Utah Redistricting UPDATE!

(Cross posted on the Third Avenue)

As expected, the Republican-controlled committee assigned with the task of drawing a 4-seat map for Utah released proposed maps when they were sure no one was looking--the day before Thanksgiving.

I will show you what they don't want the public to see in the extended entry.


(Graphic credit: Salt Lake Tribune. For more detail, click on this PDF by the paper.)

All four plans share common elements.  Sandy, parts of West Jordan, and most of Southern Salt Lake County not be part of the new 2nd district.  Proposals I and J include Park City into the 2nd district.  Davis and Weber Counties remain the "heart" of the redrawn 1st, although Proposal A gives the new 2nd district a tiny piece of Bountiful.  All but Proposal G place Southern Salt Lake County in the new 4th District,  and even then G places half in the new 4th and half in the new 3rd.  

So which map would be the best for Democrats?  Proposals A and G would allow Jim Matheson to run in the new 4th district and allow a Peter Carroon-type Democrat to run in the new 2nd district.  Proposals I and J would be more difficult for Jim to run in their 4ths because of the inclusion of Washington County (St. George).  Similarly, Jim would have a tough time running in their new 3rds because the parts of Salt Lake County, along with Carbon and San Juan (Moab) Counties would some how have to overcome Utah County (Provo).  Thus, if I or J are adopted, I would expect Jim to stay in the 2nd district.  But if A or G passed, I would press Jim to run in the new 4th and find a suitable Democratic candidate for the new 2nd.  

Here are the redistricting hearing times and locations.  If you live nearby, please attend. (Graphic credit: Deseret News)

So what are the chances of each proposal? The Deseret News gives us the scoop:

Senate Republicans, however, have insisted that the 2001 proposal known as "Plan A" continue to be considered. The committee's other two proposals, "Plan I" and "Plan J," were put together behind closed doors during a break in Tuesday's meeting.
...
The committee rejected a proposal by the minority Democrats, "Plan G," that would have created two largely urban districts from most of Salt Lake and Utah counties and two largely rural districts from the rest of the state.
      "This really is a snapshot of what the state is," said Senate Minority Whip Gene Davis, D-Salt Lake. But Republicans disagreed, arguing that the state is better served when all members of Congress represent rural constituents.

Rep. Jackie Biskupski, D-Salt Lake City, stormed out of a meeting after G lost according to the Salt Lake Tribune"They always say they want input from the Democrats. Why have Democrats on the committee if you are going to ignore what we have to say?" "The governor said this was going to be a fair and nonpartisan process or he would use his veto," Biskupski said. ''He can't pretend this was nonpartisan.''

"If you are going to take three plans on the road for public hearings that are the same and not include the option from the minority party, it's obviously a partisan process," Biskupski said. Newsflash! Redistricting is a partisan political process, News at 10.  Even though no political affiliation data was inputed into the mapping program, everyone on that committee knows where Democrats do well, where Jim's base of support is, and where Republicans do well.  Let's not kid ourselves with this "non-partisan process" crap.

The interesting thing will be if Biskupski is correct and Huntsman indeed vetoes ones of these other plans for being overtly partisan.  

Tags: 4th seat, At large, Bush, Constitutionality, DC, Democrats, GOP, Huntsman, lame duck congress, Matheson, Redistricting, Republicans, Sensenbrenner, Taxation without representation, Utah (all tags)

Comments

15 Comments

Re: Utah Redistricting UPDATE!

A better question can this even be done without admending the us constitution?

by orin76 2006-11-22 12:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Utah Redistricting UPDATE!

The number of Representatives is set by statute, not by the Constitution.  And if there were 437 Representatives, with D.C. given one Representative, Utah would be the state that would gain the extra Representative.

So this looks to be as legal as church on Sunday.  But for reasons I've given here, I think the Dems should hold off until 2009 on this.

by RT 2006-11-22 04:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Utah Redistricting UPDATE!

agreed.  there are a couple things making this constitutional: 1) Congress pretty much has free reign over DC, the courts never have overturned legislation governing DC; 2) Congress is the sole judge of elections, so they could seat Jennings in FL-13 and Norton in DC if they want to.

by DaveB 2006-11-23 07:31AM | 0 recs
Why does Utah need to redistrict?

Why is Illinois not redistricting or the other states Dems control?

-pm

by prasen9 2006-11-22 04:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Why does Utah need to redistrict?

those Dem controlled states decided that reredistricting was a bad idea, and it undercut the argument made in the supreme court that the texas scheme was unconstitutional.  plus, texas was harmed by DeLay's scheme because all of its senior democrats lost and now the state has no power.  so these other states don't want to lose their seniority in the important committees.

by DaveB 2006-11-23 07:33AM | 0 recs
Seniority not an issue now that Dems in majority

Eliminating minority Republicans like Kirk or Weller would not hurt Illinois in seniority. In fact, it would help the Democrats maintain their House majority, as they are almost certainly going to lose a few of our new deep-red seats in 2008.

by OfficeOfLife 2006-11-25 12:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Utah Redistricting UPDATE!

no the question is can you give dc representation without amending the constitution

by orin76 2006-11-22 06:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Utah Redistricting UPDATE!

