boston.com is reporting about a proposed re-drawing of Massachusetts’ US Congressional districts, and it could have a big impact on the political fortunes of first-term Congresser Jake Auchincloss. The proposed redistricting would fold all of Fall River into what is currently MA-4.
Currently, Fall River is split across two congressional districts MA-4 and MA-9, which is represented by Bill Keating. MA-9 currently contains all of New Bedford, which would not be included, under the proposal, in a congressional district with Fall River. This has Keating and former Congresser for MA-4 Joe Kennedy displeased. They think that Fall River and New Bedford have enough similarities — lower-income, ethnic mix, &c — that they should be represented in a single district. Auchincloss counters that the Gateway Cities are better served with two congressers.
Clearly, a district with a merged Fall River is better for Auchincloss. He faced stiff competition from progressives in his inaugural, successful run. Progressives split their vote, arguably giving Auchincloss his seat. A consolidated Fall River increases the size of his conservative/moderate base, making him less vulnerable to a progressive challenger. A district without Fall River would make him significantly more vulnerable.