Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 5, 2015

Posts in "Redistricting"

July 29, 2015

The Software That Draws the Political Landscape

Maptitude for Redistricting

Maptitude’s dominance in the redistricting software market came about nearly by accident. (Photo Courtesy of Caliper Corporation)

Maptitude for Redistricting may not be a household name, but it is dominant in the niche market of redistricting software and is used to literally shape the political landscape.

Its client roster features a majority of state legislatures, two national party committees and the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, plus the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, which was upheld in a Supreme Court decision last month.

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July 23, 2015

Ahead of Redraw, Virginia Republicans Jockey for Safe Seats

Brat is one of three Republicans whose district is most likely to change. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Brat is one of three Republicans whose district is most likely to change. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Virginia Democrats say their congressional map can’t get any worse.

In a state President Barack Obama carried twice, their party holds just three seats in the 11-member delegation. With a new round of redistricting coming up next month, the question now is which districts get rougher for Republicans. Full story

July 20, 2015

Florida Legislature Called Into Special Redistricting Session

Graham's district is likely to become more Republican in a mid-decade redraw of Florida's congressional map. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Graham’s district is likely to become more Republican in a mid-decade redraw of Florida’s congressional map. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Florida legislators were notified Monday that a special session will be held Aug. 10 to 21 to approve a new congressional district map.

In a memo to members of the state Legislature, state Senate President Andy Gardiner and state Speaker Steve Crisafulli said a map will be drawn and made public before the legislature convenes for the two-week session, where state legislators will have the ability to debate and amend it.

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July 15, 2015

Florida Redistricting Creates Giant Game of Musical Chairs

Jolly is running for Senate in Florida in 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican Jolly’s House district is likely to become a Democratic one. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The music has started in a game of musical chairs in Florida that will have sweeping implications for the state’s political landscape.

Republican Rep. David Jolly will likely announce a bid for Florida’s open Senate seat next week, the first implication from the Florida State Supreme Court last week striking down the state’s congressional map. Jolly’s 13th District is likely to favor a Democratic candidate after the map is redrawn, pushing the one-term Republican to enter the already crowded GOP Senate primary to replace GOP Sen. Marco Rubio, who is forgoing re-election to run for president.

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July 9, 2015

Florida Supreme Court Strikes Down Congressional Map (Updated)

Corrine Brown's district was at the center of the court case. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Corrine Brown’s district was at the center of the court case. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 3:05 p.m. | The Florida Supreme Court struck down a sizable portion of the state’s congressional map, throwing the 2016 elections into a state of disarray.

In a 5-2 decision Thursday, the court ruled the GOP-led redistricting process was “tainted” by partisanship and drawn to favor Republican incumbents. The Legislature has now been tasked with redrawing eight of the state’s 27 congressional districts within, as well as adjacent districts affected by the new lines. Full story

June 29, 2015

Voting-Rights Advocates Get Win at Supreme Court

Monday’s big election law news came from the Supreme Court’s penultimate decision of the term upholding Arizona’s congressional districts.

But before handing down its last three decisions, the court made voting-rights advocates happy by deciding not to review a different election case.

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Supreme Court Upholds Arizona’s Congressional Map (Updated)

U.S. Supreme Court

The court could have thrown elections in Arizona and California into chaos. (File Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 11:20 a.m. | The Supreme Court upheld Arizona’s congressional map Monday, declaring in a 5-4 ruling the use of an independent redistricting commission that drew House district lines in the 2012 cycle did not violate the Constitution.

If the court had thrown out the state’s map, it could have sent the 2016 elections into chaos in Arizona and it could have had implications for neighboring California’s map, drawn by a similar independent commission.

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June 23, 2015

Parties Gear Up for Crucial Test in Only Competitive Texas District

 

Hurd is one of two African American Republicans in Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Hurd, left, is one of two African-American Republicans in the House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The districts that are expected to provide true, edge-of-your-seat general election excitement this cycle are few and far between. One of the biggest — in size and importance — is Texas’ 23rd.

Aside from being Texas’ only competitive race, the district is “also important because it signals an ability for each party to compete,” said Progress Texas Executive Director Ed Espinoza.

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June 9, 2015

5 Congressional Maps That Redistricting Could Change for 2016

The Supreme Court will decide a redistricting case this month with implications for House members in 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Supreme Court is expected to decide a redistricting case this month with implications for House members in 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Legal battles over redistricting in nearly a half-dozen states could leave operatives from both parties scrambling to understand a new political landscape in the months leading up to next year’s primary and general-election contests.

The biggest domino in that fight will fall by the end of June, when the Supreme Court is expected to announce whether it is constitutional for an independent redistricting commission to draw Arizona’s congressional map. If the court deems the map unconstitutional, it would upend Arizona’s district lines, and affect other states that also utilize independent redistricting commissions.

