura Richardson raised more than Rep. Janice Hahn in the fourth quarter, bringing in $103,00 compared with the newly elected Congresswoman’s $77,000. Richardson had more in the bank, too, with $132,00 in cash on hand. Hahn reported $76,00 in cash on hand. MONEY WINNER: Richardson, by a little. Full story