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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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IRC approves legislative draft map on 4-1 vote

Despite objections about a lack of competitiveness, divisions of like-minded communities and concerns that some regions were given more consideration than others, the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission approved a draft legislative map, one day before it begins a 30-day series of public hearings.

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Proposed congressional map has candidates searching for most favorable district (access required)

While Republicans denounce Arizona’s proposed congressional map, politicos on both sides of the aisle are eying the new opportunities it provides, and two GOP incumbents are preparing to fight each other for their political survival.

The districts are subject to change as the Independent Redistricting Commission begins a 30-day round of public hearings on the map. But based on the current lines, several interesting races are shaping up. The Arizona Capitol Times took a look at each of the nine proposed districts and the races Arizona voters might see.

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