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Georgia U.S. Reps. want new district lines

Jan. 25, 2005 at 6:10 PM

ATLANTA, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- The Georgia General Assembly, led by Republicans for the first time since reconstruction, is being pressed to redraw the state's congressional lines.

Much of that pressure is coming from Republican U.S. Reps. Phil Gingrey and Lynn Westmoreland, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution said Tuesday. The two have put forward separate plans that carve up the 13 congressional districts into seven safe or Republican-leaning seats. Democrats would have five districts, with one district undecided. General Assembly Republicans are said to be cool to the idea of new lines, the paper said.

Those who back the effort said the GOP would likely focus on adding Republicans to Gingrey's district and might try to put more moderate Democrats into Democrat U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney's seat.

Unless ordered to do so by the courts, most states normally redistrict once after the census, But political analyst Stuart Rothenberg said, Georgia "isn't normal."

Rothenberg said the current map, which the Democrats approved three years ago without GOP input, "is one of the most gerrymandered in recent memory." The U.S. Department of Justice would have to approve any new map because Georgia is covered under the federal Voting Rights Act.

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