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« on: July 12, 2007, 02:42:01 am »
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Shifting Populations Will Impact '08 Senate Races

By Reid Wilson

As population grows and changes, the political sands shift over time. The once-solidly Democratic South continues its long march to Republicanism; the Northeast, where herds of Republican moderates once roamed free, now boasts an overwhelming Democratic Congressional majority. It is these shifts over time that present both parties with new opportunities at all levels of government.

Yet not all change happens at the same rate. In the cases of Colorado and Louisiana, both parties see their strongest chances to pick up a Senate seat, and both parties can credit the respective state's shifting population for that chance.

In Colorado, the growing Hispanic community and significant migration from California seems to have reached a tipping point in recent years. Now, Democrats hold majorities in both state houses and the Congressional delegation, and in the past two cycles have gained a Senate seat and the governor's mansion. While the state narrowly went for President Bush in 2004, Democrats are so enthusiastic about the possibility of picking up Colorado - and, indeed, the entire Mountain West region - that they will hold their convention in Denver next summer.

Couple Democrats' recent gains and commitment to the region with the retirement of incumbent Republican Senator Wayne Allard and one can imagine that the state would give National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman John Ensign a bit of heartburn.

The election sixteen months distant, both parties have seemingly chosen their all-but nominees already. The long-expected entry of Congressman Mark Udall, who backed out of the 2004 race to unite behind the successful candidacy of Ken Salazar, has frozen the Democratic field, as no other serious candidate is expected to throw his or her hat in the ring. On the Republican side, after flirtations with former Congressman Scott McInnis failed to lead to his candidacy, party leaders turned next to former Congressman Bob Schaffer, a conservative who ran unsuccessfully for the Republican Senate nomination in 2004.

The early settling of the field is a factor many political watchers consider when they say Udall holds the early, and significant, edge. University of Colorado Professor Ken Bickers says Udall's advantage comes from the Republican party, which, thanks to several bitter primaries and gridlock in the state legislature, has squandered its natural advantage with voter registration.

Now, independent voters are seeking new options, and as a fledgling majority in the legislature, Democrats "haven't really messed up," according to veteran Colorado political watcher Floyd Ciruli. The state's Democratic party "is in ascendance at the moment," he said, and if Republicans nominate someone like Schaffer, with a conservative reputation, he will struggle to get to the middle.

Add to that Schaffer's failure to beat moderate beer magnate Pete Coors in the 2004 race, and the impression remains that "he's not the strongest candidate in the world," according to Bickers.

Centrist Democrats have succeeded in Colorado of late. The elections of Governor Bill Ritter and Senator Ken Salazar reenergized the party. But Mark Udall isn't exactly in the mold of either Ritter or Salazar. Ciruli calls him "a much more across-the-board liberal," but hastens to point out that the liberal label may not stick. "What [Udall] is the most left on is not tons of social issues," but rather environmental issues. So will Republicans attack him for being a radical environmentalist? "That's not such a bad thing out here," said Ciruli. Solidly Democratic urban areas, a more environmentally-conscious rural population and the growing Hispanic population could all conspire to send Udall to the Senate.

In Louisiana, unlike Colorado, change did not mean growth. Longtime Louisiana political analyst Elliott Stonecipher points out that the state has been losing population for 25 years, and after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the slow drip became a hemorrhage. By his estimate, a quarter of a million African Americans left the state, likely permanently. The U.S. Census Bureau puts the total number of people who left the state at more than 400,000.

The state will be hit so hard by the population loss that not only will it lose a Congressional seat in the 2010 redistricting, but it could lose another seat in 2020 as well. The population loss "is like losing limbs," Stonecipher said.

Incumbent Lousiana Senator Mary Landrieu certainly noticed when those limbs were lopped off. Louisiana has one of the highest percentage of African American voters in the nation, and those voters, the vast majority of whom vote Democrat, are the cornerstone of Landrieu's success. Now, says Brookings Institute scholar Sarah Binder, "there is no natural ability to win in the South" without an African American base.

After the 2004 election of Republican Senator David Vitter and this year's governor's race, in which Congressman Bobby Jindal, also a Republican, is the heavy favorite, Landrieu's re-election campaign will be "a watershed kind of event for Louisiana politics," Stonecipher said, suggesting that, for the first time in its history, the state is likely to have two Republican senators and a Republican governor. Landrieu's African American base in New Orleans, he said, "is not there, and it won't be back in time" to bail her out.

