April 21, 2012

THE TOP OF THE TICKET HAMSTRINGS THEM MORE:

New District Maps Toughen Democrats' Race for House (JENNIFER STEINHAUER, 4/20/12, NY Times)

Congressional redistricting, a decennial process that generally allows the party in legislative power in each state to draw new lines, has not created many opportunities for new seats for Republicans, as the party's leaders once expected. But it has forced multiple House Democrats, viewing their odds in new districts as slim, into retirement. Many of those districts are now either in play or solidly Republican, making the climb for Democrats all that more onerous.

On paper, Democrats need a net gain of 25 seats to take back House control. In reality, the number is closer to 30 or even 35, since the party is likely not only to lose the seats of retiring Democrats in North Carolina, but also to face tougher odds in Arkansas, California, Oklahoma, Indiana, Illinois and perhaps in Arizona, in the district once served by former Representative Gabrielle Giffords.

Over all, 15 Democrats have announced their retirements from the House, compared with 10 Republicans. Seven Democrats and eight Republicans have also opted to run for other offices. Among the lot, Republicans leave far more safe seats behind than their Democratic counterparts.

Of the seats where members are not seeking re-election, just two -- one in Illinois and the other in California -- have the potential to flip from Republican to Democrat, said David Wasserman, House editor of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, while at least six seats held by Democrats are at risk of falling to Republicans, thanks to new lines. Among those are the North Carolina seats being vacated by Representatives Heath Shuler and Brad Miller.

"Democrats are at a disadvantage because of these retirements," Mr. Wasserman said. "Those retirements have hamstrung their requirements of picking up the 25 seats they need."

Democrats' only hope was that the GOP would nominate a whackdoodle for president.

Posted by at April 21, 2012 8:00 AM
  

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