Ballot Box

Judges toss new W.Va. congressional map

Lawmakers in West Virginia will go back to the drawing table to redraft a new map for the state’s congressional districts after a three-judge panel deemed the Legislature’s plan unconstitutional.

A panel voted 2-1 to reject the new map, alleging it maintained the status quo at the expense of equaling out the population size in each district, Reuters reported.

Legislators have until Jan. 17 to put a new plan together, or the courts will take over the process.

Democrats control the redistricting process in West Virginia, where the governor’s mansion and both chambers of the Legislature are in Democratic hands.

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Conservative Virginia lawmaker could challenge Allen in Senate primary

Republican Bob Marshall, a long-serving member of the Virginia House of Delegates, is weighing a run for the state’s open U.S. Senate seat.

Marshall told The Examiner he was serious about the prospect, but had no timetable for making a decision.

Although numerous candidates are already vying for the GOP nomination, none have come close to touching former Sen. George Allen, who held the seat from 2001 to 2007 and is a favorite of national Republicans who see him as their best chance to replace retiring Sen. Jim Webb (D). The Senate contest has largely stood as a two-man race between Allen and presumed Democratic nominee Tim Kaine, and the two former governors have already squared off in a debate months ahead of the primaries.

But many Virginia Republicans, including Tea Party voters and those seeking to use their vote to buck the establishment, have been clamoring for a more conservative, outsider candidate to challenge Allen.

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New ads from Missouri Republican aim for McCaskill, ignore primary opponents

John Brunner, one of the three main Republican candidates vying to take on Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), launched new radio and television ads on Tuesday, but neither address his GOP primary opponents.

Instead, Brunner is going straight for McCaskill, the first-term Democrat who is bracing for a tough reelection fight in a state where President Obama is inherently unpopular.

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RNC: Five states to lose half their delegates

The five states that bucked national Republican Party rules by moving up their primary or caucus dates have been penalized with the loss of half their delegates to the August nominating convention in Tampa, Fla. — and there is no chance they're getting them back.

Republican National Committee officials said Tuesday that there is no mechanism for New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida, Arizona and Michigan to restore any of their lost delegates. And at the party's winter meeting in New Orleans in January, the Rules Committee will decide whether to levy additional penalties on recalcitrant states, including unfavorable hotel assignments and convention seating arrangements.

This marks the second consecutive presidential cycle where the RNC has had to drop sanctions on states that refused to abide by party rules governing which states can hold primary contests before March 6, Super Tuesday. After Florida moved its primary up to Jan. 31, hoping to boost its own importance in the nominating process, other early states leapfrogged to maintain their positions, resulting in Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucuses taking place Tuesday, just days after the start of the new year.

Although Iowa also moved up its caucuses, none of its delegates are bound by the caucus results, so the state was not penalized, officials said.

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