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Between the Lines: No Closer to Deal in Colorado; Maps Final in Indiana, Oklahoma

Colorado: A Rocky Road That Leads Straight to Court

State Republicans and Democrats separately filed lawsuits over the redistricting stalemate early Tuesday morning.

The filings kick off what many Colorado insiders believed was inevitable: determining the state’s new Congressional map in court.

Lawmakers have been wrangling for weeks over the state’s new Congressional borders with nothing even close to a compromise. And with the legislative session coming to an end this week, it’s highly unlikely state lawmakers will forge an eleventh-hour agreement given they haven’t made any progress in the talks.

The finger-pointing was especially pitched by midweek, with state Speaker Frank McNulty (R) publicly accusing state Senate President Brandon Shaffer (D) of holding up the process so that he could draw a House seat for himself. 

Colorado has a history of litigious redistricting battles. The Congressional map has been determined in court for the past three decades.

Nevada: Movin’ Along, but Headed Nowhere?

Democrats who control the Legislature passed their preferred new Congressional map through both chambers this week, sending it to Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval’s desk for a final determination in the next five days.

Democrats’ proposed map gives the party an advantage in three districts and allows Republicans a single-digit edge in another seat.

Republicans have introduced their own redistricting plan, which creates two Democratic-leaning House districts, a competitive seat and one GOP-leaning seat. However, in the Democratic-controlled Legislature, the GOP-sponsored bill has yet to go anywhere.

Sandoval has not said yet whether he will veto the map. His press secretary, Mary-Sarah Kinner, told Roll Call that “he will review the bill when it arrives.”

But assuming Sandoval vetoes the Democratic-passed map, state lawmakers will have until early June to make a new map before the courts take over the process. 

Minnesota: Democrats Express Iron Rage and Displeasure

Republicans who control the state Legislature introduced an aggressive new Congressional map earlier this week that is making its way through both chambers but is expected to be vetoed by Gov. Mark Dayton (D).

The proposed map shifts freshman Rep. Chip Cravaack’s (R) district more downstate, while moving Rep. Collin Peterson’s (D) Iron Range district west so that it takes in the northern third of the state.

Not surprisingly, Peterson has already expressed concern with the map, telling MinnPost that Republicans “made a decision that they couldn’t beat me, so they gave me a D +20 district.”

Nonetheless, the proposed map passed the state House Redistricting Committee with a vote that fell precisely along party lines, according to a local report.

The Legislature has until early next year to pass a new map, otherwise the courts will take over the process.

Indiana and Oklahoma: Sooner Than Most, We’ve Got Maps

Oklahoma and Indiana became the fifth and sixth states to complete the redistricting process Tuesday, when governors in each state signed the new Congressional maps into law.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) signed off on a map that makes only minor changes to the state’s five districts.

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) also signed off on the redrawn districts, which shore up Republican voting margins in two competitive districts.

The 2nd district in north-central Indiana will include many more Republican voters in 2012. Not coincidentally, the district’s Rep. Joe Donnelly (D) announced Monday that he will run for Senate instead of seeking re-election.

And in southern Indiana, state Republicans moved more GOP voters into the battleground 9th district, which no longer extends all the way to the Ohio border. They also made freshman GOP Rep. Larry Bucshon’s district slightly more Democratic.

Washington: Kucinich Continues to Look and Travel West

It’s looking increasingly likely that Rep. Dennis Kucinich will run for re-election far away from his current district.

The Ohio Democrat confirmed to the Associated Press earlier this week that he’s looking elsewhere, but he stopped short of saying he’s zeroed in on Washington state.

“If I am forced to move, then I certainly am going to consider moving,” he said. “Obviously, I am only going to go where I am wanted.”

But Kucinich has made several visits to the Evergreen State already this year and plans to head back again at the end of the month to speak to the Green Festival in Seattle. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer also reported that Kucinich will speak at a fundraiser for local Democrats and the Washington State Progressive Caucus on that same trip during the weekend of May 21.

With Ohio slated to lose two House seats in 2012, Republicans who control the redistricting process will likely eliminate Kucinich’s district.

Washington is slated to gain a 10th House seat in 2012, but a bipartisan redistricting commission is expected to draw the lines, making the location of the new House district unpredictable.

Send news items on redistricting to Between the Lines here.

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