Massachusetts Democrats advanced a new congressional map designed to extend their quarter-century-long monopoly over the state’s House seats.
The state legislature sent a nine-district map to Gov. Charlie Baker (R) on Wednesday after votes of 151-8 in the state House and 26-13 in the state Senate earlier in the day.
Baker has 10 days to act on the bill (H.4256). A two-thirds vote from the overwhelmingly Democratic legislature would override a veto. Precisely two-thirds of the state Senate voted for the bill’s passage.
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Under the new map, Joe Biden would have easily defeated Donald Trump in all nine districts, ranging from 58% in the southeastern 9th District of Rep. Bill Keating to 85% in the minority-majority, Boston-area 7th District of Rep. Ayanna Pressley.
Not all Democrats were happy with the map. Opponents brandished the splitting of New Bedford and Fall River into separate districts. Under the current map, New Bedford is in Keating’s 9th District and Fall River is divided between the 9th District and the 4th District of Rep. Jake Auchincloss; the proposed map would put all of New Bedford in the 9th and all of Fall River in the 4th.
State Sen. Becca Rausch (D) also assailed how the new lines would affect the MetroWest region of cities and towns west of Boston.
“We must do this right. And doing it right certainly does not mean slashing MetroWest into five different bits and bifurcating Fall River and New Bedford,” Rausch said during floor debate.
Changes to the western 1st District of Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal would shift out some areas that favored his 2020 Democratic primary opponent, former Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, who lost to Neal 59%-41%. Morse earlier this year became town manager of Provincetown, on the northern tip of Cape Cod at the other end of the state.
Democrats have won every House election in Massachusetts dating to 1996, when two Republicans lost their seats. One of them lost to Jim McGovern, now the Rules Committee chairman.
To contact the reporter on this story: Greg Giroux in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org