House bill may give Dems 2 more seat, not 1

Lame duck House Judiciary chairman Sensenbrenner, the author of the immigration bill that caused mass protests in the spring, now demands that Utah's legislature go into special session to approve the four-district map Huntsman proposed.

...Sensenbrenner, R-Wisc., says he won't allow a full hearing on a bill to give Utah a fourth seat and the District of Columbia its first vote in Congress until Utah lawmakers have a 'final Utah redistricting plan,'

This plan would make the second district a safe seat for Democrats, signaling the state GOP has given up beating Jim Matheson.  If Jim decides not to play along, it would mean two new Democrats in the House and a net gain of one.  I will explain why and how in extended...

Here's the map:

Huntsman, House Speaker Greg Curtis and Senate President John Valentine - all Republicans - endorsed a map Wednesday for four congressional districts, in which Matheson would represent northern Salt Lake County and Summit and Morgan counties.

Even in that super GOP year of 2002, Jim got 60% from his portion of Salt Lake County, which included the southern, more conservative parts of the county and excluded the western liberal parts.

By "Northern Salt Lake County" they probably mean: Rose Park, West Valley, Magna, Salt Lake City, and a few others...in otherwords, the most Democratic parts of the state. Add to that Park City and Morgan country for fun and you have a super safe Democratic seat. I haven't checked, but I bet if you look at the Utah Democratic Party's 2001 redistricting plan, this district would look awefully similar. Jim proposed a more consolidated district based on areas of interest, not voting patterns in 2001.

And it looks like this plan will be implimented...with absolutely no input from Democrats on Salt Lake's Capitol Hill, of course. "The governor is willing to call a special session, if appropriate," said Gov. Huntsman spokesman Mike Mower.  Here's to hoping it goes off with out a glitch, and Jim runs in the new 3rd or 4th and a good Democratic candidate runs in the new 2nd.

Tags: DC, Gerrymander, GOP, House, Huntsman, Matheson, Redistricting, Sensenbrenner, tom davis (all tags)

Comments

11 Comments

Re: House bill may give Dems 2 more seat, not 1

No, I think the proposed new Utah seat is statewide at-large, isn't it?

by Ament Stone of California 2006-09-26 05:18PM | 0 recs
Re: House bill may give Dems 2 more seat, not 1

No, the latest plan is to make 4 normal districts...this is to ease members concerns of the constitutionality of an at-large district.

by DaveB 2006-09-26 06:34PM | 0 recs
Re: House bill may give Dems 2 more seat, not 1

So what's the rumor mill? If this district map passes the Utah legislature, what are its chances of not being killed in Congress?

by Ament Stone of California 2006-09-26 08:10PM | 0 recs
Re: House bill may give Dems 2 more seat, not 1

According to the Deseret News: "Congress won't act on Utah's proposed fourth seat in the U.S. House of Representatives until after the November election -- and after a special session of the Utah Legislature to approve the new fourth district."

As for the argument that the new 2nd district isn't really a safe seat, UT House Speaker Curtis' admitted "map was drawn to get 'as many Democrats as possible' into Matheson's seat."

by DaveB 2006-09-27 06:49AM | 0 recs
Re: House bill may give Dems 2 more seat, not 1

"We believe the bill's chances during the lame-duck [session] are better than 50-50, and significantly better than that if Utah officials reach agreement on a new map that is satisfactory to all stakeholders," says David Marin, staff director for the Government Reform Committee, headed by the legislation's sponsor, Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va.

by DaveB 2006-09-27 06:52AM | 0 recs
Questions

1. If Jim doesn't play along, then what incentive would the Republican Congress have to pass a bill providing for a lean-Dem seat plus a safe Dem seat?

2. Doesn't Jim live in the proposed 2nd District?

3. Could Jim actually win if he ran in the new 3rd or 4th, which as I understand would be super-super Republican, even more than his current seat, because he would lose northern Salt Lake County and Summit County?

4. Wouldn't that new seat, the proposed 2nd District, not really be a "safe Dem" seat but actually a relatively competitive seat?

by lorax 2006-09-26 08:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Questions

1. No one will know if Jim will play along until AFTER the bill passes or fails...this isn't a lean-dem seat, this is a Matheson-or GOP seat.

2. Jim lives in the new 2nd, but he has time to move and doesn't constitutionally HAVE to live in the district.

3.  Jim's current district doesn't have Summitt County right now, and while he would lose the Avenues, he would gain Taylorsville and other places in Southern SL County that love him.  Washington Co. has grown to love him too.  Carbon Co. loves him.  Iron Co. loves him.  He has some flexibility.

4. The new 2nd would be as safe a Democratic seat as their could be in Utah.  That means that a good moderate Democrat like Peter Carroon could win, but an unpopular liberal like Rocky Anderson would not.

by DaveB 2006-09-27 06:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Questions

thanks

by lorax 2006-09-29 06:20AM | 0 recs
Re: House bill may give Dems 2 more seat, not 1

Do you know the Bush vote in those proposed new 3rd and 4th districts? They're pretty huge - mostly rural, right? I don't see how Matheson wins a ~70% GOP district with no incumbency advantage.

He needs to stay with the voters who know him and hoarde all the Democratic strongholds he can find. We might actually have a prayer of holding that seat after he retires, unlike his current one.

by OfficeOfLife 2006-09-26 09:02PM | 0 recs
Re: House bill may give Dems 2 more seat, not 1

The problem the Republicans have is that most of Utah already knows Jim Matheson.  He's been redistricted once already IIRC, and all it got the Republicans was more people who liked Jim Matheson.

In '04 when I was driving through the southern parts of the state where Matheson was the Rep., signs for him seriously outnumbered signs for the Republican.  Depending on the map, Matheson definitely has a good chance at winning in the new UT-3rd or 4th.  Anyone else, and the GOP wouldn't be so nervous.

by Phoenix Rising 2006-09-26 09:53PM | 0 recs
The most important thing here
    is that the long-suffering residents of DC will finally have a vote in the House of Representatives. For far too long they have experienced taxation without representation in "America's Last Colony". Eleanor Holmes Norton has been standing in the back of the bus as a delegate with no vote.
    This compromise is not as good as DC Statehood because DC will still have no Senators. If the territories of Wyoming and Alaska and county of "Delawhere?" have two Senators each with smaller populations than DC, then why not two for the District.   (Nothing personal against the residents of DE, AK, or WY but really, the US Senate is the least representative legislature this side of the House of Lords. I am speaking as a citizen of a nation of 36 million people that has no more Senators than Wyoming; fewer if you count Cheney.....end of rant)
by Zack from the SFV 2006-09-26 10:35PM | 0 recs

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