Could Reapportionment Help Losing Democrats?
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.
Boyd, who already served seven terms, lives in Monticello and represented part of the Florida Panhandle. Klein lives in Boca Raton, Kosmas in New Smyrna Beach, Grayson in Orlando and Meek in Miami. Grayson has made clear he might be interested in another bid, keeping his political fundraising list active in the two months since losing re-election.
• Arizona will pick up one new seat, possibly providing another chance for defeated Democratic Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick, who lives in Flagstaff, and Harry Mitchell, who lives in Tempe.
• Rep. Dina Titus, a Democrat elected in 2008, lost her job representing Las Vegas in 2010, but Nevada’s gain of a fourth seat may give her hope for representing a new district in 2012.
The losing Democrats also could choose to run for Senate. In Arizona, Sen. Jon Kyl (R) is up for re-election in 2012. In Nevada, Republican Sen. John Ensign will be a top target for Democrats.
• Defeated Democratic Rep. Jim Marshall may again keep an eye on the redistricting process in Georgia as the state adds a 14th district. Like Texas, Georgia went through mid-decade redistricting after a court challenge to its map. Following that process, Marshall, who lives in Macon, represented part of central Georgia.
• South Carolina’s one-seat gain might tempt three Members who are leaving Congress. Rep. John Spratt, the former Budget chairman, lost his battle for re-election. Spratt is unlikely to try to return given he served 14 terms. But possible return bids on the GOP side include Rep. Gresham Barrett, who lost his gubernatorial bid, and Rep. Bob Inglis, who lost in a Republican primary this summer.
Inglis, who became a vocal critic of the tea party movement after his defeat, could be the most likely return candidate. He was first elected in 1992 and opted to run for Senate in 1998 to fulfill a pledge not to serve longer than three terms. Inglis returned in 2004 and was re-elected in 2006 and 2008. He lives in Travelers Rest.
Washington state and Utah also gained one seat each through reapportionment, but neither state lost incumbents on Election Day.
Here are all the Democrats who lost seats on Election Day and whose home states have gained a seat or two.
Member, age, number of terms served
Allen Boyd (Fla.), 65, 7 terms
Chet Edwards (Texas), 58, 10 terms
Alan Grayson (Fla.), 52, 1 term
Ann Kirkpatrick (Ariz.), 60, 1 term
Ron Klein (Fla.), 53, 2 terms
Suzanne Kosmas (Fla.), 66, 1 term
Jim Marshall (Ga.), 62, 4 terms
Harry Mitchell (Ariz.), 70, 2 terms
Solomon Ortiz (Texas), 72, 14 terms
Ciro Rodriguez (Texas), 63, 2 terms
John Spratt (S.C.), 68, 14 terms
Dina Titus (Nev.), 60, 1 term
Here are the Republicans from South Carolina, which gained one seat, who might run again.
Bob Inglis, 50, 3 terms
Gresham Barrett, 49, 4 terms