The New Districts

 While we're waiting for election results, let's take a look at the newly proposed Massachusetts congressional districts, shall we?

 Starting out west, Richard Neal has taken over much of John Olver's district, including the Berkshires. That will annoy some Berkshire folks who liked their own district -- and wanted to run for the seat post-Olver. I wouldn't be surprised if Neal gets a primary challenge now and/or in the future, but I doubt he'll get upended -- and the seat should stay safely on the D side for the forseeable future.

Worth noting that many cynical wiseacres (like me) suggested that redistricting committee co-chair Stan Rosenberg would preserve Olver's district for his own future run. Didn't happen (and I think we can assume that Olver's resignation came about because his district was being squeezed, not the other way around). In fact, Rosenberg's home town of Amherst has been gifted to McGovern in the proposal, which pretty much nixes the notion of a future US Rep Stan.

As for McGovern, his district is substantially different. It used to look like a river flowing from central Massachusetts down and east to the sea. Now it really is a central-Mass district. It'll be interesting to see whether he gets a serious Republican challenge in the next cycle or two; the addition of Amherst will help keep it D.

Niki Tsongas stayed mostly the same, expanding west along the northern border to pick up Fitchburg and some smaller towns. The Globe reported Friday that she might Lawrence on the other side, which didn't happen; I don't think that was seriously in the cards, but it might have changed after the article appeared. Regardless, I think she's probably in pretty good shape now. 

John Tierney's district ends up not changing much; it picks up Tewksbury, Billerica, and some of Andover, while keeping all those Republican-leaning north coast towns -- and their concentration of GOP contenders -- but overall is much better for him than it could have been. Which means he is merely as vulnerable as he already was; Richard Tisei, unsurprisingly, says he's taking Tisei on in 2012. My guess is Tisei wins an ugly primary with Bill Hudak, but cmes up a little short against Tierney -- but that should be a good race.

Below that, the eternal Ed Markey stretches some into the MetroWest suburbs, which could affect the eventual post-Markey fiight for that Dem-heavy seat. And below that, Mike Capuano's district snakes down into Milton and Randolph, to make it more of a real majority-minority district -- now at 57%. I think it's very likely now that Capuano will be succeeded by a black pol; I believe Deval Patrick now becomes a resident of that district (unless he votes in Richmond), so expect him to play kingmaker.

Much has been written about Steve Lynch getting thrown in with Bill Keating, but Keating had clearly come to accept his fate and immediately announced he'll run in the new, Quincy-less southeastern district. Lynch shouldn't have too much trouble getting Quincyites to like him, and I don't think the changes make him much more vulnerable to a primary challenge from the left. So it looks like Boston will continue to have one congressman residing in the city after all. Post-Lynch I think it'll be tough for a Southie winner there, but for all we know Lynchie could stay put for another 20 years.

Keating is a tougher call. The district loses Quincy, and gains the whole southeast coast and up the Rhode Island border to Fall River -- the district now arguably centers in New Bedford, from a Democrat's perspective at least. I think outgoing New Bedford mayor Scott Lang would be crazy not to challenge Keating in 2012, and if he doesn't there are several others who could. As for the Republicans, you would think they would have a real shot at taking the seat -- but look at what they did down there with the golden opportunity in 2010.

That leaves us with Barney Frank, who loses his beloved New Bedford and gains much of Scott Brown's old base around Wrentham/Attleboro. I'm told the new district is D-leaning; I'm curious whether Brown recruits a candidate into that race, or if it falls to Sean Bielat again. The other big news there is that Brookline and Newton stayed together in the district. Since this figures to be the map that Frank's successor gets elected in, that means we can look to those communities for the district's next Democrat. Deb Goldberg figures to have a head start, but plenty of others there (including Setti Warren - though probably not in the immediate future).

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