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Redistricting Terrain Shifting

Meanwhile, New Mexico could go from having a 3-2 GOP majority in the Congressional delegation to being entirely represented in Congress by Democrats. With Sen. Pete Domenici’s (R) retirement, Rep. Tom Udall (D) is favored to win his seat. Democrats also appear poised to win the two open House seats left vacant by Reps. Heather Wilson (R) and Steve Pearce (R), who is facing off against Udall today.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) is term-limited and can’t seek re-election in 2010. Democrats control both the state House and Senate, making next cycle’s gubernatorial race a top priority in terms of the party’s redistricting strategy.

While today’s Congressional results will no doubt be a factor as party strategists look ahead to reapportionment and redistricting in the 2012 cycle, the outcome of the presidential election will also have a big impact.

Campaign strategists who follow the redistricting process closely note that if Obama is victorious today, it will be the first time since 1960 — but more importantly the first time since passage of civil rights rights legislation in the mid-1960s — that a Democratic administration will be in power during a Census and redistricting process. That means a Democratic-appointed attorney general and Justice Department, whose Civil Rights Division is responsible for approving the new legislative maps of 16 states under the Voting Rights Act, will oversee the process.

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