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"I think you'll see Republicans, Democrats and a number of special interest groups are going to dig their teeth into this one once the lines are released at the end of the month," California Republican Party spokesman Mark Standriff said. "I think you're going to see some kind of action ... no matter what the lines end up being."
The 14-member state Citizens Redistricting Commission was put in place by ballot initiatives in the last two elections in reaction to the lack of competitiveness and the partisan process used for drawing lines. The new redistricting process will be coupled next year with the state's first regularly scheduled elections under the "jungle" primary rule. With the top two finishers in open primaries advancing to the general, it will lead to intraparty races in November.
The commission has altered the map several times since releasing a first draft June 10, and it made final alterations last weekend. The Friday release of the final map will be followed by a two-week public-review period until the commission votes to adopt it Aug. 15. Adoption requires three votes from each of the commission's subsets: five Democrats, five Republicans and four decline-to-state voters.
The commission itself has already hired legal counsel for possible post-litigation, signing up law firms Morrison Foerster and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.
Because of recent map "visualizations" the commission released, incumbents and candidates have a pretty good idea of where they will be running and are already staking out their turf.
With the Member pairings and further possible retirements, the state will host a number of open-seat contests next year.
In San Diego, there is the potential for a competitive open-seat race between state Sen. Juan Vargas (D) and former state Sen. Denise Ducheny (D), whom Vargas succeeded last year after Ducheney was term-limited out of office. Rep. Bob Filner (D) is running for San Diego mayor rather than seeking re-election.
In other open-seat opportunities, Los Angeles City Councilman Tony Cardenas (D) is running for the proposed East San Fernando Valley district; Assemblyman David Valadao (R) recently filed candidacy papers with the Federal Election Commission for a proposed Kings County-based district; several Democrats are vying for the Sonoma County-based district of retiring Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D); and candidates from both parties, including Assemblyman Jeff Miller (R) and Riverside County Supervisor John Tavaglione (R), are running in a newly drawn Riverside-area district.
"Lots of polls will be going out in the field when the plans get adopted," Mitchell said.
Correction: July 28, 2011
An earlier version of this story misidentified Assemblyman David Valadao’s political party. He is a Republican.