Landrieu's only chance, he suggests, is if her campaign can mobilize heavy turnout among the state's remaining African American voters. She spent last year's election perfecting her turnout operation in Shreveport, campaigning on behalf of Democratic mayoral candidate Cedrick Glover. Glover won, beating a white Republican thanks to heavy turnout, and if Landrieu can repeat that success on a statewide level, she has a chance to remain a senator.

But Republicans have no intention of allowing a pickup opportunity like this to slip through their fingers. Among those considering throwing their hats in the ring are Secretary of State Jay Dardenne, a former Democrat, and Treasurer John Kennedy, still a Democrat who nonetheless recently sat down with White House political strategist Karl Rove over lunch to discuss running as a Republican.

Both Republicans, along with Congressman Richard Baker, who has not ruled out a run though seems increasingly unlikely to make a bid, would likely start out as frontrunners. Landrieu's demonstration in Shreveport showed that her victory is indeed mathematically possible, but Republicans believe the state gives them their best chance to win back a seat.

In both Colorado and Louisiana, population shifts have changed the states dramatically since the last time Allard and Landrieu faced voters. Colorado has seen a steady stream of new migrants, making the state friendlier territory for Democrats. Louisiana's Democratic base, on the other hand, fled the state in a matter of days, leaving a solid Republican core that will make Mary Landrieu's 2008 a very difficult year, and provides Republicans hope that they won't be shut out of winning a new seat for the second cycle in a row.

Future population shifts are already underway, and whether it's the Democrats' new enthusiasm about the Mountain West or Republicans' focus on the Midwest, the next step is never more than a redistricting cycle away.

Reid Wilson, an associate editor and writer for RealClearPolitics, formerly covered polls and polling for The Hotline, National Journal’s daily briefing on politics. Wilson’s work has appeared in National Journal, Hotline OnCall and the Arizona Capitol Times. He also served as deputy press secretary for Senator Chris Dodd’s Presidential campaign.

Wilson can be reached at reid@realclearpolitics.com

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2007/07/shifting_populations_will_impa.html
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« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2007, 08:39:13 am »
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Add to that Schaffer's failure to beat moderate beer magnate Pete Coors in the 2004 race, and the impression remains that "he's not the strongest candidate in the world," according to Bickers.

Pete Coors, a moderate?   Huh?

Seriously, was I following a different election or something?
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« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2007, 11:23:15 am »
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Right wingers call him a moderate because Schaffer is more insane. Schaffer attacked him for not discriminating against gays in employment. And of course they've engaged in the revisionist history that Schaffer would've beaten Salazar, even though the GOP pulled out all the stops to ensure Coors' victory in the primary.
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« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2007, 11:37:28 am »
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Yes, I would say that Schaffer is perhaps mentally ill with some serious personality disorders. Im not a psychologist, but my parents are in the special ed profession and they are almost as keen as some psychologists and therapists.
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« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2007, 11:41:30 am »
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And of course they've engaged in the revisionist history that Schaffer would've beaten Salazar, even though the GOP pulled out all the stops to ensure Coors' victory in the primary.

I don't think you need to engage in "revisionist history" to realize, in retrospect, that Coors was a far worse candidate than Schaffer could ever hope to be.  He was an awful, awful campaigner.

Yes, I would say that Schaffer is perhaps mentally ill with some serious personality disorders. Im not a psychologist, but my parents are in the special ed profession and they are almost as keen as some psychologists and therapists.

Never before have two cents been so worthless.
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« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2007, 12:32:59 pm »
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The Beer Guy wasn't exactly moderate but compared to Schaffer, he sorta was. Schaffer is pretty conservative. The Beer Guy was a stronger candidate than Schaffer and he still failed.
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« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2007, 04:27:09 pm »
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Never before have two cents been so worthless.

More like two centimes.
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« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2007, 12:00:43 am »
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Longtime Louisiana political analyst Elliott Stonecipher points out that the state has been losing population for 25 years

That is completely wrong. Louisiana is one of the slowest growing Southern States (after WV), but it grew 0.4% in the 80's and 5.9% in the 90's.

and Treasurer John Kennedy, still a Democrat who nonetheless recently sat down with White House political strategist Karl Rove over lunch to discuss running as a Republican

WHAT??!  Is that a big shock, did people see that coming?
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« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2007, 09:42:09 am »
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Yeah....what?  Please, spare us from having to read such unremarkable crap.  This made absolutely no sense.
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« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2007, 03:07:55 pm »
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Yeah....what?  Please, spare us from having to read such unremarkable crap.  This made absolutely no sense.

You make absolutely no sense
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« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2007, 03:56:13 pm »
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Yeah....what?  Please, spare us from having to read such unremarkable crap.  This made absolutely no sense.

