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Dems’ prized piece (access required)

New 9th Congressional District offers unprecedented opportunity

Sometimes a coin flip can be the opportunity of a lifetime.

The proposed 9th Congressional District was designed to be as competitive as possible, but a 50-50 split means a lot more to Democrats than Republicans.

The district, which encompasses Tempe, central Phoenix and Ahwatukee Foothills, is the break Valley Democrats have been waiting for.

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New legislative map leaves Dems perplexed despite advanced planning (access required)

Democrats have looked to the state’s Independent Redistricting Commission as their best chance to change their fate as the perpetual minority — a position they’ve held for nearly all of the past 40 years in Arizona.

They got commissioners they liked appointed to the panel. The commission selected lawyers that many Democrats were pleased with. And they even awarded a contract to a mapping firm with historic ties to Democratic causes.

But in the end, the result looks like the status quo. And for the Arizona Democratic Party, that’s not a good thing.

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Republicans cry conspiracy over redistricting

Republicans are really mad about redistricting. An approved draft (as in preliminary) congressional map strengthens the chances of Democratic incumbents Gabby Giffords and Raul Grijalva, both of whom narrowly won re-election last year. Republican freshman David Schweikert and Ben Quayle, on the other hand, appear to be on a collision course and could face each other in the primary in 2012. And Republicans have argued that the map, which has two rural districts, runs counter to the required constitutional requirement of respecting communities of interest.

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