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9th congressional most likely candidate for elimination?

February 22, 2017

Article courtesy of MIRS News Service

It’s almost a foregone conclusion that Michigan will lose yet another congressional seat after the 2020 U.S. Census, which sparks the natural question — which district will map makers most likely eliminate?

According to Grassroots Midwest’s Brian BEGAN, Republicans — if they retain the majority — are most likely to center on the U.S. Rep. Sander LEVIN (D-Royal Oak) seat, but that may not necessarily mean good news for Republicans.

Because the federal Voting Rights Act makes it difficult to eliminate a majority-minority district — one where 55 percent of the voters are of a minority — mapmakers will likely be forced to redraw two more funny looking districts out of Detroit as opposed to making the City of Detroit its own district.

Unless a deal is struck where a lawsuit isn’t filed for making Detroit it’s own district, the next map could include a North Carolina-like looking district that stretches up Interstate 75 to Flint or Saginaw, Began said.

“It could cause a mess,” said Began, one of the House staffers in 2011 who helped draw the maps for legislative Republicans. “When you lose seats, you create chaos.”

Getting rid of the 9th District could create a situation where it may be difficult not to draw U.S. Rep. David TROTT (R-Birmingham) and U.S. Rep. Mike BISHOP (R-Rochester) into the same district, he said.

“No matter what you get rid of, no matter what you do, the map gets thinner for Republicans,” said Josh PUGH of Grassroots Midwest, who joined Began on this week’s MIRS Monday podcast.

If the Republicans have to draw one of their members out of a seat, “I’m sure they wouldn’t mind it being Justin AMASH,” Pugh said of the libertarian-leaning Amash.

If Democrats were able to wrestle the pen away from Republicans in 2020, there are opportunities to draw a seat out of Republican West Michigan. For example Grand Rapids could be looped in with Ingham County, they note.

Other sitting House members who could face tougher districts as a result of redistricting include U.S. Rep. Tim WALBERG, who may need to get more of Washtenaw County into his district.

On other issues, Pugh and Began said the Democrats’ chances of winning legislative or congressional seats north of Clare — with the exception of the 109th state House District in Marquette — are dimming, but new opportunities are springing up in southeast Michigan.

They see Trott’s 11th District as being possibly the most competitive in the state in 2018 after Democrats saw their best performer in a marginal district in 2016 come from an underfunded Anil KUMAR against Trott.

In the Senate, the 7th, 12th and possibly the 15th are becoming real possibilities for Democrats while the 19th, 20th, 39th, 40th and 41st could slip away from Republicans if Democrats can find quality, well-funded candidates in those areas. 

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