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Between the Lines: Sessions Wants to Work Out Lines in Texas

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Rep. Pete Sessions says he wants Texas Republicans to work with the Department of Justice on the state's new Congressional map.

New Mexico Map Clears First Hurdle, But Its Future Is Unclear

The state Senate passed a Congressional redistricting plan 27-14 on Monday.

According to the Associated Press, Republican legislators opposed the new lines because they would strengthen the Democrats' hold on the Albuquerque-based 1st district. Under the new map, the 2nd district would remain solidly Republican and the 3rd district would stay solidly Democratic.

Republican objections included cutting the GOP-leaning Torrance County out of the 1st district and moving it into the 3rd district.

The traditionally Republican 1st district ended its streak of GOP representation in 2008, when Rep. Martin Heinrich (D) won by 12 points and President Barack Obama carried it by 21 points. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) won it in 2004 by 3 points.

The plan now must go before the
Democratic-controlled state House. Its path forward gets dicey from there, as Republican Gov. Susana Martinez is armed with veto power.

Faith Leaders Urge Action in Massachusetts Redistricting

In the state where gerrymandering got its name, there's a history of finding unusual ways for groups to get the desired outcome in the redistricting process. But this might be a first: a prayer rally.

Clergy and politicians rallied and prayed in Boston this week to push for a fair and equitable redistricting process for minority communities.

"It is very, very important that we have districts that are drawn to empower ... the communities we represent," said Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson, who was at the rally.

"We want a district that gives a person of color an opportunity to run as well as win," Jackson said.

Massachusetts has never elected an African-American or Latino Member of Congress. About 8 percent of Bay State residents are black, and 10 percent are Hispanic, according to 2010 census data.

Jackson said having clergy at the rally was essential.

"Faith without works is dead, so it is very important that we have a community of faith leaders who not only deal with issues inside the walls of their churches," he said, but also are active on issues that help make sure their flocks' "voices are heard. And that's what comes out of this meeting."

In July, state Rep. Michael Moran (D), the House co-chairman of the Joint Committee on Redistricting, told Roll Call that under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, the committee would have to be particularly careful about how the 8th district now anchored in Boston and held by Rep. Mike Capuano (D) is redrawn.

Massachusetts lost a seat in reapportionment. Because none of the Members of the all-Democratic House delegation appear likely to retire, at least two Democrats will be drawn together by the new map.

State Sen. Stan Rosenberg (D), the Senate co-chairman of the redistricting committee, hopes to have all the new maps, including the Congressional one, completed before Thanksgiving, his office said.

Majority-Minority District Wanted by Nevada GOP

Carson City District Judge James Russell ordered three redistricting special masters appointed by the court to complete their first map by Oct. 21.

As the Las Vegas Sun reported, the order came at a Wednesday hearing to begin the process of redrawing the state's Congressional and legislative lines. In drawing the four Congressional districts, the central argument is whether the Voting Rights Act mandates that one district be majority-minority.

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