Arizona map shake-up benefits Democrats

The map, if adopted, could also pose a problem for freshman Rep. Paul GosarPaul GosarOvernight Finance: Puerto Rico bill clears panel | IRS chief vows to finish term | Bill would require nominees to release tax returns House panel approves Puerto Rico debt relief Overnight Defense: Dem opposition mounts to defense policy bill MORE (R-Ariz.), whose district becomes more competitive. Former Rep. Ann KirkpatrickAnn KirkpatrickThe Trail 2016: Sanders who? McCain campaign blocks own ad from YouTube Poll: McCain locked in tough reelection fight MORE (D-Ariz.), who Gosar unseated in 2010, is running to take back the seat and has already demonstrated the ability to raise large amounts of money to take him on.

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The districts held by Democratic Reps. Gabrielle Giffords, Raul Grijalva and Ed PastorEd PastorWhich phone do lawmakers like the most? CAMPAIGN OVERNIGHT: Political tomfoolery Pastor endorses in race to replace him MORE are left largely unchanged or made slightly safer. Giffords won reelection by just two points in 2010, but is recovering from a gunshot wound inflicted by an gunman in January.

If Giffords runs again, she is widely expected to win reelection without serious challenge. If the seat opens up, it will be competitive.

"We are encouraged by the fact that the commission is leaning toward a competitive map. We think that is good in terms of electing more moderates," said Arizona Democratic Party spokesman Andy BarrAndy BarrHorse racing industry divided on need for federal oversight Lawmakers press for Christians to be included in ISIS genocide designation Rein in thoroughbred racing abuses MORE. "But we're not necessarily looking at this as any sort of guaranteed win."

Wasserman said Democrats were seeking to minimize the perception of their gains, lest the redistricting commission change the map before it is finalized after the public comment period.

"Democrats have every reason to downplay this map," he said. "I think it's going to generate a game of musical chairs."

Republicans blasted the map and accused the commission of abandoning its mandate to deliver an unbiased, balanced map.

"This gerrymandered map was drawn with an undeniable partisan purpose," Quayle said in a statement. 

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) said she had been holding her tongue until now to give the commission room to work but vowed to formally weigh in on the map during the public comment period. 

"I'll be silent no longer," she said. "Arizona voters are owed a redistricting process that is lawful and transparent."

— This post was updated at 11:51 a.m.

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