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Redistricting could determine control of Congress

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  • Demorep1@aol.com
    Not *could* but *will* --- as in the past 212 years (also affects the state legislature gerrymanders--- for the past 224 years). Duh !!!! Standard no
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 17, 2000
      Not *could* but *will* --- as in the past 212 years (also affects the state
      legislature gerrymanders--- for the past 224 years). Duh !!!! Standard no
      mention of proportional representation. At least AP did a story (which will
      be long forgotten by Nov. 2002 when the new gerrymanders take effect).
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      Redistricting could determine control of Congress

      By KATHY BARKS HOFFMAN, Associated Press

      ANN ARBOR, Mich. - At 22, Erin Carey is a foot soldier in a hard-fought but
      overlooked battle to control state legislatures and redraw congressional
      districts in Michigan and 19 other states.

      Come summer, the University of Michigan graduate student and a few thousand
      other recruits and volunteers will be marching door-to-door here, handing out
      campaign literature for a Democratic Statehouse candidate.

      Carey will be paid by Democrats 2000, a Washington, D.C.-based group that is
      recruiting young adults nationwide to help gain or protect Democratic
      majorities in state legislatures.

      It's a sign of how important those seats are in a nationwide political web
      that could determine everything from state tax and welfare policies to who
      controls Congress - and whether the next president will have an easy or hard
      time turning proposals into law.

      "We have an opportunity to change the course of history," U.S. House Minority
      Whip David Bonior told Carey and other University of Michigan students last
      month.

      With redistricting based on the 2000 census, state lawmakers elected this
      year will have a large say in how the lines dividing legislative and
      congressional seats look for the next 10 years.

      Draw the lines one way, and districts now held by Democrats could include
      more GOP voters. Draw them another, and it could increase Democratic voters.
      The results will likely decide the majority in the U.S. House.

      That's given the parties ample reason to pour their resources into
      legislative races this year in Michigan, Arizona, California, Colorado,
      Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada,
      New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee,
      Texas and Wisconsin.

      In each state, a change of six or fewer seats would flip control in at least
      one legislative chamber.

      Seven other states have the same narrow balance, but they are considered less
      critical because they have fewer congressional districts.

      If Democrats gain a majority in the U.S. House, there is a chance Michigan's
      Bonior could become speaker.

      But if the Michigan House remains in Republican hands, after the 2002
      elections, "I certainly will be out of a job ... because of the way they draw
      the lines," Bonior said.

      Republican Gov. John Engler of Michigan is as focused as the Democrats on
      control of the Statehouse. Republicans now hold a 58-52 majority; in 1997-98,
      Democrats held a six-seat edge.

      Engler says GOP candidates can give voters lots of reasons to keep the
      Statehouse in Republican hands.

      "They will have a record that is a nice contrast with the two years previous,
      where things weren't happening under Democratic leadership," Engler said.

      Republicans don't have an exact match for Democrats 2000, which was founded
      more than a decade ago to create a farm team of Democrats who could advance
      to higher office.

      Instead, the Republican Legislative Campaign Fund plans to funnel millions of
      dollars into states to help win GOP legislative majorities.

      Democrats 2000 is more concerned with giving candidates trained workers like
      Carey, executive director Kelly Young said.

      In Michigan, more than a dozen Statehouse races are targeted. So is the race
      for a U.S. House seat left vacant by Democrat Rep. Debbie Stabenow, and her
      challenge of Republican U.S. Sen. Spencer Abraham.

      Democrats 2000 is recruiting and training 2,000 field directors and
      volunteers in eight states. It plans to spend $30,000 in Michigan, with field
      directors in 20 races and volunteers to knock on more than 100,000 doors,
      Young said.

      The grass-roots aspect appeals to Carey, a graduate student in public policy
      who said Bonior sold her on the need to get involved.

      "It's really useful to hear people like that say, 'Yes, we need policy
      people, but we really need people who can put the policy-makers in place
      supporting the decisions we would,'" Carey said.

      It's the presidential race that's going to draw voters to the polls this
      fall, more so than legislative races, but that turnout is something groups
      like Democrats 2000 can capitalize on, said Larry Sabato, director of the
      University of Virginia Center for Governmental Studies.

      The fights will be fierce in Illinois, where Democrats have a six-seat edge
      in the House and the GOP has a five-seat majority in the Senate; in Vermont,
      where controversy over the rights of same-sex couples could wipe out
      Democratic majorities in the Senate and House; and in California, which
      expects to gain four congressional seats.

      In Texas, GOP Chairwoman Susan Weddington said the defending the GOP's
      one-seat Senate majority could rival congressional races in intensity and
      expense. Republicans are within four seats of winning House control.

      "It's close to the key battleground in 2000," Weddington said.
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