New Congressional Maps Split Fresno County 5 Ways

FRESNO, Calif.

One whos is pleased with the changes is Republican Congressman Devin Nunes who represents the 21st District.

"So far I'm happy with the direction the commission is going."

Nune's district now captures eastern Tulare and Fresno Counties and includes Clovis, under the plan he would keep most of that and also swallow a big chunk of North Fresno. He sees them as related communities.

"Visalia Tulare metro area is very similar to Clovis North Fresno metro area." Nunes said.

The biggest changes are in what now comprises the 20th District, held by Democrat Jim Costa, and the 18th District, held by Democrat Dennis Cardoza. In the new map, Costa is edged out of the Fresno City Limits, and Cardoza is moved in.

Political Science Professor Tom Holyoke, of Fresno State University says this is not good for Costa, who is not popular outside the city limits.

"So now it looks like Cardoza is going to share Fresno with Devin Nunes while Jim Costa has been pushed out of Fresno into the rural area which is probably not a good thing for him."

The most unusual change would put the mountain community of Shaver Lake in a district almost reaching Lake Tahoe, while the District including the foothill community of Squaw Valley would stretch into Los Angeles County.

"Where we really had three congressional districts in Fresno County we now have bits and pieces of five, so we'll have more representation," Holyoke said.

If this map is adopted, Representative Jeff Denham's 19th District would be out of the area, into Stanislaus County. In a written statement, Denham protested, saying; "This process is far from over but it is clear that the commission's initial drafts don't appear to follow the intent of the initiative. The public's opinion on the issue will be crucial in the next phase of the process and I look forward to their input."

Statewide, analysts see Democrats gaining a slight advantage if the maps are adopted as drawn. Republican Nunes believes his seat is safe, but expects at least ten of the state's 53 congressional seats to be up for grabs in 2012.

"I think you are going to see major changes all over the state."

The state legislative boundaries for state assembly and senate have also been redrawn, but all the maps are still subject to change. Final drafts will come in August, after more public input.

You can offer your input about the proposed redistricting changes at a public hearing on June 23.

It will be held at the University of California's Fresno center 550 Shaw Ave. suite 100 in Fresno.

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