Thursday, December 22, 2011

Redistricting: The bad news

We've been working the redistricting story hard on The People's Business because it's by far the most important government-beat story that voters need to understand, and the commercial media have handled it so badly. Lucy and I have defended the process against the Republicans' campaign to derail it, and we believe that given the complexity of the job, the results have been within spec.
     That doesn't necessarily lead to happy days for everyone, of course, and for those of us in Yavapai County hoping for more competitive elections and more responsible representation, there's only coal in the stocking this year. The AIRC has issued its final maps (tentative pending Justice Dept. approval), which shave off Yavapai's most progressive areas in the Verde and leave us in deep-red districts both legislatively and congressionally.
     The biggest heartburn over the new maps has come where incumbents have found themselves separated from familiar, reliable base voters.  On the legislative side, all three of our current LD1 representatives are safe in the new LD14, so we can look forward to Messrs Tobin and Pierce consolidating their power and continuing as the House and Senate leaders. With the loss of the Verde we have less chance than ever of electing a sensible progressive.
     It's worse on the CD side. With our new CD4 sprawling over a third of the state, one might've thought it could take in a more balanced electorate, but it includes progressive powerhouses like Lake Havasu City, Kingman, Parker, Florence and Colorado City up there in the FLDS reich. It's rumored that we gain a few blues in Carefree, Cave Creek and on the north side of Yuma, including a strong working Hispanic community, but not nearly enough, leaving us with a 27.8% Republican advantage in the district.

The flattop is the perfect metaphor.
     The scariest part right now is the candidate map. CD4 contains no congressional incumbent. Those of you who wanted to be rid of Paul Gosar have got your wish, but not as you hoped. The only known candidate for Congress in this district is state Senator Ron Gould of Lake Havasu City, he of Tea Party and haircut infamy.
     Electing a Democrat in this district is beyond hope, so if we want to have any credible representation in Washington, it's up to my Republican friends to get behind someone more reasonable and competent. And quick!
     If I had anything to say about it, I'd have Ken Bennett out of the Secretary of State's office and in Washington instead. Lacking an unexpected health issue for Governor Brewer, he hasn't a chance at the governor's office till 2014 anyway.

Update, Saturday: I learned today the Pinal Sheriff Paul Babeu  has formed an exploratory committee aimed at this district as well. I'd rather have Gould.