Will the Census save Frank Kratovil?
The folks over at Red Maryland bring up an interesting point today about Maryland's newest Congressman, Frank Kratovil.
The Eastern Shore Dem has been taking great pains since getting into office to telegraph his independence from his party's national leaders, sending out frequent press releases to highlight every time he so much as casts a skeptical glance up at Nancy Pelosi. Red Maryland's contention is that he's a spineless opportunist who's just trying to play moderate until after the 2010 Census and the 2012 redrawing of Congressional district lines. Their theory is that the Democrats in Annapolis will give him a safer district and then he'll drop back into the party's fold.
I don't know about all of that, but I do wonder whether Democrats will try to redraw the seats to make the 1st District safer for Kratovil. I don't see that as a sure thing. Every Democratic voter they give to Kratovil is one they take away from one of Maryland's other Democratic lawmakers, and they might not be so happy about that. In particular, the distircts that would be easiest to pilfer of Ds are the 2nd and the 3rd, represented by Dutch Ruppersberger and John Sarbanes, respectively. There was enough grousing in 2002 about how many safe Democratic precincts were split from the 3rd to create a seat for Dutch; I can only imagine how tough it would be to convince two, more senior Democrats to give up reliable voters to shore up what is likely to be a marginal (at best) Democratic 1st District. Kratovil may well be on his own.