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Early Look At The House Proposal

March 3, 2011
tags: redistricting
by Brett

I am trying not to get too carried away with a proposal that is just that- a proposal- but here are some early thoughts on the House redistricting plan.

** This was very much an incumbent protection plan. I have heard from countless Republicans (outside the legislature) who are angry with House Republicans supporting this, at least initially. They may back away from this; I don’t know.

** Several Republicans saw their seats shored up under the plan (which is why they supported it). The BVAP of seats held by Reps. Greg Snowden and Sid Bondurant was greatly reduced. These are two of the more extreme examples because they were both right at 40 percent BVAP, but we saw this in other cases as well.

** The Republican Party certainly doesn’t seem in love with this plan issuing a pretty strong statement saying that this shouldn’t be decided on in 24 hours and that other proposals should be reviewed. Here is their entire statement.

** The number of majority minority districts increased from 39 to 44. Three of the new majority black districts (25, 28, 71) are currently held by a Democrat so there is no gain there for the Democratic Party. (Of note, Rep. John Mayo was potentially vulnerable under his previous district lines. He is no longer vulnerable to a Republican challenge but possibly to a challenge from a black Democrat).

** Two of the new majority minority districts were held by Republicans. HD 73 is currently held by Rep. Jim Ellington; but that district has now been collapsed and he has nowhere to run. With the shifting demographics, not a whole lot that could be done. HD 84 is held by Rep. Tad Campbell, who is retiring, but will now likely be picked up a Democrat. So that is two Republican held seats going to the Democrats.

** Another interesting point on the majority minority districts is that under the current plan just three of those have a black population of between 50.1 and 59.9 percent. The current proposal would up that number to eight. That shows me the Democrats have wisely spread the black vote around. It will be interesting to see if the Black Caucus is okay with lowering the percentages in a number of cases.

** Speaking of the black vote, in one very key district- House District 111- the BVAP would increase from 13.5 percent to 29 percent. This is the seat held by Rep. Brandon Jones (he won by 11 votes in 2007) and is currently a top target for House Republicans.

** Among other potentially competitive seats, here are BVAP changes: HD 10 (held by Rep. Warner McBride) has increased from 21 percent to 29 percent; HD 45 (held by Rep. Bennett Malone) has increased from 30 to 36 percent

** While Representatives in the Delta will see a number of changes to their districts it doesn’t look the region that is shedding population at an unbelievable rate will lose any seats.

** There are two “new” seats in fast-growing Desoto county. One will be HD 35, which is a seat currently held by Rep. Dannie Reed (of Ackerman) who is vacating the seat to run for statewide office. He is a Republican and the new Desoto seat will be filled by a Republican; so no gain there for the GOP. The other new Desoto seat is HD 48, currently held by Rep. Mary Ann Stevens, a conservative Democrat. So this will be a pickup for the GOP but won’t affect the total votes against Billy McCoy. That means two new seats in Desoto county will effectively net the GOP nothing (in the quest to defeat McCoy).

** Speaking of Rep. Stevens, she will be forced into an election with Rep. Ferr Smith in HD 27. This district is now around 63 percent BVAP, and Smith would likely have the upper hand leaving Stevens out to dry (which is a very easy move for McCoy).

2 Comments leave one →
  1. BigSkyBob permalink
    March 4, 2011 1:01 am

    The principle of “one man, one vote” calls for districts that are as equal in population as practical. The ’5% variation allowed’ is for states such as New Jersey that keep whole towns togeather. This map respects absolutely no such boundries, not county lines, not city boundries, nor precincts. Since no such restraits necessitate population variances there is no legal justification for any variation from mathematical equality between districts.

    By my count, 32 of the 44 majority Black districts were underpopulated. This isn’t an accident, it is systematic malapportionment. The residents of those districts are entitled to 43, not 44 districts, the extra district being taken from the rest of state .025 at a time.

    This map simply should not be taken seriously.

  2. Republican Dawg permalink
    March 4, 2011 1:08 pm

    Thanks for getting the word out on what is really in this plan. Wish more people would know and pay attention and get the phones lines ringing off the hook at the capitol.

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