Indiana lawmakers unveiled a new draft of legislative maps Monday morning that would solidify some Republican congressional seats, while making one Democratic congressional seat nearly certain to shift into Republican hands.
The maps proposed in the Senate Elections Committee this morning would make major changes to Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly's 2nd District, in north-central Indiana.
Lawmakers are proposing to drop Howard County, which includes the Democratic-leaning city of Kokomo, as well as part of Democratic-leaning LaPorte County, and add all of Republican-leaning Elkhart County and much of strongly-GOP Kosciusko County, among other changes.
I'll wait until the numbers get run, but it sure seems likely that this new map will inspire Donnelly to run for Senate instead. Assuming Hoosier Republicans don't melt down the way their counterparts have just done in Louisiana, these new plans should pass easily, seeing as the GOP controls the trifecta. Anyhow, the new map is just below, and new state Senate and House maps are below the fold (and no, I don't know why the House map appears to be suffering from gigantism).
UPDATE: Statement (via email) from Donnelly:
I am disappointed because it appears that politics played into the drawing of the congressional district lines revealed this morning by Republicans in the General Assembly. By comparison, the Indiana Senate Democrats released a map of congressional districts a few weeks ago that respected "communities of interest," as called for by Governor Daniels. For example, in the Senate Democrats' map, LaPorte County was intact in the 2nd Congressional District and Kosciusko County was intact in the 3rd Congressional District. In the Republicans' map, LaPorte County is divided between the 1st and 2nd Congressional Districts and Kosciusko County is divided between the 2nd and 3rd Congressional Districts.
Even though it appears that politics played a role in the drawing of this map, I am confident that a Democrat can win in the new 2ndCongressional District. Then-Senator Obama performed well in this district in 2008, earning 49% of the vote. Also, it is not uncommon for a Democratic candidate in Indiana to outperform his or her nominee for president. I did it in 2008, outperforming then-Senator Obama by 13 points, and I know it can be done again.
As for my future plans, my decision will ultimately be based on how I can best serve the people of this great state. I will soon be sitting down with my wife and children and expect to make a decision in the coming weeks.