National

AP analysis indicates Idaho district lines favor Republicans

AP analysis indicates Idaho district lines favor Republicans

Despite a 2010 constitutional amendment aimed at preventing political gerrymandering, Republicans dominate Florida politics. It showed that Ohio provided the GOP with 1.6 extra U.S. House seats, the fifth highest nationally among pro-GOP states, and 5.23 extra seats in the Ohio House, the 12th highest nationally. They said factors other than gerrymandering could have contributed, including shifting political attitudes. Barely one-fourth of the new districts were labeled as competitive between Republicans and Democrats.

The Associated Press used a mathematical formula called the "efficiency gap" to analyze the results of 4,700 state House and Assembly seats up for election past year. The Republican tilt last fall was close to the median amount among all states analyzed. They moved Democratic-performing areas into districts that were safe for Republican or Democratic candidates.

Republicans have controlled the Idaho Legislature for almost six decades, but a national Associated Press analysis shows that the state GOP may have gained even more control last fall with the help of Republican-friendly districts. But, having tried many other excuses, they now favor not being able to control the drawing of congressional and legislative lines as the culprit for their lack of success.

Democrats regained control of Congress and a majority of governorships in 2006 and had veto-proof majorities for a short time after the 2008 election, but the excesses of President Barack Obama again led in 2010 to Republicans picking up 63 seats to win back the U.S. House, a majority of governorships and 680 seats in state legislatures. Yet the congressional delegation has a much more lopsided 10-3 split in favor of Republicans.

Former Republican state Rep. Jeff Kottkamp sat on the House committee that redrew House maps. "It's saying this redistricting process, which everyone knows has a partisan element to it, [has] a point at which someone can get too partisan", he said. "It just wasn't always possible", he said.

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Torr said he plans to reintroduce the bill in the next legislative session ahead of the upcoming redistricting. "Do we want the members of the legislature drawing the maps to pick their constituents, or do we want the voters to pick their representatives?"

"The outcome was already cooked in, if you will, because of the way the districts were drawn", said John McGlennon, a longtime professor of government and public policy at the College of William & Mary in Virginia who ran unsuccessfully for Congress as a Democrat in the 1980s. It requires lawmakers to draw maps that don't benefit incumbents or political parties and to try to keep communities from being divided for political purposes.

"Partisan bias is distorting the composition of the U.S. House, and a handful of states are principally responsible for driving it", the Brennan Center found. Among the legislation passed and signed into law in 2011 was an Assembly map setting the borders of voting districts.

Democrats have long complained that Republican lawmakers drew unfair lines during the 2011 redistricting process, and say the proof is in plain sight. The same has been true for voters in part of Kansas City, where their lone option has been a Democrat.

The AP analysis was based on votes cast for candidates, not party registration, which in Arizona also include a very large number who don't name a party and are considered independents.


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