Representatives Line Up For Redistricting Battle

By Phillip Martin

Dec. 22, 2010

BOSTON — Members of Massachusetts'  10-person congressional delegation are staking claims to their seats after the news that the state will only have nine seats when this term is over. 

That's because of reapportionment in accordance with 2010 census data, which showed the country's population shift West and South — taking congressional seats with it.

Who stays and who goes will ultimately be decided by the state Legislature. While senority would be a determining factor relevant to most political matters, it may not factor into this contentious process. 

Eleven-term Congressman Richard Neal, of the 2nd Congressional District in Western Massachusetts, has already announced his intention to keep his seat. He says it's a question of state geography.

"This congressional district that I represent has a considerable part of southern Worcester County going all the way out to Route 495. in Milford and Bellingham,  and John Olver’s district goes along the new Hampshire border all the way to Pittsfield and Leominster. So part of the job obviously is to convince people of the merits of the argument."

Olver, who represents the first district, has also announced his intention to keep his seat.

But not all of the incumbents have made their plans clear.

Rep. Barney Frank, who has represented the state's irregularly-shaped 4th District since 1980 (and withstood redistricting in 1990), has yet to announce whether he'll run for another term.

Rep. Michael Capuano is likewise unsure — some analysts predict he'll let his seat go so he can take on Sen. Scott Brown in 2010. Capuano says he'll make a decision in the coming months.

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