You make absolutely no sense

I second that.
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« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2007, 04:37:04 pm »
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I third that.
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« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2007, 05:44:35 pm »
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 I agree with the article's assessment on the Colorado Senate race.

 I am not as fatalistic on Louisiana as some Democrats - Landrieu still has solid approval ratings. I do agree, though, that LA is the Republicans' best shot at a pickup. I call it 50/50.

 One interesting topic of conversation could be the effect that these population trends will have on house redistricting. Louisiana will almost certainly lose a seat after 2010, but chances are it will be a Republican seat. Assuming the Democrats can keep control of the legislature for that long, Melancon's seat won't be carved up, and New Orleans will still have enough of a black population to keep Jefferon's seat Democratic - albeit by smaller margins than previously.

 Add to this the fact that those 200,000 or so Louisiana blacks who have gone to other states will improve Democratic performance in those places. An extra 100,000 blacks in Houston will create headaches for the Texas legislature when their next redistricting comes around.

 Finally, this article does a good job of showing why states like Colorado and Nevada are gaining population - because people are moving there from California, the northeast, and Mexico. Therefore, these states will continue to become more Democratic and could lead to the Democrats eventually taking an additional house seat in Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and perhaps Arizona.

 Advantage Democrats.
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« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2007, 12:34:27 am »
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 One interesting topic of conversation could be the effect that these population trends will have on house redistricting. Louisiana will almost certainly lose a seat after 2010, but chances are it will be a Republican seat. Assuming the Democrats can keep control of the legislature for that long, Melancon's seat won't be carved up, and New Orleans will still have enough of a black population to keep Jefferon's seat Democratic - albeit by smaller margins than previously.


I've heard that many Katrina refugees fled to Baton Rouge which could cause that seat to lean more Democratic in the future.
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« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2007, 02:12:51 pm »
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 ^^^
 
 A good point, I hadn't thought of that.
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« Reply #15 on: July 14, 2007, 09:29:20 pm »
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An extra 100,000 blacks in Houston will create headaches for the Texas legislature when their next redistricting comes around.

Not really.  Texas politicians are extremely talented in their redistricting efforts.  Besides, most of the Katrina residents in Houston either don't vote or are either killing each other off as we speak (thanks to the talented efforts of present mayor Bill White)

Colorado is a state no one seems to understand on this forum or otherwise, and this article likewise performs badly in that analysis. 

The Democratic party in Louisiana is presently in more trouble than any other statewide Democratic party in the country (other than a few other states like Texas, where they already are in bad shape and thus can only improve).  Although an increase in the black population may have occurred in Baton Rouge, there is no guarantee that these people are actually going to come out and vote, and it is likely they vote in substantially less numbers than they did in New Orleans b/c the Dems down there had a pretty good voter turnout program in those areas that were affected so much post-Katrina (e.g. 9th ward, etc).

Just a few minor points, that's all.  Smiley
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« Reply #16 on: July 15, 2007, 11:58:03 am »
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Besides, most of the Katrina residents in Houston either don't vote or are either killing each other off as we speak (thanks to the talented efforts of present mayor Bill White)

 I won't accuse people of racism, but that quote comes pretty close. Thanks for telling us that those ig'nunt black folk can't vote because they are "too busy killing each other."

 Poor choice of wording aside, your argument is flawed. Just because many Katrina evacuees aren't registered to vote now, doesn't mean they won't be in the coming years. And they don't even need to be registered to vote to be counted in the census, which is part of what the post is about.
   No Republican who represents a part of Travis County won his seat by more than about 35,000 votes in the last election. Again, I'm not saying that the influx of refugees will surely create a new Democratic seat in the coming years - just that it'll tighten margins, pose headaches and, along with the rapidly growing Latino population throughout south Texas, cause Republicans to divert funds they normally would not be required to.

 As far as Colorado goes, the only people who don't seem to understand it are the Colorado Republican Party. Since in the last half decade they have lost the governorship, the state house, the state senate, the congressional delegation, a U.S. senate seat, and now face a candidate for the other U.S. senate seat who is out raising and out-performing theirs, I don't think it is much of a stretch to say that Colorado is trending Democratic and the influx of new voters to the state has a role to play in that - between 2000 and 2005, a net increase of 160,000 new people entered the state and the growth rate of Hispanics was twice that of whites.

 Finally, I would not suggest that the increased black population in Baton Rouge means that Baker's seat is in imminent danger. He is too popular among white swing-voters. However, when he retires, an extra 50,000 black voters in the district will help make the race to replace him interesting.

