Q&A #5: Redistricting

 Lots of questions today -- love it! I've got two on redistricting. First, via Twitter (follow me! from "Lance Harris" aka "CMassPolitics":

Which comes first: redistricting map or Congressman announcing run for Senate? If map, who's out? I say Tsongas vs. Tierney.

And from here on the blog, "Jim-C" asks":

Do you think that the group trying to get Suffolk County to make up one Congressional district has any chance of passing it? Isn't it just a plan to "pack" minorities into one Boston based district and make the remaining ones more conservative?

As I suggested in an earlier post, I'm not getting much of a sense that any of the Bay State's delegation are getting ready to jump into the race against Scotto anytime soon. So, the stare-down over redistricting will continue.

I tend to agree with Lance that Tierney is the obvious target, much as he'd like to resist it. It's not entirely clear to me how that would be accomplished -- you're right that it probably means adding a bunch of northeastern Mass. to Tsongas's district, but if that means taking away some of her solidly left-leaning suburbs south of Lowell ("Eldridge country") she could be a seriously endangered Dem.

As for Jim's question, I'll admit I was surprised to see suggestions of a Suffolk-only district -- I just don't see how it's workable. I would note that it would almost certainly increase the odds of Massachusetts electing a black or Hispanic member of congress, but as you suggest that comes with a downside too.

Bear in mind that Boston is well represented in the legislative committee assigned to drawing the new districts. I would argue that the city has more clout when it touches more congressional districts, so I would anticipate it remaining carved up, perhaps even more than it is now, when all's said and done.

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