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Between the Lines: All That Work in Missouri, No Map to Show-Me for It

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) vetoed the Congressional redistricting map passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature last week.

But in his Saturday statement immediately following the veto, Nixon also asked state lawmakers to go back to the drawing board this week and send him a new map before the end of the session on May 13.

“I am hopeful that in the next two weeks the Legislature can produce a map that will reflect a better representation for all regions of the state, and deliver it to my desk,” Nixon said in a statement.

State GOP lawmakers are trying to scrounge up enough votes to override Nixon’s veto, according to a Republican source with knowledge of the process.

When lawmakers considered the map last week, the proposal overwhelmingly passed the Senate, with enough votes to override the governor’s veto. However, in the House, the bill came up 13 votes short of an override.

Missouri lost one House seat because of population loss.

The vetoed map puts Rep. Russ Carnahan in the same St. Louis-based district as Rep. William Lacy Clay, leaving Carnahan with two options: challenge his Democratic colleague in a district that includes Clay’s African-American base or run against a Republican in a nearby but heavily GOP suburban or exurban district. 

Nevada: High Stakes With New Seat

Silver State Republicans introduced their proposal for the state’s new Congressional map last week, kicking off the battle for the state’s four House seats in 2012.

Nevada Democrats are expected to release their own proposal to redraw the Congressional districts this week, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal.

The stakes are high in Nevada, given that the state gained a new seat in reapportionment. But with Democrats in control of both legislative chambers and Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) holding the veto pen, it’s unclear whether they can reach a compromise — and the maps might end up in court instead.

A booming Hispanic population in Nevada will most likely result in at least one more House district favoring Democrats.

Local Republicans have essentially resigned themselves to that situation, presenting a map last week that proposes a new majority-Hispanic district around Clark County with 58 percent Democratic registration, according to the Review Journal.

However, the GOP’s map also reportedly drew two safer Republican seats in the areas currently represented by GOP Reps. Dean Heller and Joe Heck. The 3rd district seat has been contested in recent cycles, and Heck barely defeated Rep. Dina Titus (D) in 2010 to win his first term.

The GOP’s map continued to give Democrats a major advantage in the Las Vegas-based district represented by Rep. Shelley Berkley (D), who is running for Senate in 2012.

Colorado: Chamber Split Makes New Lines Very Rocky

With each passing week, it’s looking increasingly likely that the new Congressional map in Colorado will be drawn by the state’s courts instead of local legislators.

A bipartisan group of state lawmakers broke off talks late last week over the new Congressional map, according to local reports, after leaders from the Democratic-controlled state Senate and the Republican-controlled state House were not even close to an agreement.

Although the state’s number of Congressional districts — seven — will remain the same, the districts are being redrawn to reflect shifts in population. 

Colorado Democrats have proposed a new Congressional map that makes some of the House districts in the state more competitive, while Republicans in the state have suggested keeping the number of competitive seats consistent with the past decade.

Republicans have a one-seat advantage in the Congressional delegation, which has four GOP Members and three Democratic Members. However, Gov. John Hickenlooper is a Democrat and could play a key role signing off on a map if local lawmakers can find a compromise.

But after weeks of negotiations, it’s unlikely that state legislative leaders can agree. The redistricting committee has until the legislative session ends on May 11 to finish a map; otherwise, federal courts will be forced to take over the process.

Send news items on redistricting to Between the Lines here.

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