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Michigan Redistricting Puts Peters in a Pickle

"I think it would be great," former Michigan Republican Party Chairman Saul Anuzis said in a phone interview.

"I think that McCotter is in very strong shape. I think that district has the current largest increase in Republican votes of any in the state," Anuzis said. "He'd have a better chance beating Levin in the primary than against McCotter in the general."

Conyers' attorney Alan Canady testified about the proposed map Tuesday before the Michigan House redistricting committee.

The Congressional Black Caucus Institute, the political arm of the CBC, has prepared an alternative proposal to redraw the Detroit House districts as soon as possible.

"We're certainly prepared to file a lawsuit, but that's not our preferred course of action," Canady told Roll Call.

"The Congressman would rather not go to court," Canady said. "He'd rather work with the Legislature to come up with a good plan."

Canady said any challenges to the map would center on the contorted shapes of the newly drawn 13th and 14th districts, where Conyers and freshman Rep. Hansen Clarke (D) reside, respectively.

The majority of lawsuits challenging maps so far this year revolve around whether minorities are properly represented, but in this case, it's an issue of the districts not being compact, Canady said.

"We'll certainly look at that as a possible challenge, but the maps that they put out to a certain extent do comport with the Voting Rights Act in terms of creating majority-minority districts," Canady said. "They followed it, but the way that they've gone about it, there's a better way to do it that would be consistent with the state's required standards."

Conyers also has a stake in changing the current map.

Although the proposed 14th district is heavily Democratic, it includes a great deal of new territory for Conyers. Insiders said the 24-term Democrat would be susceptible to a primary challenge with that much new terrain.

Conyers keeps less than 20 percent of his current territory if the proposed map is enacted. The new Conyers district would include more of Clarke's district, almost 28 percent, under the proposed map, than of his own.

Michigan Democrats and Republicans caution the Legislature will act quickly to pass the proposed map perhaps even by the end of next week.

If Gov. Rick Snyder (R) signs off on the proposal, opponents have up to 30 days to file a lawsuit protesting the map.

Correction: June 22, 2011

An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) as a member of the Blue Dog Coaltion. He is not.

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