State Capitol News
Tue January 17, 2012
Redistricting Commission Approves Final Maps
The Independent Redistricting Commission gave final approved today to the maps that will govern state politics for the coming decade. But Republicans on the panel say the maps are rigged to advantage Democrats.
On paper, the commission says it created 16 Republican legislative districts, 10 that lean Democrat and four competitive. On the congressional side, the breakdown -- at least officially -- is four GOP districts, two for Democrats and three competitive. But Republican commissioner Scott Freeman said that's a lie. He specifically cited the new 9th Congressional district carved out of central Maricopa County which is billed as competitive.
"That district," said Freeman, "would have elected Terry Goddard as governor -- and keep in mind Republicans won all the statewide races in 2010 -- it would have elected Felecia Rotellini as the attorney general. And in 2008, when Arizona had its own senator running for president as the Republican nominee, it would have elected Barack Obama."
And Freeman said the 1st Congressional District, which had been competitive, is now so skewed that incumbent Republican Paul Gosar has decided to move into another district.
But Democrat Jose Herrera said he does not see that bias. In fact, he said the only reason the Democrats got as many districts as they did was because the federal Voting Rights Act prohibits the state from diluting minority voting strength.
"I thank God for the Voting Rights Act," he said, "or we probably wouldn't have any (Democratic Districts). And then we have four competitive districts. If somebody could explain to me how these are Democratic maps, I will apologize."
The possibility remains someone unhappy with the lines could sue.