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In addition to his leadership role in the House Democratic Caucus, Hoyer still carries a lot of weight with state lawmakers in Annapolis. He served in the state Senate for more than a decade, including as that chamber’s president for three years in the 1970s. Lucky for Hoyer, local politicians live long lives in the Old Line State — and many of his relationships within the House and Senate are still intact. The redistricting stakes in Maryland are small but meaningful for Democrats. It is one of the few states where Democrats control the redistricting process, and the party has the opportunity to pick up one or two seats at the expense of freshman Rep. Andy Harris (R) and, perhaps, longtime Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R). Make no mistake, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, a former Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman and veteran of the state Legislature, is still a major player in local politics. Hoyer, however, is closer to state Senate President Mike Miller, who will ultimately guide his chamber to draw the new maps.
You can’t say Israel didn’t know what he was signing up for when he took the reins of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee this cycle. But as head of House Democrats’ campaign arm, one of Israel’s biggest headaches is not in Washington, D.C. — but back home in New York. Every district in the Empire State is lacking the requisite population for a post-2012 Congressional district, which means no seat will be left untouched next year. Fortunately for Israel, the bulk of the population loss is upstate, where Republicans made big gains last cycle. Those districts will likely be affected the most, which puts Israel in the driver’s seat in the delegation in determining which Republican-held seat will get eliminated and which Democratic district can be made safer. However, given population loss in the state, it’s also extremely likely that the second district eliminated will come out of the downstate area, where Democrats control many of the seats. Especially if state lawmakers threaten to draw a Member-vs.-Member race among suburban or urban Democrats, Israel will be in a tough spot trying to strike a deal to save his colleagues.