House Members Affected By Redistricting
With the news that the 2011 legislative elections will take place under the current districts, we do have a number of changes worth mentioning compared to life under the Reynolds map.
I would argue the biggest winner of all is Mary Ann Stevens. The conservative Democrat saw her district collapsed and would have been matched up with Rep. Ferr Smith in a strong black majority district that she had little chance of winning. I don’t believe she would have run. Her old district, HD 48, is still around and she is the only person to have qualified. The BVAP is in the upper 40s and that is unchanged from 10 years ago.
Another incumbent who saw their district collapsed was Jim Ellington. However, he has to run in a district that has a BVAP in the upper 40s compared with about 25 percent a decade ago. Not a great district for a Republican, but I suppose it’s better than having no district at all. He also has no challenger. The other Jackson area Republican in the House, Bill Denny, is going to run in a district that is near 40 percent black. He was shored up some under the Reynolds map, but now faces a Democratic challenge from Dorsey Carson.
Also among Republicans, Sid Bondurant and Greg Snowden will be running in districts with a BVAP significantly higher than under the Reynolds map.
Democrats John Mayo and David Norquist will likely be better off under the old maps. They saw their districts become majority black, something they are not under current drawings. However, for Mayo, he does have a Republican challenger in his district that strongly favored Haley Barbour four years ago.
Democrats Harvey Moss, Bennett Malone, Tracy Arinder (who subsequently retired), Dirk Dedeaux and Diane Peranich (and potentially others) were able to draw their Republican challengers out of their districts so they would potentially have no competition at all. By running under the old maps, they will now have a general election challenger, some more competitive than others.
Democrat Brandon Jones saw significant changes made to his district to increase the BVAP under the Reynolds map which would have certainly made his district more Democratic. Not so anymore.
Among open seat changes, HD 35, a Republican seat, was sent the Choctaw/ Webster county area to Desoto so no changes would have occurred there. However, HD 84, a Republican seat would have been converted to a majority-black district taking it out of the GOP’s hands.
Across the board with Republicans I have spoken with, the GOP is much better off under the old districts and is a very good position following the ruling.