- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 15, 2001

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California legislators approved a new congressional map that would likely hurt any re-election bid by Rep. Gary A. Condit because it adds 40 percent new voters to his district.
While the newly drawn 18th Congressional District approved Thursday has a strong Democratic edge, Mr. Condit, a conservative Democrat, will lose part of his base in Stanislaus County.
He will also pick up new voters who primarily know of Mr. Condit through news reports about missing Washington, D.C., intern Chandra Levy, with whom Mr. Condit has conceded having a close relationship.
The new legislative map was expected to be signed by Gov. Gray Davis.
California will get a 53rd congressional seat starting in 2003 because of the population growth revealed by last year's census.
Democratic Party leaders have severely criticized Mr. Condit, in office since 1989.
Mr. Condit has not announced his plans and does not have to make a decision until Dec. 7, California's deadline for qualifying for next year's elections.
The Democratic leanings of the district have two strong California politicians considering a run.
Jim Costa, a longtime member of the state Senate, has said he will run for the seat only if Mr. Condit doesn't.
Also eyeing the district is state Assemblyman Dennis Cardoza, a former Condit aide who has to leave the Assembly because of term limits.
But Mr. Cardoza is also thinking of running for the state Senate.
Mr. Condit's popularity plunged after Miss Levy vanished in May. Police sources have said Mr. Condit, who is married, conceded having an affair with Miss Levy. But police officials say he is not a suspect in her disappearance.
Mr. Condit has been re-elected every time by a landslide, but a poll taken last month showed only 27 percent of his constituents said they would vote for him again.

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