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Assembly passes Dems’ 2nd try at redistricting

MICHELLE RINDELS
Associated Press

Democrats are trying their hand again at redrawing Nevada’s congressional districts after Gov. Brian Sandoval called their first maps unfair and illegal and vetoed the plans last week.

The Assembly on Wednesday passed the second drafts on a 26-16 vote and sent them to the Senate for consideration. All Assembly Republicans voted against the map, which sharply differs from their own proposal.

“This plan focuses on common sense,” Assemblyman Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, said before the vote.

The new map keeps key Clark County Hispanic communities in the same congressional district to increase their ability to elect a candidate of their choice, Segerblom said.

It also puts 70,000 rural Nevadans in the new District 4, rather than the original plan to put them in District 3 currently occupied by Republican Rep. Joe Heck.

Heck defeated Democrat Dina Titus in a tight election last fall in the district that was closely split between Republicans and Democrats. The first map that was vetoed by Sandoval gave Heck a sprawling district that extended from Clark County into northern Nevada – rural GOP territory.

The new map keeps Heck’s district within Clark County that includes the urban hub of Las Vegas – and with an electorate that leans Democratic by a margin of 47 percent to 30 percent over Republicans. Heck could leverage his status as an incumbent to overcome the Democratic voter registration advantage in his district.

A candidate in the new fourth district, which also includes portions of Clark County, would have to campaign hard in the rural area, Segerblom said.

Redistricting happens every 10 years to account for shifts in population and is based on updated census data. Nevada is getting a new, fourth seat in the House of Representatives after rapid growth in the past decade.