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December 21, 2014

Posts in "Redistricting"

June 18, 2013

3 Ways to Rule on the Voting Rights Act

The Supreme Court is expected to rule next week on Section 5 of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965, which requires certain states with a history of discrimination to get federal approval for any changes to voting laws.

The ruling could have wide impact on how states such as Texas apportion their congressional districts, among other state laws governing the most basic franchise of citizenship.

According to election law experts from both parties, here are the three most likely ways the court decision could come down:

Full story

June 17, 2013

Kentucky Governor Mulls Redistricting Do-Over (Updated)

Updated 5:45 p.m. | Kentucky Democratic Gov. Steven L. Beshear said his state might have to redo its 2012 redistricting map, according to The Associated Press.

At issue is whether prison inmates ought to be included in district counts. Inmates were included in congressional lines but not state legislative lines. Beshear is seeking “to make sure all of them are done on a consistent basis,” per the AP.

The current map was designed for incumbent protection. Even so, one incumbent went home after the 2012 elections: Democratic Rep. Ben Chandler.

Full story

March 26, 2013

Napolitano Predicts Arizona Will Become Democratic Stronghold

Napolitano Predicts Arizona Will Become Democratic Stronghold

Napolitano thinks Arizona will transform from a swing state to a Democratic stronghold. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano predicted Arizona will follow its Southwestern neighbors and move from swing-state status to Democratic stronghold as the border state’s demographics continue to change.

On Tuesday, the former Arizona governor told reporters that she is confident her home state will take after Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado in gaining Democratic voters in the coming cycles.

“Arizona will be behind them,” Napolitano said during a discussion hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. “I think it will be more purple over time, but ultimately blue.”

In 2012, Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., secured his first term with a 3-point margin of victory in a race much closer than many operatives anticipated. Meanwhile, partisan control of the congressional delegation flipped as Democrats won two House seats and Republicans lost one seat. But those gains were also a reflection of a newly redrawn congressional map that favored Democrats.

“It’ll happen, I think,” Napolitano said. “The fact that I could win three straight elections there, I think is indicative that Democrats can win and do win in Arizona.”

In the 2012 elections, Republican Mitt Romney carried Arizona with more than 54 percent of the vote. In John McCain’s failed bid for president in 2008, the GOP senator won his home state with 53 percent.

But the recent presidential elections have been somewhat anomalous, Napolitano said. In 2012, President Barack Obama’s campaign “really didn’t play in Arizona,” and McCain is a “favorite son” back home, she said.

Full story

February 12, 2013

Obama to Create Bipartisan Commission on Voting Problems

President Barack Obama announced his intention to create a nonpartisan commission to “improve the voting experience in America” during his State of the Union address Tuesday night.

“I’m asking two longtime experts in the field, who, by the way, recently served as the top attorneys for my campaign and for Gov. [Mitt] Romney’s campaign, to lead it,” Obama told lawmakers gathered in the House chamber.

Bob Bauer, a lawyer at Perkins Coie who served as Obama’s White House counsel, also chaired his re-election committee and counsels the Democratic National Committee.

Benjamin Ginsberg, a lawyer at Patton Boggs, advised the Romney campaign and was also national counsel to the Bush/Cheney campaign in 2000 and 2004.

The commission would focus on specific Election Day issues and not delve into more comprehensive voting overhaul efforts, according to media reports.

Obama referenced the need to overhaul voting procedures in both his November victory speech and his inaugural address, saying on Election Day of the long lines: “We need to fix that.” He echoed that sentiment Tuesday evening. Full story

February 5, 2013

Arizona: State GOP Prepares for Redistricting — in 2022

The Arizona Republican Party announced Tuesday that it has formed a committee of “experts and stakeholders” to prepare for the next redistricting cycle, slated for 2022.

“Arizona’s political landscape today reflects a flawed process where election districts were drawn up based on a one-sided political agenda and too much secrecy, and I’m taking action now to make sure that doesn’t happen again,” state GOP Chairman Robert Graham said in a statement.

“We are looking for an honest and open process that doesn’t favor one group of voters over another — one that is truly bipartisan and treats voters equally while putting an end to the discrimination against Republicans.”

Arizona featured one of the most protracted, nasty rounds of redistricting of any state last cycle. But operatives from both parties admit that Democrats got the better end of the independent commission-drawn map during the decennial process.

