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From the Los Angeles Times

A bookstore owner from Yolo County, a retired engineer from Claremont, an insurance agent from San Gabriel and an attorney from Norco are among those who will determine how legislative districts are drawn as part of an experiment that promises to drastically change the state’s political landscape.

Until now, the boundaries of legislative and congressional districts were drawn every 10 years by state legislators in a process that critics said was often skewed for partisan advantage or to protect incumbents. Many officeholders have been able to skate from election to election without much in the way of serious competition.

But through a series of ballot measures, California voters have set the state on a radically different course with an unknown outcome. In 2008, voters gave the job of drawing legislative district lines to a new Citizens Redistricting Commission. This month, voters gave the commission additional powers, handing them authority over congressional districts. And Thursday, the first members of that new commission were picked by lottery.

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Last Updated on Friday, 19 November 2010 10:59


When voters head to their polling places on Nov. 2, the reapportionment of congressional seats to correspond with census data may not be uppermost in their minds.

But redrawing the political boundaries of the state’s voting districts is a coveted task for the party in power.

The way the lines are drawn — to include or exclude pockets of voters that historically lean one way or the other — can turn a district from Democrat to Republican or vice versa.

That’s why Republicans and Democrats alike contend the results of Tuesday’s election will have long-lasting impact.

As Republican legislator Brian Bosma, a one-time state House speaker, told an audience last week, to the victors will go the spoils of redistricting.

“This election will determine the leadership of this state for the next decade,” Bosma said.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 28 October 2010 02:23

From the Associated Press:

The Republicans’ expected gains next week go way beyond Congress. The GOP could capture new Senate or House majorities in a dozen to 18 states — along with critical new power to redraw district maps and influence elections for a decade to come.

Three of the biggest prizes are New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. All three states are expected to lose seats in Congress as a result of the 2010 census, and that’s sure to ignite boundary fights. A party’s congressman on the wrong end of redistricting can find the district he’s represented for years no longer exists.

Democrats have hopes, too. They aim to take away state Senate control in Michigan and Kentucky and the House in Texas and Tennessee. Texas would be a particular victory, since it seems likely to have four more seats to divvy up under the new census. But none of the analysts contacted by The Associated Press predicted the Democrats would succeed in any of those states.

Both houses in Florida, a state that’s expected to gain two seats in Congress, are likely to remain under GOP control.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 28 October 2010 11:30


Welcome to this week’s edition of REDMAP Rundown, a synopsis of redistricting news brought to you by the RSLC’s REDistricting MAjority Project (REDMAP). This weekly update gives you the latest on what those in the Beltway, and across the country, are saying about the impending reapportionment and redistricting process.

In this week’s REDMAP Rundown: No region untouched, Getting it right and having a big impact, New York turnout gimmicks and Decked in Wisconsin.

“From Virginia to Florida and South Carolina to Texas, nearly two dozen Democratic seats are susceptible to a potential Republican surge in Congressional races on Election Day,” according to the New York Times. “… Districts, along with others held by incumbents in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and North Carolina, are central to the Republican strategy to win the [U.S.] House. For the first time since Reconstruction, Republicans also are well-positioned to control more state legislative chambers and seats than Democrats in the South, which would have far-reaching effects for redistricting. ‘It’s not a good prospect for the Democratic Party in the South,’ said Glen Browder, a former Democratic congressman from Alabama.’” weighs in saying, “The last time Republicans controlled a statehouse chamber in Alabama, Ulysses S. Grant was president and Thomas Edison still hadn’t perfected electric lighting. But if the GOP’s gains are as big as many predict this election, Alabama could be one of many states that will see one or both statehouse chambers go from Democratic blue to Republican red. … Tim Storey, an elections expert at the National Conference of State Legislatures, says … ‘If Alabama were to move to the GOP column, it would reflect a 20-year trend of Southern legislatures re-aligning under the Republican banner.’ … Other state chambers that insiders say could flip to Republican control include the Senate in New Hampshire and New York; the House in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania; both chambers in Wisconsin; and the Montana House and Alaska Senate, both currently tied in terms of party control.”

“Political strategists are studying their electoral maps as Republicans and Democrats vie for victory in state legislature and gubernatorial races next month that could give them huge influence over the composition of congressional districts for the next decade,” reports the Financial Times. “The winners at the state level will then have the once-in-a-decade opportunity to redraw congressional districts according to this year’s census results, to be implemented by 2012, a presidential election year. Republicans appear likely to take control of the House and are hoping for a “wave election” that would also give them the upper hand at a state level, handing them an advantage for years to come. ‘If [we] can get this right in 2010 it will have a big impact in 2012, in 2014, ’16, ’18, ’20,’ Ed Gillespie, head of the [RSLC], told National Public Radio recently.”

In New York, “Republicans are criticizing Democratic Senate candidate Did Barrett’s campaign for sending out an e-mail that pledges to redraw congressional districts along ‘blue lines,’” reports The Journal News. “Barrett’s campaign manager Aaron Dickerson defended the e-mail, saying … that it was simply a motivational tool to get Democrats out to the voting booths.

“A group dedicated to electing Republican state lawmakers has booked $318,150 in ad time in the backyard of Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker (D-Wausau),” reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “The RSLC ads started running on Wednesday and they are scheduled through November … The RSLC has already targeted the Wisconsin Senate as one of four state legislative bodies it is counting on winning back from Democrats around the country.”

The RSLC is the only national organization whose mission is to elect down ballot state-level Republican office-holders.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 October 2010 11:51

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer

Politicos mistook Ohio for Fantasy Island last week. Republicans acted as if Nov. 2’s election were over — and they’d won everything statewide. Republicans, of all people, should know that when everyone says a stock is a sure-thing investment, that actually means, “Sell.”

Then President Barack Obama swooped in, saying, “A lot has changed since I came [to Ohio] in those final days of the [2008] election . . .” Correct, Mr. President: When you won, Ohio’s unemployment rate was 7 percent. It’s 10.3 percent now. He also assailed U.S. Rep. John A. Boehner, a suburban Cincinnati Republican who is likely to become speaker of the House if the GOP outruns Nancy Pelosi’s crew in November.

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Last Updated on Monday, 13 September 2010 08:03