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Between the Lines: Tomblin Expected to Sign New West Virginia Map

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) is likely to soon sign into law a Congressional redistricting plan that makes only minor changes to the lines of the state’s three districts, according to his spokeswoman. The governor’s office said Thursday that he is waiting for the official version of the bill.

The plan moves Mason County, population 27,300, from Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito’s 2nd district to Democratic Rep. Nick Rahall’s 3rd district, but it leaves the political contours of both districts almost exactly the same.

Capito campaign spokesman Kent Gates told Roll Call that the Congresswoman is happy with the new map. “She’s pleased that the Legislature recognized the need to keep the districts intact as much as possible,” he said.

Rahall said in a statement that he looks forward to representing Mason County.

Freshman Republican Rep. David McKinley’s 1st district is unchanged under the new map.

Why didn’t the Democrats who control the Legislature tweak the districts to be more favorable to Democratic candidates? The votes weren’t there.

“The other plan that we looked at, that would have helped a Democrat in the 1st district, we couldn’t get enough Senators to vote for that plan because it affected the counties that they represent,” state Senate Majority Whip D. Richard Browning (D) told Roll Call. “I’m the Whip, and I judged the support for the bill that would have given the Democrats a little better edge in the 1st district” to be lacking, he said.

Browning said he was “a little bit displeased” with the final outcome of the process. He said he had hoped the final map would have made the eastern panhandle of the state whole, instead of leaving it split between the 1st and 2nd districts.

Democrats Moan After Snyder Signs New Lines in Michigan

Gov. Rick Snyder (R) has signed into law a new Congressional map that puts Democratic Reps. Sander Levin and Gary Peters in the same district. The state lost a seat in reapportionment because of population loss.

Peters appears to be in the biggest bind under the new lines drawn by the Republican-controlled state Legislature, as his current district was basically dismantled and he faces the prospect of having to challenge a veteran fellow Democrat or run in a district that favors the GOP.

“Even if these gerrymandered maps are allowed to stand, I am running for reelection to Congress because we need representatives who are focused on Michigan’s future rather than being locked into the past,” Peters said in a statement. It is unclear in which district he’ll run.

Levin said Snyder had “rubber-stamped the Republican gerrymander of Congressional districts for the next 10 years in Michigan.” In a statement, Levin pledged to “actively support every feasible effort to challenge the legality of this decision.”

The State News of Michigan State University reported that the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus is planning to challenge the map in court.

The new lines strengthen the district of Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R) and slightly shore up the districts of Republican Reps. Dan Benishek and Tim Walberg.

GOP Protected as New Wisconsin Map Signed Into Law

Gov. Scott Walker (R) signed into law a redistricting plan that gives the GOP an edge in the new Congressional map.

GOP freshman Rep. Sean Duffy’s competitive 7th district in the northern part of the state is strengthened under the plan but remains a battleground. Duffy won his first term with 52 percent of the vote. The district of House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R) has slightly more favorable boundaries.

The maps already are facing a lawsuit in federal court, the Associated Press reported.

“The maps passed by the Legislature meet the objective criteria laid out by the courts including communities of interest, fair minority representation and compact, contiguous districts,” Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie said.

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