 All of these things - LA losing a Republican house seat through redistricting, margins in Republican-held Houston-area house races getting closer, Baker's LA seat being up for grabs when he leaves office and the Democratic Party consolidating power in Colorado and other western states - are long-term trends. No one is saying that they will all happen right away, but over time they all seem quite possible, if not likely.

 The bottom line is that migration shifts, including those resulting from Katrina, may in the end help Democrats more than Republicans, with the possibly exception of Mary Landrieu. And even she may be in better shape than people think. The most recent post-Katrina Survey USA poll has her at 54% approve, 42% disapprove, including a decent 47/48 among whites.
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« Reply #17 on: July 15, 2007, 04:10:32 pm »
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The only way I see Landrieu losing is through a great campaign or being Chaffee'd. I personally think she will be Chaffee'd.

I also think the future of the democratic party will be dependant on doing better in the west, if they can't win there, they will pretty much be a permanent minority and regional party because the voters that the GOP abandoned to achieve their new base are mostly in the West and North East. With both the big-government pro-lifers in the Ohio and Mississippi valley and the libertarian voters in the suburban rocky mountains, the Rovean coalition is assembled and will always win overall by a margin between 50.00000000001 and 54% by bringing out the base and winning the center, no matter how badly they govern.
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« Reply #18 on: July 16, 2007, 02:03:29 am »
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Besides, most of the Katrina residents in Houston either don't vote or are either killing each other off as we speak (thanks to the talented efforts of present mayor Bill White)
I won't accuse people of racism, but that quote comes pretty close. Thanks for telling us that those ig'nunt black folk can't vote because they are "too busy killing each other."

Poor choice of wording aside, your argument is flawed. Just because many Katrina evacuees aren't registered to vote now, doesn't mean they won't be in the coming years. And they don't even need to be registered to vote to be counted in the census, which is part of what the post is about.
Many continue to be registered in New Orleans and voted in the mayoral election, either by absentee ballot, or voting from Lake Charles on election day.  As time goes on, many will return to New Orleans, perhaps when their apartment subsidies eventually run out.   There are two CD's in the Houston area that are barely black plurality.  CD 9  is 38% B, 32% H, 17% A, 12% O.  CD 18 is 41% B, 36% H, 20% A, 4% O.  An effort will be made to maintain them as plurality Black districts.

Did Sam Spade say anything about black folks killing each other?  I think he was referring to persons from New Orleans who are living in Houston.

Quote
No Republican who represents a part of Travis County won his seat by more than about 35,000 votes in the last election.
Lamar Smith won by 73,000 votes in 2006.  And if you meant Harris County, Ted Poe won by 45,000.   Culberson won 35,000, and Sekula Gibbs won by 53,000 in the special election.

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As far as Colorado goes, the only people who don't seem to understand it are the Colorado Republican Party. Since in the last half decade they have lost the governorship, the state house, the state senate, the congressional delegation, a U.S. senate seat, and now face a candidate for the other U.S. senate seat who is out raising and out-performing theirs, I don't think it is much of a stretch to say that Colorado is trending Democratic and the influx of new voters to the state has a role to play in that - between 2000 and 2005, a net increase of 160,000 new people entered the state and the growth rate of Hispanics was twice that of whites.
Wasn't Owens the only Republican governor in Colorado since when?  Vanderhoof in 1975?
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« Reply #19 on: July 16, 2007, 03:30:38 am »
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 1. As time goes on, more and more of the Katrina refugees in Houston will settle in there and, eventually, change their voting registration. Nobody expects all or even most of them to return to New Orleans at this point, especially with what a haphazard job is being done of rebuilding there. And don't try to be cute - when Spade says Katrina refugees are too busy killing each other to vote he's not talking about rich white people.

2. I did mean Harris country - that was a typo, and indeed it is true that in '06 no Republican won by more then 35,000 except for Poe - and he represents the northern suburbs of Houston, not the part that most Katrina evacuees are living in. Culberson, McCaul and Paul were all at or below 60% in '06 without the Katrina refugee vote. Even if a significant fraction of Katrina refugees in Houston begin to vote in the future, that will be a factor in some of the other Republican seats around Harris; Perhaps not enough to swing the seats, but certainly enough to force Republicans to divert resources.

3. You cannot deny the disarray that the Colorado Republican party is currently in, compared to the relative ascendancy of the Colorado Democratic Party. I won't waste my time defending the obvious.
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« Reply #20 on: July 16, 2007, 09:32:23 am »
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Did Sam Spade say anything about black folks killing each other?  I think he was referring to persons from New Orleans who are living in Houston.

