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Maine Redistricting On Tap This Year After Court Ruling

Democrats are worried about a court order that will force Maine to redraw its two Congressional districts before the 2012 elections.
The Pine Tree State had been scheduled to finalize a new map by 2013. But this week’s ruling, the result of a lawsuit, forces state leaders to reshape its federal districts by Jan. 1, 2012.
The new timeline would require a change in state law, which gives the new Republican-led state Legislature the ultimate say over the process. As part of the ruling, the state parties and secretary of state’s office have until the end of next week to propose a new method by which to redraw the districts.
“We really hope that it continues in a bipartisan process as it has historically,” said Mary Erin Casale, executive director of the Maine Democratic Party. “I just want to make sure there are no shenanigans.”
Democrats fear that a new map would jeopardize Rep. Mike Michaud’s (D) hold on the 2nd district, which is made up of most of the northern and western part of the state and is by far the more conservative region.
Previously, there has been talk of dividing the state east and west, which would put Michaud and Rep. Chellie Pingree (D) in the same district. There is also talk about moving Pingree’s home of North Haven into Michaud’s district.
Republicans are in the process of trying to find a well-funded candidate who can compete in the 2nd district. They also note that a shift in their favor could come into play in the presidential race because Maine splits its two electoral votes.

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