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In Republican-dominated Kansas, party infighting blunts redistricting advantage

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TOPEKA, Kansas — Kansas' redistricting experience shows that even when Republicans dominate a state, the outcome is not always preordained.

Republican bickering between tea party conservatives and moderates landed the decision with federal judges, who approved a Kansas election map that gives Democrats at least a shot at breaking the GOP stranglehold on the state's four U.S. congressional seats.

Republicans hold a nearly 20-percentage point advantage among registered voters in Kansas. There never was a chance that redistricting would make any of districts Democratic-leaning.

But the map drawn by judges assigned the city of Lawrence, home of the University of Kansas and often seen as the state's most liberal community, to the district of Republican three-term Rep. Lynn Jenkins, giving Democrats hope of being competitive.

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