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Between the Lines: Schwarz and Schauer Drawn Out of Old Michigan Seat

Republicans plan to pass a new Congressional map that makes Rep. Tim Walberg’s (R) district safer for him. But at least one former GOP Congressman from Michigan isn’t happy about it.

Former Rep. Joe Schwarz, who lost to Walberg in the 2006 GOP primary, told Roll Call neither he nor former Rep. Mark Schauer (D) are pleased that the GOP’s proposed map moves their hometown of Battle Creek in Calhoun County out of the 7th district and into the 3rd district.

“They drew both of us out, which neither Mark or I are very happy about it,” Schwarz said in a phone interview. “I think both Mark Schauer and I know precisely why it was done: It was done to essentially make it impossible for the two people — one, a Republican, and one, a Democrat — who would be the most logical opponents for Mr. Walberg to run.”

Schauer defeated Walberg in 2008 and then Walberg came back to defeat the Democrat in 2010.

MAINE: New Districts Must Be Redrawn by Sept. 30

The Maine Legislature must reshape the Pine Tree State’s two Congressional districts no later than Sept. 30, according to a federal court order released Tuesday.

The specific process for drawing the new lines has yet to be set, but the judge ordered state officials to release a status report July 5 and subsequent status reports every 20 days thereafter.

The new timeline is the result of a federal lawsuit that has forced Maine to implement new Congressional boundaries before the 2012 elections. The state has historically addressed redistricting in the year after a redistricting cycle.

Current state law requires the establishment of a bipartisan commission to guide redistricting, although the process moving forward is unclear. Those decisions rest with the Republicans who control both chambers of the Legislature, the Republican-controlled executive branch and the court system.

“I think all sides agree there should be a commission,” Janet Mills, an attorney for the Maine Democratic Party, told Roll Call on Tuesday. “The key question is who is the chair — the tie-breaker, who is supposed to be neutral.”

In the event that the Legislature cannot resolve the issue by Sept. 30, the Maine Supreme Court would have until Nov. 15 to do so, according to the federal court order. If there is still no resolution, the U.S. District Court would “proceed with its own reapportionment of Maine’s Congressional district in order to cure the Constitutional violation” before Jan. 1, according to the order.

South Carolina: Gowdy Not Pleased With Spartanburg Split

The South Carolina Legislature moved toward solidifying a new Congressional map that adds a district in the northeastern part of the Palmetto State, anchored in Horry County.

On Tuesday, the state Senate Judiciary Committee approved a map that adds the new district South Carolina gained in reapportionment to an area that includes the cities of Myrtle Beach, Florence and Sumter. The new district is likely to lean Republican.

The most controversial part of the map passed by the Senate committee lies in the northwestern part of the state, where Spartanburg County is split between the 4th and 5th districts, while neighboring Greenville County is left wholly in the 4th district.

Freshman Rep. Trey Gowdy (R) is unhappy with this development, according to a source close to the Congressman.

Gowdy, who represents the 4th district and resides in the city of Spartanburg, had advocated for a 4th district that fairly splits the two counties in his district, instead of “keeping one whole and eviscerating the other,” as Gowdy sees this map, the source said.

The map now heads to a full vote in the state Senate, after which it must be reconciled with the House map. “I expect the Spartanburg delegation will make a spirited effort to get it amended on the floor,” a knowledgeable South Carolina source said.

Whatever happens, a Congressional map is likely to be passed by both chambers by the end of next week, and Republican Gov. Nikki Haley is expected to sign it into law.

The Justice Department or a federal court must also sign off on the new map under the Voting Rights Act before the new boundaries can take effect.

TEXAS: Lone Stop for Lone Star Map Is Perry’s Desk

The Texas Senate approved a new Congressional map this week, sending the redrawn lines to Republican Gov. Rick Perry’s desk for approval.

However, either the Justice Department or a federal court will have the final call on whether the map passes legal muster. Lone Star State Democrats have already charged that the map does not account for sufficient representation for minority voters.

The Texas delegation will increase from 32 to 36 Members in 2013 because of population growth in the state.

Send news items on redistricting to Between the Lines here.

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