Full story

January 29, 2013

Ohio: Boccieri Plots Comeback to Congress

Ohio: Boccieri Plots Comeback to Congress

Former Rep. John Boccieri has filed to run for Congress in 2014. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Rep. John Boccieri, a Democrat from north-central Ohio, will attempt to return to Congress in 2014.

Boccieri filed paperwork to challenge Republican Rep. Bob Gibbs in the 7th District. But he told the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Monday that he might also seek Rep. Tim Ryan’s seat if the Democrat retires to run for governor.

Buckeye State Democrats view Boccieri as a strong candidate who could give Gibbs a competitive race in the GOP-leaning 7th District. Meanwhile, Ryan has not ruled out leaving his solidly Democratic seat to run for governor.

Boccieri served in the House for a single term following the 2008 elections, before GOP Rep. James B. Renacci defeated him. In 2012, Republicans redrew Ohio’s congressional boundaries, dividing Boccieri’s former terrain among a few new House districts.

Boccieri did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

January 24, 2013

California: Joe Baca Wants to Return to Congress

California: Joe Baca Wants to Return to Congress

Baca says he wants back in the game, two months after losing re-election. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Two months after he was ousted from Congress by a fellow Democrat, former California Rep. Joe Baca said he wants back in.

Baca told the Riverside Press-Enterprise he plans to challenge Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod, who defeated him 56 percent to 44 percent in the redrawn 35th District east of Los Angeles.

“If you get knocked down, you’ve got to stand up,” Baca told the newspaper Thursday.

Baca was undone in part by the state’s new top-two primary system, which allowed Negrete McLeod to advance to the general despite finishing second in the first round of balloting June 5. But the seven-term congressman was also hit by a late multimillion dollar ad campaign by Independence USA PAC, a super PAC formed by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an independent.

“Hopefully, this time I run against [Negrete McLeod] and not against the mayor of New York,” Baca told the newspaper.

November 27, 2012

Westmoreland Named NRCC Deputy Chairman

Westmoreland Named NRCC Deputy Chairman

Westmoreland has been appointed deputy chairman of the NRCC. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia has been appointed deputy chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee for the 2014 election cycle by incoming NRCC Chairman Greg Walden of Oregon.

Westmoreland oversaw a very successful nationwide redistricting effort for the NRCC during the 2012 cycle, helping the GOP keep control of the House on Nov. 6.

The decennial redraw of maps helped push a number of vulnerable GOP-held seats into the safe Republican category, creating a map that would likely require a wave election if Democrats are to be successful in taking back the House.

“Lynn is savvy, thoughtful and a hard worker.  He knows what it takes to win elections,” Walden said in a statement.

October 31, 2012

Joe Walsh Struggles With Crossover Appeal in Chicago Suburbs

Joe Walsh Struggles With Crossover Appeal in Chicago Suburbs

Rep. Joe Walsh speaks to supporters in front of his Addison Township campaign headquarters in Elmhurst, Ill., on Saturday morning. (Shira Toeplitz/CQ Roll Call)

PALATINE, Ill. — Freshman Rep. Joe Walsh (R) and Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth (D) have polar opposite personalities and politics. But they have one unusual similarity in this House race: They are both battling their national profiles to win this northwestern suburban Chicago House seat.

An unlikely victor last cycle, Walsh embodies the feisty tea party spirit of 2010 but made headlines on cable news for his rookie gaffes. Duckworth, a double amputee, is a Democratic darling who missed an opportunity to win a 2006 Congressional race at the height of the country’s anti-war frustration.

This cycle’s contest would have been a clash of two political movements if all signs didn’t point to a Democratic victory. But Duckworth picked up a few campaign tricks in the past six years, becoming a better candidate since she lost to now-Rep. Peter Roskam (R) by 2 points. Her fan base extends downstate to Democrats in Springfield, who redrew the 8th district to be more favorable to the party and to include her Hoffman Estates home. Full story

Changed Politics and District Haunt Judy Biggert in Illinois

Changed Politics and District Haunt Judy Biggert in Illinois

(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

LEMONT, Ill. — Rep. Judy Biggert built a reputation as a genteel Republican willing to work across the aisle during her 14 years in Congress.

But politics has changed, and Biggert has not.

