July 29, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Proposed Massachusetts Map ‘Pretty Sweet’ for Incumbents

Democratic Rep. Mike Capuano’s current district, anchored in portions of Boston, Cambridge and Somerville, is similar to the redrawn 8th district. But the new 8th becomes a solid majority-minority district by adding portions of the towns of Milton and all of the town of Randolph. Fifty-six percent of residents in the newly drawn 8th are minorities, according to the state Legislature.

Democratic Rep. Niki Tsongas’ district is shored up under the new draft map. There were earlier rumors that she might be vulnerable under the new lines, but that proved not to be the case.

“There’s a clear loser here: Elbridge Gerry,” quipped longtime Bay State Democratic strategist Scott Ferson, referring to the historical father and namesake of gerrymandering. “By Massachusetts standards ... I gotta give the redistricting team credit,” he said, praising the fact that the map keeps communities of interest together.

The lack of obvious gerrymandering doesn’t mean any of the Members are particularly vulnerable.

“For incumbent protection, it’s a pretty sweet map,” Ferson said.

The chairmen of the Special Joint Committee on Redistricting, which released the maps, asked for public comment in a press release. They said they would evaluate public feedback on the draft map over the next three days, before submitting a recommendation to the full Legislature.

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