It is possible, as the League of Women Voters has proven, to draw redistricting maps that are truly based on “just math.” You ignore incumbents and draw the districts based purely on population and rules about compactness and not splitting counties.
But, it is also possible to use that same math and combine it with partisanship, and produce maps that are relatively legal (or perhaps not), but also partisan. And, it is possible to defend those maps as based on “just math” – but in reality, you used the math to enable your partisan goals.
Repubs in Frankfort keep saying that there was no partisan intent in the way they drew their maps, and they based the maps on “just math.” But an activist in Louisville pulled together the results of the new maps, and it is clear that Republicans in Frankfort used the redistricting process to hurt Democrats (specifically, Democratic women) and help Republicans.
Here’s the list:
Louisville Democrats harmed or affected by the House map
- Josie Raymond & Mary Lou Marzian – moved both of them out of their current districts and into a new one, so they have to run against each other
- McKenzie Cantrell & Lisa Willner – moved Cantrell out of her current district and into Willner’s, so they have to run against each other
- Pamela Stevenson – moved several declared candidates from other districts into hers
- Tina Bojanowski – took away half of her current district and gave her new precincts that are actually more Democratic. thus “packing” her district and making surrounding districts less Democratic
- Joni Jenkins – moved a declared candidate for another district into her district
- Jeff Donohue – took away half of his current district (the Dem leaning part) and gave him more precincts from Bullitt County (the Republican-leaning ones), thus making his seat more Republican than it was
- Al Gentry – took away all but 9 of his current precincts and gave him 25 new ones
- Empty districts – the Repub map left a number of districts without a known candidate and only a few weeks to file. Did the Republicans line up candidates for these districts ahead of the release of the maps, while keeping the Dems in the dark?
Republicans helped by the House map
- Kevin Bratcher – moved his declared Democratic candidate out of his new district
- Jason Nemes – took away some Jefferson County precincts that were more Dem-friendly, gave him more of Oldham County, thus making his seat more Republican
- Ken Fleming – took away the Democratic-leaning precincts in his district, and replaced them with precincts that are more Republican
Consider these lists, then answer this question: Think there was no “partisan intent” in the Republican House map?
Yeah, me neither.
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