Entries in Seats (4)


Dems Could Gain Three Seats in Court-Drawn Texas Redistricting Map

Hemera/Thinkstock(SAN ANTONIO) -- While most Americans were still recovering from their Thanksgiving turkey-induced comas, Democrats in Texas were getting one step closer to gaining three Congressional seats in the traditionally red state’s redistricting battle.

After Democrats and Latino groups filed a lawsuit against the map drawn by the Republican-controlled state legislature, a San Antonio-based federal court redrew the map, which is expected to be finalized on Monday.

Texas, which grew by more than four million people over the past decade, picks up four additional House seats in light of the 2010 Census -- more than any other state.

Minorities accounted for 89 percent of the state’s growth in the past 10 years, with Hispanics alone comprising 65 percent of the state’s population growth over the past decade.

The map, which adjusts the legislature-drawn districts in an attempt to better represent the state’s burgeoning Hispanic population, makes at least three districts more competitive for Democrats by eliminating a Democratic primary challenge in the Austin-San Antonio area and creating two minority opportunity districts.

“This state is changing by the day and our members of Congress should represent those constituencies and not the other way around,” said Trey Martinez Fischer, chairman of the Texas House Mexican American Legislative Caucus, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit against the legislature’s map.

State Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican, immediately appealed for a stay on the map.

”It seems apparent that the proposed map misapplies federal law and continues the court’s trend of inappropriately venturing into political policymaking rather than simply applying the law,” Abbott said in a statement Wednesday.  “Perhaps worst, in the name of protecting Hispanic voting power, the court seems to be discarding already elected Republican Hispanics in favor of drawing maps that may elect Democratic Hispanics.”

Abbott’s appeal will likely go to the U.S. Supreme Court, where the justices will decide whether to make the San Antonio court re-draw the maps.

Martinez Fisher said a stay from the Supreme Court would be “problematic” because it would create further uncertainty over where the district lines will ultimately be and could possibly delay Texas’s primary election, which is scheduled for March.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Redistricting Battles Begin: Is Your Congress Member in the Line of Fire?

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Several veteran members of Congress could soon find their jobs in the line of fire as redistricting efforts get underway around the country.

From New York, which will lose two U.S. House seats, to Ohio, which will lose the same number, Democrats are particularly vulnerable this time around in the once-a-decade process that's rife with partisan bickering.

Meanwhile, population growth in heavily Republican states has given the GOP an upper hand.  Texas will gain four House seats, the most of any state.  Florida will gain two seats, and Arizona and Georgia one each.

"Republicans are in the best position that they've been in for redistricting in the modern era of redistricting across the country and especially in these states that are gaining seats, like Texas," said Tim Storey, a redistricting analyst at the National Council of State Legislatures.

In states such as New York that are mostly Democratic controlled but losing seats, the party faces the stark reality of pitting its members against each other, as in the case of Rep. Louise Slaughter, who represents a district in upstate New York.

Then there's talk of Republicans targeting Democrats such as Rep. Dennis Kucinich in Ohio and Rep. Frank Pallone in New Jersey, whose districts have too few people and need to be enlarged.

Republicans took over at least 19 Democratic-controlled state legislatures in November and gained more than 650 seats, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, meaning they control much of the redistricting processes around the country.

In most states, redistricting maps have to be approved by the state House, Senate and the governor.  New boundaries have to take into account population changes, demographic shifts and minority representation.

Partisan "gerrymandering" isn't always a matter of one party increasing outright the number of districts that they know will favor them.  It mainly occurs by redrawing the district so that it displaces rival party members and puts them in a whole new district with less favorable demographics.

Democratic political insiders say it's too early to speculate what the end result might be.  Others foresee a brutal fight.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


NRCC Chairman: 'Easily 95 to 100' House Seats in Play

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Republican leaders say they are continuing to see the map of competitive races expand in the final days of the race, with even longtime incumbents like Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., and Rep. Jim Oberstar, D-Minn., among Democrats who are facing unexpectedly tough challenges.

On ABC’s Top Line Thursday, the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, Rep.  Pete Sessions, said his party’s candidates are already “well ahead” in the “low 40s” of seats -- more than enough to take over the majority.

He said another 60 or so seats will be toss-ups right through Election Day.

“Within the margin of error, I would say there are easily 95 to 100 seats,” Sessions, R-Texas, told us live from Dallas Thursday.  “The competitive seats that are in there where Republicans are ahead are already in the low 40s -- where we think Republicans are well ahead and based upon the turnout and what happens on the day of the election we will go ahead and win.

“Those other 60 seats will be within the margin of error all the way up until Election Day, and turnout will decide that.  I think Republicans can win back the majority, but it's going to take the American people wanting to change what is happening in Washington.  And I think we can do that.”

Sessions also responded to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s contention, in an interview with Charlie Rose Wednesday night, that “I would rather be in our position right now than theirs.”

"If she's proud of her hand, I would sooner be us," Sessions responded Thursday.  “[The] Republican Party recognizes we've got to read the bills, we've got to balance the budget, and we've got to bring back the 3 million jobs that have been lost.  So I think that’s the hand Republicans are going to play with.  I think the American people see what it is to have some balance as we approach the president and bring back jobs.”

Republicans will be focused on trying “to slow things down” in Washington -- as voters say they want, Sessions said.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Republican Strategist Predicts 60-Seat Loss for Dems

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Despite a new NPR Battleground poll released Friday that showed some new hope for Democratic House candidates, Republican strategist Steve Lombardo said he is as bullish as ever about the GOP’s prospects in November.

“I still think we're looking at a 60 seat loss -- net loss -- for Democrats,” Lombardo told ABC News Friday.  “The way we look at it right now is this is at least as bad as it was in 1994.  My guess is it's worse.”

According to the NPR survey, in 58 of the most competitive House districts, Democrats are gaining on their GOP opponents, narrowing the gap with them to three points.  At the same time, more independents appear to be breaking for the Democrats.  However, Lombardo cautioned that it's unclear whether independents will actually show up at the polls on Election Day.

“Even some of those independents are not going to be voting as much as they should,” he said.  “The likely voter enthusiasm gap is still with Republicans by a significant margin.”

Lombardo, who runs a consulting firm based in Washington, also predicted that the attacks by top Democrats on outside groups, which are fueled by anonymous donors and spending heavily this year to aid conservative candidates and causes, would prove ineffective.  He said that Democrats were “grasping about ... blindly,” for an issue that would energize their base.

“Every campaign that is sort of losing the narrative, if you will, of the election, starts to venture into a lot of different things that aren't important or resonate with voters,” Lombardo said.  “To be honest with you, McCain had the same problem in 2008.”

Although he forecast big gains for Democrats in the House, Lombardo acknowledged that it was unlikely Republicans could take back the Senate.  Still, he left open the possibility that some wild cards could push the GOP over the edge.

“We don’t know just how big this anti-incumbent, anti-Democratic policy, Tea Party movement, if you will, is,” he said.  “We've only see it play out in primaries so far.  We don't know what will happen in a general.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio