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Between the Lines: New Ohio Map Has Plenty of Winners and Losers

Buckeye State Democrats bore the brunt of Republicans’ aggressive redraw of the state’s Congressional map. But they weren’t the only losers under the proposed lines released this week.

Ohio is losing two House seats in 2012 because the state’s population did not grow as quickly as others. GOP mapmakers moved six Members into three House districts, giving Republicans an expected 12-4 edge in the delegation.

Here’s our take on which Ohio candidates got the best and worst of the new map.


• Columbus Democrats

Open the candidate floodgates. For a decade, Columbus Democrats ran with almost no success for two competitive seats that split through the middle of downtown. Not anymore now that Republicans drew a new urban Columbus 3rd district. Expect a long line of Democrats to form for this new seat, possibly including Columbus City Councilman Zach Klein, former Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy, former state House Minority Leader Joyce Beatty, former state Treasurer Kevin Boyce, state Rep. Nancy Garland, state Rep. John Patrick Carney and Franklin County Commissioner John O’Grady.

Sources say the area’s most prominent Democrat, Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman, has no interest in running. But Coleman hasn’t made an official statement yet.

• Speaker John Boehner

He had a heavy hand in the new map that could eliminate two Democrats from the delegation. Need proof of the Republican’s power at home? He now has the safest GOP district in the state.

• GOP Reps. Steve Chabot, Patrick Tiberi and Jim Jordan

Chabot and Tiberi will run in some of the friendliest GOP territory they’ve ever had. Chabot gained GOP-rich Warren County, while Tiberi picked up more Republican territory in central Ohio.

As for Jordan, remember those summer news reports that Ohio Republicans would dismantle his district as retribution for crossing Boehner on the debt ceiling vote? That didn’t happen. Mapmakers moved more Democrats into his district, but it’s still a solidly GOP seat.

• Freshman GOP Reps. Bill Johnson and Bob Gibbs

The partisan composition of their districts changed only marginally. But these two Republicans are winners because they have districts all to themselves. That’s more than what some of their more senior Republican colleagues can say, given the proposed map.


• GOP Reps. Michael Turner and Steve Austria

They’re now in the same central Ohio district. Sources say this is payback for Turner’s vote against the debt ceiling bill this summer, and Austria’s fundraising is often lackluster. Turner has the upper hand in this redrawn district, but it’s going to be a competitive primary.

• Cleveland-Area Democrats

Population decline here gave Republicans creative license for a major reworking of district lines. Reps. Marcy Kaptur and Dennis Kucinich were drawn into the same coastal district stretching from Cleveland to Toledo. Rep. Betty Sutton was moved into the same district as Rep. Jim Renacci (R). The only Cleveland-area Democrat who was spared is Rep. Marcia Fudge, who has the most Democratic district in the state under the proposal.

• Rep. Steven LaTourette

He now boasts the most competitive GOP-held district in the state. There’s not much mapmakers could do about this one: His 14th district is landlocked by a lake, the state border and Democrats in the district of Rep. Tim Ryan (D).

• Rep. Jim Renacci

While his fellow freshman Members got safe districts to themselves, he might get a race with a fellow Member: Sutton.


• Rep. Steve Stivers

On the surface, Stivers’ new district is much less competitive than his current one. But at what cost? The district snakes from the Columbus suburbs to near the West Virginia border and loops back through southcentral Ohio. Stivers will have to endear himself to many new, more conservative Republicans — not the wealthy, suburban Columbus business class that he now represents.

• Rep. Jean Schmidt

Republicans made her district more competitive, but she still has a solid path to re-election. Schmidt is not a favorite of her fellow Republicans. She’s lucky to still have a seat.

Washington: Four Maps Released to Begin Redraw Process

The state’s redistricting process started in earnest Tuesday as the four voting members of the bipartisan redistricting commission released separate Congressional map proposals.

The maps kick off negotiations on a final map due to the state Legislature by the end of the year. However, with the state adding a 10th district because of reapportionment, they revealed how different the map will look a year from now as incumbents rev up to run for re-election in their new districts.

As the Seattle Times reported, three of the four map proposals include a new  majority-minority district, with Asian-Americans, African-Americans and Latinos combining to create a majority in a district based in southeast Seattle and south King County. The two Republicans and one of the two Democrats on the commission included a majority-minority district in their proposals.

The maps gave incumbents a glimpse into how their new districts could look.

Commissioner Slade Gorton (R), a former Senator, released a map that consolidates the expansive 2nd district of Rep. Rick Larsen (D). It cuts much of the state’s northwestern counties from his district and extends it instead into the Seattle suburbs. Gorton’s map also would likely improve the 8th district for Rep. Dave Reichert (R), a perennial Democratic target, by cutting out the Seattle suburb of Bellevue.

If this year’s process is anything like past efforts, a final map might not emerge until the last minute. The previous two commissions have needed every second of their allotted time, completing the plans on New Year’s Eve.

Idaho: Back to the Drawing Board for Commission

The Gem State’s bipartisan redistricting committee is cooked — at least for now.

Earlier this week, Secretary of State Ben Ysura reportedly called for a new bipartisan redistricting committee after the current panel failed to come to a consensus over the state’s new map.

The committee attempted to redraw Idaho’s two House seats and state Legislature maps. But it didn’t even come close to the state-mandated deadline last week.

Accordingly, Ysura alerted the media this week that he’s asked party leaders to appoint a new panel to draw the lines.

The Associated Press reported the new panel will convene Sept. 28.

Alabama: More States Bypassing DOJ for Pre-Clearance

State Attorney General Luther Strange filed a suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeking to have the state’s newly drawn Congressional boundaries approved for the 2012 elections.

Under Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, certain states are required to have either the Department of Justice or the D.C. district court give “pre-clearance” to new electoral maps. Most states submit directly to the DOJ, but with Democrats in control of the White House during redistricting for the first time since the landmark civil rights legislation went into effect, some states are looking to the courts for approval.

“I am hopeful that the new districts approved by the Legislature after much thought and deliberation will be precleared promptly,” Strange said in a statement.

Kyle Trygstad and Joshua Miller contributed to this report.

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