LAS VEGAS — The population of Latinos has exploded here, and they want their voices heard not just in the halls of schools like Clark High or on the growing number of Spanish-language radio stations, but also with a louder voice in Congress. The swelling ranks of Latinos here are a big reason Nevada will win a new seat in Washington. And so, as part of the once-a-decade redistricting process, leaders here are sketching out a new Congressional district that would give Latino neighborhoods more sway over their representative in Washington.
In a sort of legislative miracle, Texas lawmakers actually finished their redistricting work this year, drawing new political maps for Congress, the Texas House and Senate, and for the State Board of Education. But the fight is just starting, and could last beyond next year’s elections.
Nobody, including a fair number of lawmakers, thought the legislative part would be that easy. It helped to have a Republican supermajority. Still, the five-member state board that draws maps when lawmakers fail — the lieutenant governor, the House speaker, the attorney general, the comptroller and the land commissioner — was all ready to go. But the Legislature left them nothing to do.
Redistricting will cost House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer (D) the most constituents of any Maryland lawmaker, and Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D) will have to gain the most, according to data released Wednesday by a panel tasked with rebalancing population in the state’s congressional districts. The population in Hoyer’s 5th district in southern Maryland has grown by almost 47,000, or more than twice as much as that of any other Maryland House member since the 2000 Census.
There may be a new king when it comes to gerrymandering this cycle, and it’s the North Carolina Republican party. State legislators, looking to reverse decades of Democratic-drawn maps and give their party a chance to win multiple seats, released a map Friday that not only does just that but is also likely to be a case study for any aspiring map-drawer. The map makes four Democratic-held seats much tougher for the incumbents to hold, and Reps. Heath Shuler, Larry Kissell, Mike McIntyre and Brad Miller are all going to have to fight for their political lives. Republicans, who currently hold just six of 13 seats in the state, will almost surely win at least a couple of these.
New congressional maps, which give significantly new or merged districts to representatives in southeast Michigan, were approved on a 25-13 vote Wednesday by the state Senate. Because the new districts already have passed the state House, the maps need only Gov. Rick Snyder's signature to become law. Sara Wurfel, spokeswoman for the governor, said he is looking forward to reviewing the maps to ensure they're fair and constitutional. Legal challenges to the new districts, which dropped from 15 to 14 because of population loss in the state, are likely from groups including the Michigan Democratic Party, Congressional Black Caucus or Michigan Legislative Black Caucus.