Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Works for me

Red Hat Rob points out that the new Republican controlled Tennessee legislature doesn't have to wait until 2011 and another election cycle to redistrict the state:

The state constitution requires that districts be re-drawn after each Federal Census, but the constitution specifically reserves to the legislature the right to re-district at any time: (snip)

Incidentally, the current district scheme appears to violate the state constitution which prohibits a multi-county house district if it is carved out of parts of 2 counties. Wherever possible, house districts are supposed to respect county boundaries - a very reasonable prescription intended to check the temptation to gerrymander.
Republicans might want to strike while the iron is hot. The Democrats left a huge mess to clean up. It's going to take as many Republicans as possible to get things in order and set a better course. The Democrats are going to whine and moan about everything next session anyway...might as well pile it on and get as much done as possible as quickly as possible.


N.S. Allen said...

Of course, it's highly unlikely that any plans to redistrict would be "neutral." After all, if a party has the votes to lay down a neutral districting plan, why wouldn't they take things a step farther and set up a re-gerrymandered one? They have little to gain, politically, from being saintly and fair, on this issue.

Which is fine, I suppose, if you're a Republican. Gerrymandering's a bipartisan fact of American political life, and it would be so difficult to fairly deal with it that one can hardly be productively angry about it.

That being said, one would think that, during an economic downturn in which TN is hardly thriving, a new majority supposedly voted in to shake things up would have more important things to shake than the district map.

And that, I guess, will be the biggest political consideration for newly elected Republicans - do they think that their own district will be "improved" enough for them that it will outweigh any damage that taking on an early redistricting at this point could do to them?

Re-districting's such an impotent issue that I'd suspect that the answer for most of them, right or not, will be "yes." But I wouldn't be shocked if one or two from traditionally Democratic seats got nervous, and, with the Republicans' slim majority, that could be problematic for them.

Nashteach said...

I'll bet the Republicans gain seats in 2010 either way. After two national elections good for Dems, the GOP's bound to gain some seats soon, and it'll be seen best in those states that trended GOP this time. Though it does seem like it'd be a better strategy to attribute the gains to voter sentiment rather than district borders. But whatever. If it's fair game, the state Dems certainly set the precedent. Thanks for the legacy, Jimmy.

Mr Turnbow said...

I don't know I kind of agree with Nashteach. All the trends point toward another good year for the Tennessee GOP in 2010. Senator Finney in Jackson will face a tough challenge either way. Lamar and McCain won all 3 counties in his district. But if you removed Gibson and replaced it with Henderson County. You would pretty much turn out the lights on him. Steve McDaniel,Vance Dennis and Eldridge are all pretty safe in the rural areas of the west state in their current districts. Dr Hensley though would need some work done on his district if they redistrict next year. State Rep Curtis Halford is another one that would need a little help. The real screaming from the democrats though would come on those congressional seats. Im sure they would put on one heck of a show if the GOP does that next year.