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March 2, 2015

Both Parties Monitoring Impact of Arizona Redistricting Case

The Supreme Court's forthcoming redistricting ruling could affect Kirkpatrick's district. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Supreme Court’s forthcoming redistricting ruling could affect Kirkpatrick’s district. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Supreme Court appeared divided Monday on an Arizona redistricting case that could have implications for congressional elections beyond the Southwestern state’s borders.

The court heard oral arguments in Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, which questions whether independent commissions — rather than state legislatures — have the power to draw the lines of congressional districts.

Full story

January 1, 2015

10 Races to Watch in 2016: Virginia’s 10th District

barbara comstock

Comstock will represent Virginia's 10th District in the new Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A court-mandated redraw of Virginia’s congressional map could have sweeping implications for the delegation — including the new member representing the competitive 10th District, Rep.-elect Barbara Comstock, a Republican.

A judge tossed Virginia’s congressional map in October, ruling the lines drawn in 2012 unconstitutionally packed black voters into the 3rd District held by Rep. Robert C. Scott, D-Va. State lawmakers must draw and pass a new map by April 2015, meanwhile the delegation’s eight GOP members have appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court.

Even slight shifts could alter the 10th District — which includes parts of Fairfax, Prince William and Loudoun counties. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried the district by a slim 1-point margin in 2012, while President Barack Obama carried it by a 3-point margin in 2008.

Comstock handily defeated her Democratic opponent, Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust, to win the open seat in 2014. It was left vacant when her former boss, GOP Rep. Frank R. Wolf, retired. 

But a new congressional map could either make Comstock’s seat safe for the foreseeable future, or make the district more competitive by including more Democrats from Fairfax County.

Currently, the 10th District is one of the most expensive in the country to run a House campaign because it’s located in the prohibitively expensive Washington, D.C., media market. Even under the new lines, it’s extremely unlikely that will change.

Editor’s Note: Over the two weeks, Roll Call will unveil its Top 10 Races to Watch for 2016. The final edition will run Jan. 2 with the full list. In no specific order, additional races to watch in 2016 include California SenateIllinois Senate, Nevada Senate, North Carolina SenatePennsylvania Senate, Florida’s 2nd District, New Hampshire’s 1st District and New York’s 11th District

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December 16, 2014

House Democratic Losses Deplete Bench of 2016 Senate Recruits

2016 elections

Sweeping House losses have not only pushed Democrats into a historic minority, they’ve depleted the bench of potential Senate recruits for the 2016 elections.

After losing the majority in the midterms, Senate Democrats are seeking strong recruits for 2016 in hopes of netting the five seats necessary to ensure they win control again. Party officials argue the majority is within reach because many Senate Republicans elected in 2010 are seeking re-election in a presidential cycle in competitive states such as Florida, Illinois, Ohio, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

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October 31, 2014

Senate Democrats’ Super Lawyer Preps for Overtime

Elias speaks with Roll Call at Perkins Coie's D.C. office Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As the Senate chamber erupted in applause after the swearing-in of Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, Majority Leader Harry Reid eventually looked up and directed his appreciation toward the newest senator’s attorneys.

On that day, more than five years ago, standing alongside his two Franken campaign co-counsels was Marc Elias, the Democrats’ go-to attorney. He’d spent the previous eight months in Minneapolis in a seemingly unending recount and trial that ultimately resulted in a 60th Senate seat for the party.

This cycle, as Franken is favored for re-election and Democrats fight to hold their majority, Elias sat down with CQ Roll Call to chat about Senate races, where exactly he’ll be watching election returns on Nov. 4, which states he’s keeping an eye on for potential recounts and his role in one of the longest recounts in Senate history.

(Join us on Election Night: Live Stream With Analysis, Results and More at RollCall.com)

“It was a very emotional thing,” Elias said of standing in the chamber on July 7, 2009. “Not just because of the fact that Franken was getting sworn-in, but I remember Leader Reid looking up at us, Sen. [John] Kerry and all these other members that I’d been involved with in representing, and it was really a great moment.”

Full story

October 30, 2014

Where GOP White House Hopefuls Stumped in 2014 (Chart)

Roberts, left, campaigned with Cruz, right. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When the myriad Republican presidential contenders start campaigning for 2016, their journeys might not look much different from this cycle.

From Iowa to New Hampshire, every Republican who is even remotely considering a 2016 bid hit the trail this year to help Senate contenders. What’s more, several competitive Senate races are this year conveniently in states that play host to early nominating contests in 2016.

Joni Ernst, the Republican running for the open seat in Iowa, has had almost every presidential hopeful campaign for her.

Thom Tillis, the Republican nominee in North Carolina, has had visits from even more of them. North Carolina’s legislature voted last year to move the primary to the Tuesday after South Carolina’s contest, placing it in the early group of presidential primary states.

Check out the chart for a full look at who appeared where:
Full story

October 23, 2014

Florida Redistricting Case Heads to State Supreme Court

florida redistricting

The Florida Supreme Court voted Thursday to hear a case challenging Florida’s congressional map, setting oral arguments for March.

According to The Associated Press, the court ruled 5-2 to take up the case, fast tracking it through the appeals process. Full story

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