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Political Circuit

State legislators go to D.C. to discuss redistricting process

February 20, 2011

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Members of the US House of Representatives don’t usually spend time currying favor with lowly state reps and senators. But every 10 years, when it is time to draw up new congressional boundaries, it’s the state legislators who hold all the cards.

Some of the more serious jockeying began last Wednesday, when State Senator Stanley C. Rosenberg, an Amherst Democrat, and State Representative Michael J. Moran, a Brighton Democrat, traveled to Washington to meet with seven of the 10 members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation.

The two state legislators will lead the effort to redistrict the state, including the elimination of one congressional district as a result of new US Census population figures. The state will have nine seats after the redistricting.

“Everybody [said] basically the same thing,’’ Rosenberg said. “Their argument for why their district should be saved, should not be eliminated.’’

Rosenberg said the individual meetings, each about 45 minutes, were mostly to explain the process. He and Moran handed out packets showing population projections, demographics, and city and town population estimates. They gave an estimate of how many constituents would need to be added to their district — between 45,000 and 80,000 people. Public hearings will begin after the Census releases official city and town population figures in the coming months.

Most members made the case that any new people added to their districts should retain similar characteristics to their current constituents, he said. Coastal congressmen wanted more coastal constituents, for example.

“Nobody gave us a map. Nobody said here’s my ideal district,’’ he said. “Nobody went after anyone else.’’

At least, not yet.

— Noah Bierman

Cahill pays off an outstanding legal bill from his campaignFormer state Treasurer Timothy P. Cahill may be out of public life, but his public life is still dogging him — to the tune of a $14,668 in legal bills.

Lucky for him, he still has more than $100,000 in his campaign account and recently paid off the bill. The payment appears in his committee’s most recent public filing as money paid to his attorney Joseph Demeo, who has represented him as the Securities and Exchange Commission scours through the hundreds of documents it has subpoenaed from the treasurer’s office.

Federal regulators are looking at the relationship among Cahill, his gubernatorial campaign staff, and a former aide who went on to work for Goldman Sachs.

— Frank Phillips

State budget running short for presidential primary, Galvin saysSecretary of State William Galvin said Governor Deval Patrick’s proposed budget for the coming year does not give his office enough money to hold the March 2012 presidential primary in Massachusetts, just over a year from now.

Costs have risen because his office is in the process of redrawing precinct lines in response to demographic changes recorded by the latest US Census, he said.

To run the primary, he said he would need about $1.8 million more than the governor has offered.

If his office does not get the money, Galvin said on Friday, he may have to consider canceling the primary, holding less costly caucuses instead, or charging the political parties a fee to finance the March contest.

“I’m going to do whatever I can to economize, but I would remiss if I didn’t raise the issue now,’’ he said. “I would be remiss if I didn’t point out this is a problem.’’

— Michael Levenson

Tweet of the weekAfter Tito Jackson garnered more than 67 percent of the vote in last week’s preliminary election to replace Chuck Turner on the Boston City Council, his fans were atwitter with excitement.

Among them was @h_ayes: “Congrats, @titojackson. Today you might be the most talked about Tito Jackson in America!’’

He was referring of course to the more famous Tito Jackson, the musician and pop singer Michael Jackson’s older brother, who trumps the Boston Jackson in name recognition. On most days that is.