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Perry, stuck in 5th, will move on to South Carolina after Iowa



GOP presidential nominee hopefuls are still vying for the top spot in Iowa.

Meanwhile, the most recent Des Moines Register poll, released last weekend, shows the following breakdown:

• Mitt Romney – 24 percent
• Ron Paul – 22 percent
• Rick Santorum – 15 percent
• Newt Gingrich – 12 percent
• Rick Perry – 11 percent
• Michele Bachmann – 7 percent

The polling was conducted from Dec. 27 – Dec. 30. The newspaper reported that if the final two days of polling stood alone, Santorum would be in second place and Paul would be in third.

The newspaper also reported that 41 percent of those polled could be swayed in a different direction.

Perry and Bachmann plan to make their next, and possibly last, stands in South Carolina instead of chasing the rest of the GOP presidential pack to New Hampshire.

Neither candidate is a sure bet to survive Tuesday’s lead-off Iowa caucuses, but both say they’ll jump ahead to the first Southern state to vote, recognizing they have little hope of making up ground in the nine days before New Hampshire’s primary.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Romney is heavily favored in his neighboring state, but a few others are in pursuit.

Perry will head straight to Greenville, S.C. Wednesday. Bachmann will spend part of three days in that state beginning Wednesday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Interim map gives District 25 back to Doggett




A federal court has released the proposed interim maps for Texas Congressional districts for the 2012 elections.

The new maps released Wednesday will temporarily override maps drawn by the Republican-led Texas Legislature.

Republicans have until noon Friday to respond. The map gives District 25 back to 17-year incumbent Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin. It includes East Austin and much of Hays County.

The Republican-drawn maps would have forced Doggett to run in the new District 35 against popular Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio.

Congressman Michael McCaul, R-Austin, will represent more of Austin if the new maps hold.

State House and Senate interim maps were released by the court last week. Until now, candidates running in the March 2012 primary have been in limbo.

Lawmakers redraw maps every 10 years to reflect changes in population growth. This year, Texas picked up four additional seats in the House.

Experts say three of those new seats would have gone to Republicans under the legislative map, but minority groups mounted a legal challenge saying the map illegally weakens their voting power.

Republican leaders say they drew the map to benefit their party, not to hurt minorities. The court’s map was drawn with a focus on protecting minority voting strength. That will likely help Democrats, who must net 25 seats nationally to win back the U.S. House.

Check out a copy of the interim map below:

The Associated Press contributed to this report.