Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), long an outspoken liberal who replaced the Rev. Robert Drinan, will be redistricted out of his seat if the state legislature, which is firmly controlled by his own Democratic Party, passes the congressional redistricting plan recommended by the legislative redistricting committee. The committee, led by some legislators with whom Frank has tangled in the past, put him into a new district that is populated about 3 to 1 by supporters of Republican Rep. Margaret Heckler.

"There are some in the legislature who think being too independent isn't healthy," Frank says.

Frank indicated that he probably wouldn't run under such circumstances, but he's holding off his decision in the hope the district will be redrawn.

"There's about a 50-50 chance that they'll amend it so that it's just about 60 percent Heckler's people and about 40 percent mine," he said Friday. "It's strange that in the speaker's state they are giving a seat to a Reagan supporter. She's supported him most of the time."

The Speaker, Tip O'Neill, agrees that it's strange, and he is working on Frank's behalf. The legislators have indicated that if the affected incumbent congressmen can agree, they may do a remap.