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Tar Heel Pundits
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Wednesday, August 07, 2002

Two tales of redistricting

A couple of primary races in Michigan and Georgia pitted incumbents against each other in newly redrawn districts. Rep. John D. Dingell defeated fellow Democratic Rep. Lynn N. Rivers yesterday in the race to represent Michigan's newly-redrawn 15th District. Georgia's 7th Congressional District is pitting Rep. Robert L. Barr Jr. against fellow Republican Rep. John Linder. The two races are very different though. The Republican race in Georgia is producing little campaigning over the issues since the candidates are almost ideological twins, with both being conservative southern Republicans. The campaign has largely revolved around personality differences. The Michigan race was in stark contrast to the race in Georgia, with the two candidates fighting hard on the issues. Rep. John Dingell is an old school Democrat, and he got his support from labor unions and gun owners. He said he campaigned on "traditional Democratic values -- protect Social Security and Medicare." Rep. Lynn Rivers, however, is one of the new Democrats, and she got her support from women's rights groups and environmentalists. In her concession speech, Rivers said, "[t]he fight for gun safety, the fight for the right to choose and the fight for the environment is not done, and I'll be back." I wonder if this illustrates a split in the Democratic party, or if Rep. Dingell represents Reagan democrats who are not ideologically aligned with the more liberal wings of the Democratic party. Big Republican success has always depended on wooing the type of voters who helped Rep. Dingell win his primary away from the Democratic party. Republican strategists might want to look at his campaign to figure out how to do that...

posted by John Branch @ 9:03 AM

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