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  Sources: Congressional delegation Dems eye Bartlett as redistricting target
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ContributorIndyGeorgia 
Last EditedIndyGeorgia  Jul 20, 2011 02:47pm
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CategoryAnalysis
AuthorJosh Kurtz
News DateTuesday, July 12, 2011 08:00:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionRep. Steny Hoyer (D), the dean of the Maryland Congressional delegation and the No. 2 Democrat in the House of Representatives, is a wily legislative veteran, a master of the deal, and used to getting his way.

Rep. Donna Edwards (D), a fiery liberal with three years of Congressional experience under her belt, is known more for her political passion than her insider prowess.

But Edwards appears to be trumping Hoyer, according to multiple sources, when it comes to convincing their Democratic colleagues in the delegation which of the state’s Republican-held seats to target in the upcoming redistricting process. And for now, at least, it looks as if a consensus is forming that they ought to go after Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R) rather than Rep. Andy Harris (R).

Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) recently appointed a redistricting commission to help state lawmakers draft new Congressional and General Assembly maps. The governor and legislative leaders will have plenty of say over how the state’s new boundaries will look.

But when it comes to Congressional lines, which will likely be adopted in a special legislative session that will convene in mid-October, the six Democrats in Maryland’s House delegation will be accorded much sway.

And at the moment, sources say, despite Hoyer’s plea to make the 1st District more Democratic to pave the way for a comeback for former Rep. Frank Kratovil (D), the delegation – with Edwards as one of the prime advocates – is close to signing off on a map that would instead give Democrats at least a 50-50 chance of capturing Bartlett’s district in the near future.

In Annapolis and in Washington in recent months, it’s become accepted wisdom that Maryland Democrats, under pressure from national party leaders looking for the two dozen seats they need to retake the House in 2012, will attempt to move the delegation to a 7-1 seat Democratic advantage, up from the current 6-2.

The question for Democrats has been whether to g
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