Redistricting could cost North Bay lawmaker her seat

June 7, 2011 5:51:42 PM PDT
The complex process of redistricting could cost North Bay Democratic Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey her seat. A newly-released preliminary map shows her district would essentially disappear, merging with the one above it.

The California Citizens Redistricting Commission is still working on the boundaries. Their first draft won't be out until Friday, but the commission has produced a number of so-called visualizations that may show the direction their leaning.

Woolsey's congressional district stretches from Sausalito, up the coast, to just past Sea Ranch. The state's redistricting commission is looking at maps that would take the district's coastal communities and combine them into one big district stretching all the way to the Oregon border.

Woolsey is currently out of the country, but her office sent this quote. "All the sixth district needed was a tweak, a minor alteration. Instead they gave us invasive surgery."

"It was certainly radical surgery," said ABC7 political analyst Bruce Cain. "I mean they completely dismantled her seat and merged it in with the district above it."

Cain says Woolsey's likely choice is to either retire from Congress or run against fellow Democrat Mike Thompson who represents Napa and the northern coast.

"What this commission has done is it's disenfranchised the voters of California's north coast for the next 10 years," said Thompson.

By phone, Thompson told ABC7 it is not about him running against Woolsey, it's about the coast losing a congressional seat.

"Yes, the Bay Area is losing representation as a result of the new census and the changes in population," said Cain.

Whether or not Woolsey's seat will disappear is not certain. The first draft of the map won't be released until Friday. Once the first draft is released, there will be hearings and presumably revisions, as well as a number of shakeups throughout the Bay Area.

As for Woolsey, she said last December that she's thinking of retiring at the end of the current session and would make an announcement in June.


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