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Between the Lines: Interim 2012 Map Expected Soon in Texas

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
Rep. Lloyd Doggett could benefit from legal debate over Texas' new Congressional lines.

What’s more, the Texas Legislature could take another stab at Congressional cartography next year. That’s what happened in 2003, when then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R) spearheaded a redraw following a court-mandated map.

Virginia: GOP Appears to Take Control of State Senate

At press time Wednesday, the immediate future of Congressional redistricting in Virginia rested on 224 votes out of 45,000 cast in a single state Senate district, a margin that is not likely to change with a possible recount in the weeks ahead.

The winner of Tuesday’s election may not be known until next month, as a recount can’t be called until the state Board of Elections certifies the results on Nov. 28. The losing candidate has 10 days after that to call for a recount.

A Republican victory would split the Virginia Senate 20-20 between the two parties, giving Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) the tie-breaking vote. It would also likely clear the path for an incumbent retention plan that solidifies the GOP’s 8-3 majority in the delegation, a plan already approved in the GOP-controlled state House and supported by the entire delegation.

Under that plan, Democrats hope to still compete against Rep. Scott Rigell in the Virginia Beach-based 2nd district and against Rep. Frank Wolf in the 10th district in the outer suburbs of Washington, D.C.

If a recount pushed the Democrat to victory, the redistricting process would likely head to the courts.

Arizona: Court Blocks Mathis’ Bid to Be Reinstated

The Arizona Supreme Court blocked an effort Tuesday by the ousted chairwoman of the state’s independent redistricting commission to immediately return to the panel.

The court denied Chairwoman Colleen Mathis’ request to be temporarily reinstated until a Nov. 17 hearing, when she will request permanent reinstatement.

GOP Gov. Jan Brewer and the Republican-dominated state Senate removed Mathis last week after the redistricting panel produced a Congressional map that Republicans say favors Democrats. Mathis is a registered Independent and was the swing vote on the panel.

State law says a commissioner must have committed “substantial neglect of duty, gross misconduct in office or inability to discharge the duties of the office” in order to be removed. Both Mathis’ personal attorney and the commission’s counsel say that threshold has not been met.

Republican state Senators argue otherwise. Their list of grievances includes complaints about the committee’s transparency and its use of mapmaking software supplied by Strategic Telemetry, which worked for the Democratic presidential campaigns of President Barack Obama in 2008 and Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) in 2004. The commission’s counsel and spokesman strongly dispute that the accusations are grounds for the dismissal.

“We will work with the vice chairmen to see how the commission should proceed while the Arizona Supreme Court resolves the important legal issues in dispute,” said a commission statement on Tuesday’s ruling. “In the meantime, we will continue processing the tremendous amount of input the commission received during the public comment period.”

Massachusetts: New Map Could Be Law As Soon as Next Week

The Bay State’s Legislative redistricting committee released a draft Congressional map Monday that reduced the number of seats in the delegation from 10 to nine and shored up almost all the incumbents, every one of whom is a Democrat.

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