Politics 2012: California
“Vicious new political battles. Farewells from longtime power brokers. More candidate choices for minority communities. Possibly even a more moderate statehouse. All could spring from the latest reshaping of California’s electoral landscape — done for the first time by voters rather than Sacramento insiders.
The initial test of the new process will be Friday, when an independent panel that now performs the once-a-decade redrawing of political lines will release draft district maps for the state’s 53 members of Congress, 40 state senators and 80 Assembly members. Incumbents could find themselves in unfriendly territory as seats merge and party leanings flip.
Californians stripped the Legislature of the redistricting task amid frustration with a polarized state government and gerrymandering that made seats perennially safe for most incumbents. The maps will be further refined, but it is already clear that the panel’s work will dramatically affect the state’s Legislature and congressional delegation.”