July 29, 2011 5:50 PM
Don Holland

Brand-new congressional district boundaries sent a shock through the High Desert on Friday as longtime congressmen Jerry Lewis and Howard “Buck” McKeon were “re-districted” out of the Victor Valley, setting the stage for local politicians to jockey for the open congressional seat.

The 8th Congressional District would extend from the San Bernardino Mountains, through nearly all of the High Desert portion of San Bernardino County and north to Mammoth Lakes and Bridgeport. The voter registration breakdown of the new district is 42.7 percent Republican to 32.9 percent Democrat.

McKeon, whose current district includes Victorville and Adelanto, would still represent the Antelope and Santa Clarita valleys. Lewis, whose current district includes Apple Valley and Hesperia, would be pitted against Democrat incumbent Rep. Joe Baca in the new 31st Congressional District. That district is 41 percent Democrat and 37 percent Republican.

“The ‘final’ round of maps put out by the redistricting commission still disregards one of the fundamental priorities of the process: maintaining communities of interest,” Lewis said in a statement Friday. “The proposed lines mean the residents of Highland will be represented by a member of Congress based in the High Desert. But their neighbors across the street will be voting for a member of Congress who also serves half of the city of Upland.

“I am concerned that this process has been very flawed in meeting the community of interest need for the East San Bernardino Valley,” Lewis continued, “and I believe this will not be the final chapter in the 2011 redistricting saga.”

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