Senate Again Comes Through For GOP
Once again, Senate Republicans held off a Democratic effort to push forward with the House Democrats redistricting map. Just last night, Republicans weren’t certain with how the vote would go today, but it obviously went in their direction twice today: once on a procedural challenge and then again when deciding to go home. Similar votes were cast a few weeks ago when the Senate voted to Invite Conference.
And the Senate leadership, including Phil Bryant and Billy Hewes- who also just happen to be running for higher office, will again be able to tell primary voters about their work in the Senate in killing the highly unpopular maps. Bryant, specifically, has had his share of mistakes and unforced errors during the process, but the Senate delivered when it counted.
What happens next is anyone’s guess. There are several likely scenarios (although nothing likely ever seems to happen in this process).
The governor could call a special session. We have heard very little talk on this and quite frankly there is no need to if the House won’t negotiate an inch.
Having a three-judge federal panel draw the lines appears to be the most likely scenario. But the question is whether or not they will draws the new lines for this fall, or if legislators will run in the old districts this fall and then run again in 2012.
One other point is that the state Constitution gives the legislature 12 months to complete this process; so is within the Constitution to handle this by February, 2012. We may not get to that point, but it would certainly be an appealing scenario for Republicans should they get a friendly Speaker following the November elections.
Lastly, Democrats were obviously adamant about passing their House map and avoiding courts at all costs. Why? Because they know they can do no better than the maps they drew up and, at the same time, they know Republicans can do no worse.