Michigan Dems blast state's redistricting proposal

Michigan Reps. Gary Peters (D) and Sandy Levin (D) put out a joint statement Friday, blasting their state's proposed redistricting map, which pits the lawmakers against one another in the 2012 election.

“Voters in Michigan have never before faced such a shamelessly partisan redrawing of congressional boundaries. Instead of drawing fair lines that follow community and county borders in a logical way, the Republican legislature has drafted a map so skewed that it exploits every trick in the book to gerrymander districts in ways that benefit Republican incumbents. The legislature and Governor Snyder should reject this gerrymandered map and draw congressional boundaries in a way that puts Michigan voters’ interests squarely ahead of flagrant partisan advantage," they said.

Michigan lost one congressional district because of population shifts. Peters and Levin, who is the ranking member of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, were expected to be drawn into the same area. Peters's old district, containing the Detroit suburb of Oakland County, was mostly divided up into Rep. Thad McCotter's (R) and John Conyers's (D) districts. Peters is now in Levin's Detroit-based district.

Republicans control the redistricting process in Michigan and officially released their proposal on Friday. The next step in the process is to hold public hearings on the proposed map before a final version is decided upon.

"Michigan legislators apparently have no regard for Michigan voters and drew themselves districts that arbitrarily divide the state for partisan gain. In a state that President Obama carried with 57 percent of the vote, it's outrageous that Republicans worked behind closed doors to unfairly divide the state and put blatant partisanship before Michigan families. No amount of partisan one-upmanship can change the fact that Michigan voters will reject Republicans devastating plan to end Medicare," said Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokeswoman Haley Morris in a statement.

DCCC Chairman Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) was in Michigan on Thursday to meet with Levin and Peters about the 2012 election, the Detroit News reported Friday.

Israel seemed to hint that Peters should move to McCotter's district and challenge the incumbent.

"Ultimately, Gary has to make the decision on where to run, but McCotter has always been on people's lists of someone who doesn't represent the sensibilities of his district. Running against McCotter, Peters would have the truly moderate voting record," he told the newspaper.

A Democratic source told The Ballot Box that "while the new map reveals a blatant attempt to gerrymander for partisan gains, the DCCC is very much hands-off in terms of what the delegation decides to do."

Both Peters's and Levin's offices confirmed to The Hill their respective lawmakers plan to run for reelection, but declined to talk about specifics, pointing out that the map hasn't been finalized.

-- This post was updated Saturday at 1:39 p.m.