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Interactive map by Jesse Costa/WBUR; data from the state
BOSTON — The proposed new congressional map for Massachusetts creates a 9th Congressional District encompassing Cape Cod and the Islands, New Bedford and Plymouth.
And freshman Rep. Bill Keating has announced he'll move to his summer home in Bourne to run in that district, as opposed to facing off against fellow incumbent Rep. Stephen Lynch in the new 8th Congressional District, which includes Keating's current hometown of Quincy.
George Brennan, a reporter for The Cape Cod Times who covered Keating's first race for Congress, told WBUR's Steve Brown that Keating has to build name recognition in the 10 cities and towns the new district will cover and are not in his current 10th District.
"New Bedford is the biggest city, and places like Middleboro, Rochester, Mattapoisett, Westport - those are places he has not represented in any of his previous political offices," Brennan said. "He has been a state representative and a state senator, but that was up in Norfolk County. And now he's delving into Bristol County."
Brennan said Republicans are floating names including state Rep. Vincent deMacedo of Plymouth and Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson as possible candidates to run against Keating.
"I'm hearing from Republicans that they really feel as though this is another opportunity for them," Brennan said. "They felt a huge opportunity last time around, where it was an open seat. And they're kind of referring to it as a half-open seat this time, with these 10 new towns that have been added."
Paul Watanabe, a political science professor at University of Massachusetts Boston, told Brown the new map does present some opportunities for Republicans. But he said he wouldn't describe those as good opportunities, given the state's overall Democratic bent.
"Certainly in the newly created 9th District, on the south coastal towns and Cape Cod, is an area where traditionally Republicans have fared better than they have in other parts of the state," Watanabe said.
In the western part of the state, with a new "huge, geographically large district," Republicans might find an opportunity because the area is so rural, according to Watanabe. On the North Shore, he added, Rep. John Tierney is more vulnerable than he was under the current district map.
This program aired on November 8, 2011.
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