I hope they figure this out in a way that protects Matthison's seat soon because this may be the best way to get DC a vote in Congress for a while.  Is the Dem seat in Utah in Jeopardy in any of these plans?  

by MichaelC 2006-11-22 10:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Utah Redistricting UPDATE!

Oh, that's the beauty of this whole thing from the Republican point of view. First, they get the extra seat in Utah to make up for the Dem one in DC. But the DC seat is obviously unconstitutional, so the Dems would lose that one. Plus, the redistricting will put Matheson at risk, potentially costing the Democrats another seat. So the Repubs would likely gain two seats in this scenario. Honestly, any Democrats that are falling for this scheme really are a bunch of maroons.

by taliesin 2006-11-22 10:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Utah Redistricting UPDATE!

I am glad neither of you read my diary.  Under all four plans Matheson would be safe in Utah's 2nd.  However, he could stretch and run in another seat so that Dems would pick up a seat in Utah under the A or G plan.  It seems that since the Democrats offered G, that plan is dead.  However, A might still be alive and who knows if Huntsman will intervene again to make a more A or G like plan.

The only question is whether the Davis bill will be neutral (i.e. each side gets another seat) or if Matheson stretches and gives the Democrats a net 1 seat pick up.

Again, I doubt that the DC seat would be deemed unconstitutional.  Congress gets to set all laws governing DC and they get to determine who is qualified and elected to the House and Senate.  Those two provisions to me say that DC can vote in the House.  But because DC is not a state, don't see how they can get a vote in the senate, unless congress passes a law that DC is a state for purposes of the senate.  

A better solution would be to let DC voters vote for MD's senate seat, and less likely to get senators upset and do little to change the status quo (except ensure that Dems will hold both senate seats into the indefinate future).

by DaveB 2006-11-23 07:41AM | 0 recs
Nonseverability

Section 7 of the bill (HR 5388) currently reads "If any provision of this Act or any amendment made by this Act is held invalid, the remaining provisions of this Act or any amendment made by this Act shall be treated as invalid."

I seriously doubt those tricksy Republicans are going to fool the Democrats into removing that provision.

by KCinDC 2006-11-24 04:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Utah Redistricting UPDATE!

I did read your diary!  Thanks for clearing a couple things up:)

by MichaelC 2006-11-23 08:50AM | 0 recs
Utah and DC
     This looks like one of those 19th century compromises where a new state would only be admitted  if another one was also. Back then it was free and slave states; now it is red and blue districts.
     This deal should be contingent on the DC seat not being held unconstitutional: a strict nonseverability clause. Otherwise some rightwing legal foundation will sue to overturn the DC seat and Utah will still have theirs. This still doesn't solve the problems of the ridiculously undemocratic nature of the U.S. Senate. D.C. is just as deserving  to have two Senators as Wyoming or some other lightly populated states. The only difference is that D.C.'s population are urban Black folks rather than rural white folks. This compromise is only a temporary step towards full representation for the citizens of the District.
     The Senate is the least representative legislative body this side of the House of Lords, but at least another small urban state would provide a bit more balance. I strongly resent that my overpopulated nation-state has no more voice in the Senate than AK or WY; if we could vote for independence I would say goodbye to the old U.S.A. without hesitation.  We wouldn't even have to change our flag; since it is a relic of the short-lived Bear Flag Republic it already says "California Republic" on it rather than "State of CA"...
by Zack from the SFV 2006-11-23 12:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Utah Redistricting UPDATE!

I am no expert on Utah politics, but I believe the current 3 district map was a GOP gerrymander to defeat Matheson.  Fortunately, he won anyway.  I do not know whether they could make it any tougher on him.  They would probably be wise to pack the Democrats into one safe JM seat and rid themselves of competition elsewhere.

by Francis Vecellio 2006-11-23 01:07PM | 0 recs
I guess my map is off the table

Having only 3 split counties is negated by creating a huge 4th district.

The Utahn Republicans are delusional if they seriously want rural areas in all or most of the districts. Half of Utah's population is in 3 counties.

And "The Big District" wouldn't be the reddest either. The green district includes Utah County (86/12 Bush), Cache County (82/16 Bush), Box Elder County (86/12 Bush).

In fact, it'd take a favorable split of Weber county to move Bush's winning percentage below 80%.

(As for the split counties.. Salt Lake goes 558292 in the 2nd, 340095 in the 1st. Davis is 218198 in the 1st and 20796 in the 4th. Weber is 181648 in the 4th and 14885 in the 3rd.)

And geez, imagine the weird district if you wanted to create a Utah district that Kerry won.

by RBH 2006-11-24 08:35AM | 0 recs

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