Yes.  Those are black people, jimtext, but you're just as big a racist as Sam Spade for defending his remarks.
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« Reply #21 on: July 16, 2007, 09:37:33 am »
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2. I did mean Harris country - that was a typo, and indeed it is true that in '06 no Republican won by more then 35,000 except for Poe - and he represents the northern suburbs of Houston, not the part that most Katrina evacuees are living in. Culberson, McCaul and Paul were all at or below 60% in '06 without the Katrina refugee vote. Even if a significant fraction of Katrina refugees in Houston begin to vote in the future, that will be a factor in some of the other Republican seats around Harris; Perhaps not enough to swing the seats, but certainly enough to force Republicans to divert resources.

You do realize that there are very few (if any) Katrina refugees in McCaul's TX-10 (northwest exurban Harris County), Paul's TX-14 (Brazoria County is not where they settled, nor is the still rural part of Fort Bend that is Paul's CD, neither his part of Galveston county which is highly suburban).

Paul's numbers, I suspect, were b/c of his anti-Iraq stuff (which would not go over well in that CD, even in 2006).  McCaul actually had an opponent in 2006, unlike 2004, and his poor performance was actually in the rural areas of that CD (interestingly enough).

Some Katrina refugees have probably settled in Culberson's TX-07, but I am pretty sure that CD is carefully designed in Southwest Houston to take in mainly Bellaire (suburban) and Meyerland (Jewish) and doesn't take in that much black/Hispanic shifting area along Richmond Avenue.  The area inside 610 is more moderate Republican/Independent than anything - those areas in this country acted more anti-Republican than any others in 2006 (Texas was not excluded).  The other areas outside 610 are pretty hyper-Republican suburbs of Houston.  And truthfully, local Republican candidates in Texas suffered about a generic 5% shift against them statewide in all the races I've studied.  Strangely enough, this shift seemed to be the smallest in statewide elected offices that were not national (excluding Governor, of course).

Most (if not all) of the Katrina refugees settled in southwest Harris County - b/c that's where the city placed them.  Generally, they placed them in the large apartment complexes and condos that populate the area around Fondren, Gessner and Chimney Rock avenues  - that were actually white areas back in the 1980s, started becoming black (w/some Hispanic) starting in the early-to-mid 1990s and were generally black by the early part of this decade.

This area is all within Al Green's very safely Democratic TX-09.  If area of these refugees were in any Republican districts, it would probably be TX-22 (or as mentioned earlier TX-07 or Sheila Jacson Lee's CD - not GOP), but they would be in only the Fort Bend Cty parts of that CD (and the numbers probably weren't that great), not the Harris County parts - which are mainly suburban white.
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« Reply #22 on: July 16, 2007, 11:10:01 am »
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 That is a good analysis, but it is still true that if most of those people stay in Houston, regardless of what CD they are currently in, they will have to be accounted for in redistricting in a few years, most likely meaning that a good chunk of CDs 9 and 7 will need to be split between the more conservative districts.
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« Reply #23 on: July 17, 2007, 03:11:19 pm »
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An extra 100,000 blacks in Houston will create headaches for the Texas legislature when their next redistricting comes around.

Not really.  Texas politicians are extremely talented in their redistricting efforts.  Besides, most of the Katrina residents in Houston either don't vote or are either killing each other off as we speak (thanks to the talented efforts of present mayor Bill White)

Colorado is a state no one seems to understand on this forum or otherwise, and this article likewise performs badly in that analysis. 

The Democratic party in Louisiana is presently in more trouble than any other statewide Democratic party in the country (other than a few other states like Texas, where they already are in bad shape and thus can only improve).  Although an increase in the black population may have occurred in Baton Rouge, there is no guarantee that these people are actually going to come out and vote, and it is likely they vote in substantially less numbers than they did in New Orleans b/c the Dems down there had a pretty good voter turnout program in those areas that were affected so much post-Katrina (e.g. 9th ward, etc).

Just a few minor points, that's all.  Smiley

Agreed!  This article isn't an analysis at all.  It's some dude's emoting about what he heard down at the DCCC press office the other day.  Sometimes you can read waaaay too much into a closed set of events in a two year period. 
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« Reply #24 on: July 17, 2007, 03:39:56 pm »
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Yeah....what?  Please, spare us from having to read such unremarkable crap.  This made absolutely no sense.

You make absolutely no sense
Don't you just love it how Rawlings always ignores what you have to say?
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