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Could Reapportionment Help Losing Democrats?

File Photo
Rep. Dina Titus lost her job representing Las Vegas in 2010.

The new Congressional map being created following the latest census could give some defeated Democrats their best chance at a comeback in 2012.

Although defeated Members have been tight-lipped since November, insider speculation began immediately that some of the most competitive losers might be ready to run again in two years. Now, the list of states gaining seats has been finalized, creating new opportunities in such places as Arizona, Texas and Florida where former Members might have a better chance in a newly created district than in a rematch for their old one.

Redistricting, controlled at the state level where Republicans have the advantage in most states, will play a major role in whether new districts are drawn favorably for ousted Members to try again in two years.

With no formal word from any former Members about their plans for 2012, it’s unclear who might be in the running. But here’s a quick guide to the winners in reapportionment and which Democrats might find that helpful:

• Thanks to a population boom, Texas gained four seats, more than any other state, which could provide some good news for defeated Reps. Chet Edwards, Ciro Rodriguez and Solomon Ortiz. Edwards makes his home in Waco, Rodriguez in San Antonio and Ortiz in Corpus Christi. Any of these Democrats could choose to run for Senate as well, because Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) will be up for re-election.

The Lone Star State’s plan went to court following the previous round of redistricting, and its map was redrawn late in the decade. Texas Democrats, down in numbers in the state legislature as well as the Congressional delegation, are ready for a fight.

“Our Democratic numbers may be down in our state legislature, but we are not out,” Texas Democratic Party Chairman Boyd Richie said in a statement. “Democrats cannot and will not allow our voices to be silenced in this critical process, and we will fight for a fair and legal plan, from the Legislature to the Legislative Redistricting Board, to the Justice Department and the courts.”

• Florida is gaining two seats, which could provide hope to a batch of Members who were turned out in November. Reps. Allen Boyd, Ron Klein, Suzanne Kosmas and Alan Grayson all were defeated and could be looking for a way to return. Then there’s outgoing Rep. Kendrick Meek, who didn’t seek re-election to his safe House seat because he was running for the Senate. Meek could make a play for his old seat or try to run in a newly created district.

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