Welcome to this week’s edition of REDMAP Rundown, a synopsis of redistricting news brought to you by the RSLC’s REDistricting MAjority Project (REDMAP). This weekly update gives you the latest on what those in the Beltway, and across the country, are saying about the impending reapportionment and redistricting process.
In this week’s REDMAP Rundown: Barone dashes Dem dreams, Wild cards in Virginia and Iowa, Oklahoma redistricting ‘noble and vital,’ how things change in Nebraska and Mississippi.
Political guru, Michael Barone looks at the current redistricting projections writing, “Overall, states carried by John McCain in 2008 will gain a net seven seats (and electoral votes), and states carried by Barack Obama will lose seven. Eighteen months ago, it looked like Democrats were going to profit from redistricting. … But that scenario now is the stuff of dreams. Democrats are threatened with losing many governorships and legislative chambers, and their chances of taking over many from the Republicans look dismal. Instead, the optimistic scenario belongs to the Republicans. If they hold what they have and capture a few governorships (Ohio, Tennessee, Wisconsin) and a few legislative chambers (the Houses in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, and both houses in Wisconsin), they will control redistricting in 11 states with more than five House seats, including Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas. Those states are projected to have 178 House seats. This would be an even better redistricting cycle for Republicans than the one following the 2000 Census, which was their best in 50 years. It could move one to two dozen House seats into the Republican column. … The unpopularity of the Obama Democrats’ policies seems sure to hurt the party this year. Redistricting seems likely to extend the pain for several more election cycles.”
“Population shifts portend a potentially dramatic redesign of congressional districts in Hampton Roads, Northern Virginia, Southside and the far Southwest [Virginia].” The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports, “The new boundaries could render the seats more friendly or hostile to their current occupants. An analysis by the research arm of the General Assembly, which will redraw congressional and legislative lines next year, shows that six of the state’s 11 U.S. House seats will take in more territory because of declines in population. There are several wild cards in next year’s political mapmaking. … Further complicating congressional redistricting: a divided state government. The House of Delegates has a hefty Republican majority. Democrats narrowly control the state Senate. Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican, can use his amendment and veto powers to force changes in congressional and legislative lines, both of which ultimately must be approved by the U.S. Justice Department or a federal court because of Virginia’s history of racial discrimination.”
“It’s no surprise that Iowa has been losing population during the past decade – and the 2010 census will confirm that when all the numbers are tallied,” according to the Globe Gazette in Iowa. “One of the results of lower population is less representation in Congress because seats in the U.S. House are divided proportionately according to population. … The wild card in all of this is when Iowa goes from five to four districts someone’s going to lose their job. Even a C-minus math student like me can figure that out.”
Oklahoma State Rep. Kris Steele opines, “While the purpose of redistricting is both noble and vital to a thriving democracy, the actual implementation can produce the temptation to place personal political gain over civic duty. The natural inclination is to pit Democrats against Republicans, rural interests against urban, and even Democrat against Democrat and Republican against Republican. Ultimately, this approach does not serve the best interests of Oklahoma citizens. We must protect against a process that is divisive and self-serving. It is important to promote a sound and effective plan to secure the most accurate representation within our state.”
“There’s a big political decision coming in the Legislature next year,” writes The Journal Star. “When state senators craft new congressional districts in response to 2010 census figures, they’ll draw the boundaries of a competitive and marginal Omaha district that could be swung toward either party. Senators often trumpet the non-partisan nature of the Nebraska Legislature, but that characteristic swiftly disappears when the time comes to redraw the lines of congressional districts.”
The Associated Press reports, “The Joint Legislative Committee on Reapportionment and Redistricting has been conducting public meetings across Mississippi about redrawing congressional and legislative districts. Congressional districts have not been immune from consolidation. In 2002, U.S. Reps. Chip Pickering, a Republican, and Ronnie Shows, a Democrat, were forced into the same district when Mississippi lost a U.S. House seat. Pickering won the election. Lawmakers are hoping for a less contentious redistricting process.”
The RSLC is the only national organization whose mission is to elect down ballot state-level Republican office-holders. To sign up for the REDMAP Rundown, or for more information or media inquiries, please contact Adam Temple at 571.480.4891.More