New Condit district could include more Dems
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Sources who work for Rep. Gary Condit tell CNN Friday that a proposed congressional redistricting plan may give him a district with a greater Democratic edge, possibly blunting predictions that his new district map could put his future in the House of Representatives at risk.
The percentage of registered Democrats in the new district tops the Republican percentage by 16 points, compared with the current 5, the sources said. The new maps were sent to all of California's members of Congress late Thursday by the state's Democrat-controlled legislature. The maps are not yet available to the public.
Many political analysts have suggested that by expanding the Condit district north to include a large Latino population, state Democrats were making it easier for the party to retain the seat if Condit decided not to run for re-election.
A Condit source called the proposal "good news," describing the new district residents as "committed Democrats" who would probably vote for Condit.
The source claimed that redistricting would not be a deciding factor in Condit's decision about his political future, nor would he discuss when a decision would be made.
An aide familiar with a proposed map for a Republican-held district just to the north of Condit's 18th district told CNN late Thursday that a chunk of area had been removed.
"The only explanation is that those voters have been put in Condit's district," the aide said.
Hispanic voters in the city of Stockton are expected to be among those who would then be represented by California's 18th.
Every 10 years, most states re-draw the lines defining legislative districts based on new census data. California's patchwork of 52 congressional districts, 80 state assembly districts, and 40 state senate districts makes it one of the most complicated puzzles in the nation -- move one line and there's a domino effect.
Some political analysts say the move to protect Democratic control of the 18th District could have an adverse effect on Condit. Condit is a conservative Democrat who has won his previous elections easily. But support for him has dropped dramatically since government intern Chandra Levy went missing, and adding new Democrats, who only know him as the central figure in a scandal, could be politically fatal to Condit.
It could also pave the way for Democratic challenges to the incumbent representative, since other potential candidates would see an opportunity in new constituents who have never voted for Condit in the past.
California Democratic Party Chairman Art Torres said Thursday that he believes this is the right time to challenge Condit.
Democrats in the California legislature say Condit's colleagues are losing patience with the congressman and may be ready to see someone else run for his seat.
"Now he has no allies and no friends in Sacramento," said political scientist Lawrence Giventer with California State University, Stanislaus in Modesto. "Those are the people doing the redistricting and so they have no allegiance to him. They have no reason necessarily to preserve him as a person, as a representative."
Sacramento is buzzing with rumors about other Democrats who may run for Condit's seat. At least four names are in the mix.
One Democrat interested in running tells CNN that party officials in Washington have already reached out to discuss the idea of a potential primary challenge to Condit.
-- CNN National Correspondent Bob Franken and Congressional Correspondent Kate Snow contributed to this report
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