Legislators Will Run Under Old Districts
Earlier today, the special three judge panel ruled that 2011 legislative elections should be run under the old (2002) districts. The judges had earlier said they were inclined to impose the Reynolds and Burton maps that passed each chamber separately, but not both as a joint resolution. I have spent the past few months trying to gauge the competitive races, and few things change completely with this, but it is nice to have clarification.
Here are some thoughts:
1) June 1 will be here very soon. That is, of course, the deadline to qualify for legislative office. So candidates who may have been waiting for final word have two weeks to get their papers in. If the candidates are ready, two weeks is plenty of time but if you are just now looking for a candidate in a particular race the task is a little more difficult.
2) We will likely begin hearing formal re-election decisions from those who have yet to make one. Longtime Democratic legislators like Diane Peranich and Johnny Stringer have yet to make their plans public, but the big name we continue to wait for is Billy McCoy. More on him in a second.
3) As we debate which party is better under this decision, you would have to think Republicans are in the House (as it was the Democrats who drew the maps to favor incumbents). Could this affect McCoy’s decision? We don’t know who is going to capture the major this fall, but you can bet McCoy doesn’t want to spend much time sitting on the back bench in the minority. After this ruling, it is fair to say that McCoy’s chance at capturing a third term as Speaker went down.
4) As for the Senate, the old districts should favor Democrats compared to Republicans under the Burton map. Some conservatives may have been angry with some aspects of the map, but Republicans mainly saw their seats shored up. Using 2010 Census figures for the old districts, Republicans have a number of seats where the BVAP is a little too high. But, there are few challengers to Republicans in the Senate. That could change, but again, time is running out.
5) Legislators will get another crack at redistricting during the 2012 session. Of course we don’t know what the leadership of either chamber will look like at that time.
We will have some specifics on legislators and candidates who are most affected by this decision later on.