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California redistricting: More seats may be up for grabs

June 10, 2011|By Richard Simon | Washington Bureau

A proposed new map of the state's congressional districts could give California greater importance in the battle for control of the House of Representatives.

"You’re going to have something like a quarter of the seats being potentially competitive," said UC Berkeley political scientist Bruce Cain, a reapportionment expert. "It may be more."

Under the plan, a 40% Asian American district would be created in the San Gabriel Valley -- a historic first, Cain said.

Interactive: Has your district been redrawn?

But Latino activists could be upset that Latino districts in the Los Angeles area would be dramatically altered as a result of creating the heavily Asian American district, he said.

Throughout California, many of the proposed districts are "virtually unrecognizable" from their current configurations, Cain said.

"You can scratch your head trying to figure out who goes where," he said, adding that districts of a number of incumbents have been "pretty much dismantled."

"There are going to be a lot of interesting choices for incumbents," he said.

In Washington, a GOP strategist worried about Rep. David Dreier (R-San Dimas) but wasn’t ready to concede any other Republican-held seats.

In an example of the dilemmas facing members of the state's congressional delegation, Republican Gary Miller could face the choice of running against Rep. Judy Chu (D-El Monte) in a new district that includes Diamond Bar, where the Miller served as mayor but now includes a heavily Asian American population. Or he could challenge a Republican colleague in a friendlier district.   

A Miller aide said the congressman's office was still reviewing the map and would have no immediate comment. Other Republican lawmakers said they considered the proposal preliminary and subject to change.

But lawmakers and their political handlers were already in campaign mode.

Parke Skelton, political consultant to Rep. Adam Schiff (D- Burbank) was pointing out Schiff’s work to extend the Gold Line into San Gabriel Valley foothill neighborhoods he would gain in the proposed redistricting.

Interactive: Has your district been redrawn?

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