Between the Lines: Map With Minimal Changes Moves Ahead

Posted March 14, 2012 at 5:57pm

The New Hampshire House of Representatives finally began to move ahead Monday with the state’s redistricting.

The state House committee that oversees the process recommended a plan that called for small changes in the single line that separates the state’s two Congressional districts.

The Granite State’s two GOP Congressmen have had what one Republican on the ground describes as “a lively discussion” about how the new line should be drawn. Only a few hundred residents need to shift between districts, but Rep. Charles Bass (R) has been lobbying for larger changes. Rep. Frank Guinta (R), on the other hand, has been pushing for minimal changes to the map.

Bass has a much more difficult race for re-election than Guinta, and the changes he sought were a means to bolster his electoral chances against Democrat Ann McLane Kuster.

“We opted to go with the plan that made the least amount of change, with near perfect deviation and with very little impact on the communities,” state Rep. David Bates (R), vice chairman of the state House Special Committee on Redistricting, told the New Hampshire Union Leader.

A New Hampshire Republican explained that the reason for such a late map is that the August downballot primary creates “limited urgency.”

New York: It’s Over, Court-Drawn Lines All but Official

New York’s redistricting process has been most unconventional, but in some ways, the long-held conventional wisdom was right.

For months, political types in New York — which lost two districts in reapportionment — said they expected one Democratic-
held district and one Republican-held district to be eliminated, with one in New York City and one upstate. It’s now quite likely that a map drawn by a federal judge, which eliminates the New York City district of Republican Rep. Bob Turner and the upstate district of retiring Democratic Rep. Maurice Hinchey, will become law.

But the bipartisan expectation among some political operatives in the Empire State was that the involvement of the judiciary would spur the split-control Legislature to act after a year of deadlock. The thinking was that Albany officials would be loath to give up their once-in-a-decade opportunity and that their desire to fulfill their constitutional responsibility to redraw lines would override their partisan bickering.

“The conventional wisdom was just wrong,” a New York Democratic operative said.

The source said that, in the end, the Democratic-controlled state Assembly and the Republican-held state Senate care only about their own legislative lines and let the Congressional lines be drawn by a court because the new map didn’t directly affect them. Still, Albany insiders believe that a last-minute Legislative redraw of the Congressional map could still happen before the March 20 candidate petitioning period begins, even though each minute that goes by makes it increasingly unlikely.

“Albany proves the old Yogi Berra line,” the operative said. “‘It ain’t over till it’s over.'”