Maine legislative leaders have made their selections for the 15-member advisory commission that will redraw the state's Congressional district lines, the Associated Press reported.
The commission must submit its plan to the GOP-controlled Legislature by Aug. 31, giving the body its 30 days provided by the state constitution to enact the plan by a two-thirds vote in both chambers. If it fails to do so, the state Supreme Judicial Court must enact a plan within 60 days, otherwise a federal court will complete the process.
Both of Maine's Congressional seats are controlled by Democrats. The 1st district includes the state's southern corner and the cities of Portland and Augusta. The 2nd district is more than five times as large in area — it's the largest district in a state east of the Mississippi River — and is 71 percent rural.
National Republicans see opportunity in rural Maine and hope that new lines might leave the 2nd, which voted 43 percent for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in 2008 and 46 percent for President George W. Bush in 2004, more favorable to them this cycle. Five-term Rep. Mike Michaud beat his GOP challenger with 55 percent of the vote last cycle.
OREGON: Both Chambers of Legislature Clear Map
The new Congressional map has breezed through the state House and Senate, with both passing the plan on Thursday, the Portland Oregonian reported.
The biggest changes came in Rep. David Wu's (D) 1st district and Rep. Kurt Schrader's (D) 5th district, both of which lost portions of Portland's Multnomah County. The changes aren't drastic, but the new lines could mean more competitive races for Republicans.
While Democrats control four of the state's five districts, the Associated Press quoted state Rep. Shawn Lindsay (R) saying the GOP could potentially win three districts "if the stars align."
The new map now awaits Gov. John Kitzhaber's (D) signature.
MARYLAND: Special Session Means Mid-October Map Likely
A newly announced five-member Maryland redistricting panel was scheduled to hold its first organizational meeting Wednesday.
The Governor's Redistricting Advisory Committee will hold a series of public hearings and review redistricting plans submitted from outside groups before sending Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) its own plan for the Congressional and legislative maps.
"The Committee will immediately develop a schedule of public hearings to allow citizens the opportunity to participate in the process," O'Malley said in a statement. "The process of working together with citizens, members of the General Assembly and our Congressional delegation will ensure the maps developed by the Committee accurately reflect the diversity of the State."
O'Malley is anticipating that the state Legislature will convene the week of Oct. 17 for a special redistricting session to consider the governor's Congressional plan. The legislative plan will likely come later in the year.
MICHIGAN: Tough-on-Democrats New Map Passes Senate
The GOP-controlled state Senate approved a new Congressional map that placed two Democratic Members in the same district last week, the Associated Press reported. The redistricting plan, which now awaits Republican Gov. Rick Snyder's signature, places second-term Rep. Gary Peters and 15-term Rep. Sander Levin in the same district north of Detroit.
Michigan lost a seat because of population decline and will have a 14-Member House delegation in 2013. While the state as a whole lost less than 1 percent of its population from 2000 to 2010, Detroit and the surrounding area were hardest hit, according to census data. The city lost a quarter of its residents during that decade.
Send news items on redistricting to Between the Lines here.