July 30, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

One Loser in Bay State’s Version of ‘Survivor’

Douglas Graham/Roll Call
Rep. Niki Tsongas is making the argument that her district shouldn’t be the one eliminated in redistricting.

In the state where gerrymandering was born, no amount of creative district drawing will ensure all 10 Massachusetts Democrats return to the House in January 2013.

“Obviously, two of us are going to have run against each other,” 16-term Rep. Barney Frank said last week, referring to the fact that the state lost a seat in reapportionment.

“Mathematically, that’s an absolute,” said state House Minority Leader Bradley Jones, a Republican on the state’s redistricting committee. He likened it to the reality television show “Survivor,” in which somebody gets voted off the island.

Democrats control redistricting in the Bay State, and Members of the all-Democratic House delegation have been making the case for why they shouldn’t be the one to be drawn together with one of their colleagues.

Many made their arguments at a series of public hearings held by the state’s Special Joint Committee on Redistricting during the past few months, but that has led to little clarity on who might end up with their tiki torch extinguished.

“Every region in the state presented a compelling reason why their Congressional district should not change,” said state Sen. Stan Rosenberg (D), the co-chairman of the redistricting committee.

There is still the possibility that a Member will retire or decide to run against Sen. Scott Brown (R), changing the contours of redistricting. But that appears unlikely at this point.

Some plugged-in politicos in Boston said early signs pointed to trouble for Rep. John Tierney, who represents the state’s North Shore-based 6th district. He is not as close with legislators on Beacon Hill as many of the other Members. Tierney never served in the state Legislature before he became a Congressman.

“The most vulnerable Member of the delegation is John Tierney,” said a long-time Democratic strategist in the state. “Politically, he is going to be the most vulnerable.”

Massachusetts Democratic operative David Guarino said he thinks Tierney could see some “residual fallout” from his wife’s recent legal troubles. Patrice Tierney pleaded guilty to tax-related charges in October 2010 and was sentenced to a month in jail in January. Despite his wife’s  crime, Tierney beat his opponent with 57 percent of the vote.

Jones, the Republican on the redistricting panel, along with well-connected Democrats in the state, cautioned that the logistics of drawing Tierney out of his district would be difficult.

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