While many Republicans may consider breaking up congressional districts represented by Democrats an opportunity to regain a majority in the House and establish a long-lasting electoral advantage, others are urging caution against taking the party's redistricting efforts too far, Politico reports.
Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), the top Republican on the House Rules Committee, falls in the latter camp. He cited two previous instances in North Carolina and Pennsylvania in which the GOP redrew districts that favored the party, only to see state courts invalidate them. The new lines wound up allowing Democrats to pick up several seats. "They stretched the rubber band too far," Cole said. He also warned against getting "too greedy" because a "bad election" under redrawn districts could backfire and result in excessive seat losses.
Politico points to Kansas City, where "cracking" Rep. Emanuel Cleaver's (D) district is a possibility. If that happens, the GOP could take seven of Missouri's eight congressional districts in a good year, rather than the six they consistently get. But, at the same time, "four or five Republican incumbents would have to take a 3 to 5 percent reduction in the Republican base," James Harris, a veteran Missouri operative, told Politico. So, in a bad year, Democrats could potentially take three seats. In short, the risk of going after Cleaver's district may outweigh the reward for the GOP. Read more at Politico.