“The last time I went to the Civility Caucus, there were three people there: the two co-chairs and me,”  Biggert recalled to a roundtable of local business leaders last week.

Today, one of those co-chairmen is the head of the organization that has already spent $1.35 million to defeat her next week: Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (N.Y.).

Biggert has never faced a race like this — and it shows. Now there’s a good chance her hesitance to embrace the aggressive tactics of today’s politics could cost her in her race against former Rep. Bill Foster (D). Full story

October 30, 2012

Robert Dold Fights District, Party Label in Bid for Second Term

Robert Dold Fights District, Party Label in Bid for Second Term

Rep. Robert Dold and his 5-year-old daughter, Honor, greet a supporter at his campaign headquarters in Highland Park, Ill. (Shira Toepliz/CQ Roll Call)

HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. — Freshman Rep. Robert Dold boasts the dubious distinction of representing the most Democratic district of any Republican Member of the House.

If he’s lucky, Dold will keep that title next year in this redrawn district north of Chicago.

“Where is Zion?” asked his daughter Harper, 10, studying an atlas from the front seat of Dold’s blue, decorated campaign bus early Saturday afternoon. “Is this the right map?”

That’s probably the same question Dold asked himself 16 months ago, when Democrats redrew the Congressional map in Illinois. Democrats unsuccessfully dumped millions into the 10th district during the past three cycles, so Dold began his first term as a top target, even before the redrawn map made his road to a second term more challenging. Full story

October 26, 2012

Ohio: Jim Renacci Releases Poll Amid Questions on Ad Strategy

Ohio: Jim Renacci Releases Poll Amid Questions on Ad Strategy

Rep. Betty Sutton makes a campaign stop at an Ohio Association of Professional Fire Fighters meeting at the Knights of Columbus in Avon, Ohio. Sutton is in a tight campaign for Ohio's 16th district against her Republican rival, Rep. Jim Renacci. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

CHICAGO — Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Ohio) today released a poll that showed him with a 10-point lead over his opponent, Rep. Betty Sutton (D).

Renacci led Sutton, 51 percent to 41 percent, in a survey conducted for the freshman Republican’s campaign. Seven percent of voters said they were undecided.

The survey results come just after Renacci stopped airing advertisements in the Cleveland broadcast market through Election Day. His strategy puzzled Democrats and, privately, some Republicans too. Both parties view the race as highly competitive, and Roll Call rates it as a Tossup.

Full story

October 21, 2012

After ‘Brutal’ Races, Steve Stivers Sits Pretty in Redrawn Ohio District

After Brutal Races, Steve Stivers Sits Pretty in Redrawn Ohio District

(Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

CIRCLEVILLE, Ohio — It’s less than three weeks before Election Day, and Rep. Steve Stivers (R) appears relaxed for the first time in six years.

After running in the battleground state’s most competitive House district for two cycles, Stivers will coast to re-election in November — thanks to redistricting.

“They were brutal,” Stivers said of his 2008 and 2010 races, while lining up to drive with his toddler, Sarah, in the Pumpkin Show Parade here. After the GOP-led redraw, “we’re not on anybody’s target list,” Stivers added.

That’s a first. Full story

September 10, 2012

California: John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Joe Lieberman Endorse Howard Berman

California: John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Joe Lieberman Endorse Howard Berman

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Howard Berman, running against a fellow Democrat in California’s redrawn 30th district, today announced endorsements from Republican Sens. John McCain (Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.), plus Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.).

Drawn together with Rep. Brad Sherman, Berman is hoping to pick up as many non-Democratic votes as possible in the heavily Democratic district in the San Fernando Valley. The endorsements from the three Senators focused on Berman’s foreign policy chops as ranking member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and his ability to work across the aisle. Full story

August 29, 2012

Arizona: David Schweikert Defeats Ben Quayle in GOP Primary

Arizona: David Schweikert Defeats Ben Quayle in GOP Primary

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. David Schweikert will be returning to Congress and Rep. Ben Quayle will not.

The two Republican freshmen have engaged in one of the nastiest Member-vs.-Member primaries of the cycle. At the time the Associated Press called the GOP primary, Schweikert was leading Quayle, 53 percent to 47 percent.

The two men shared similar political records. In the final stretch, it was a brutal, personal fight.

Full story

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