GOP uses redistricting to shore up House majority

By DONNA CASSATA | August 23, 2011 | 1:05 PM EDT

FILE - In this May 11, 2011 file photo, Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C. takes part in a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. Republicans romped last November, gaining 63 House seats to secure the majority, winning 11 governorships in places such as Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania and seizing control of most state legislative seats they've had since 1928. The GOP is capitalizing on its across-the-board control in 26 states, governor plus legislature, in the census-based drawing of a new political map that will be a decisive factor in the 2012 elections and beyond. (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The odds of getting re-elected have gotten a lot better for Rep. Renee Ellmers and other Republican freshmen in the House — thanks to GOP calculations in redrawing political maps.

The nurse who ousted seven-term Democrat Bob Etheridge by fewer than 1,500 votes last November will be running next year in a newly drawn North Carolina district that's less swing and more Republican.

While the GOP still has eyes on winning a few more House seats, its focus in the once-a-decade, census-based redrawing of congressional districts has been on securing the 63 seats it captured from Democrats in what was a wave election for Republicans in 2010.

Democrats are looking to new congressional maps in Illinois and California to take seats away from Republicans in 2012.