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Eye On Boise

New GOP redistricting plan spells possible trouble for a third of incumbents


GOP Redistricting Commissioner Lou Esposito introduced his proposed legislative redistricting plan this morning, L-34; you can see the details here. Among the features of this new plan: A new District 35 would combine all of Blaine County with Butte, Camas, Clark, Custer, Lemhi and Lincoln counties; a new District 5 would combine all of Benewah and Shoshone counties with part of Kootenai and part of Latah County; that new district would have five sitting representatives to vie for its two seats: Reps. Tom Trail, R-Moscow; Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow; Marge Chadderdon, R-Coeur d'Alene; Shannon McMillan, R-Silverton; and Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries.

Like the Democratic plan introduced earlier by Commissioner George Moses, the new GOP plan would force face-offs in the primary by GOP Sens. Shawn Keough and Joyce Broadsword; by longtime GOP Sens. Dean Cameron and Denton Darrington; would have three GOP representatives, Bert Stevenson, Fred Wood and Scott Bedke, vying for two seats in one district, the new District 26; and would mean Sen. Les Bock, D-Boise, would face Sen. John Andreason, R-Boise.

But there's more: As much as a third of the Legislature's current members could face potentially face competition from other incumbents to keep their seats. The GOP plan would mean GOP Sens. John McGee of Caldwell and Patti Anne Lodge of Huston would have to face off in the primary if both wanted to stay in office. Sen. Joe Stegner, R-Lewiston, would face freshman Sen. Dan Schmidt, D-Lewiston in a new District 6. And GOP Sens. Steve Bair and Bart Davis would have to face off if both wanted to keep their seats, as would GOP Sens. Tim Corder and Bert Brackett.

In addition, three Democratic representatives, Reps. Bill Killen, Sue Chew and Phyllis King, would vie for two seats in a Boise district, the new District 19; three Republicans, Reps. Rich Wills, Pete Nielsen and Jim Patrick, and Democratic Rep. Donna Pence would vie for two seats in the new District 23; GOP Reps. Ken Andrus, Jim Guthrie and Marc Gibbs would face off for two seats in the new District 28; and in the new District 32, GOP Reps. Janice McGeachin, Erik Simpson and JoAn Wood would vie for two seats.

For more on the Democratic legislative district plan, L-28, see my Sunday column here.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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