Eye On Boise

Redistricting: GOP plan makes waves...

Over in Boise, the redistricting commission met again this afternoon; read Dan Popkey's wrapup here of the Democratic critique of the new GOP redistricting plan, L-34; and his coverage here from Monday, the day the plan was introduced, which notes that eight moderate GOP senators who voted against state schools Supt. Tom Luna's "Students Come First" education reforms this year would face other incumbents if they want to keep their seats.

I asked GOP Commissioner Lou Esposito, who proposed the plan, what it accomplishes, and here's his response:

"The plan follows the constitutional mandates, statutory guidelines and court rulings. I built the plan based on the public testimony and the recognition that it was our job to present a plan that served all the citizens of the state. I looked at the impact on incumbents after the plan was completed. The number of county splits was the secondary consideration. The deviation of my plan is 7.64, a 2.22 gain over L28. This one person one vote improvement came at the expense of 5 additional county splits. I avoided making any connecting road and precinct splits, since they require a 5 vote majority. In summary, I believed following all the laws, public testimony and a smaller deviation was the best and most defensible approach, as opposed to a singular focus on the number of county splits."

I also asked Democratic Commissioner George Moses, who proposed the Democratic plan, L-28, for his response to the new GOP plan; here it is:

"My initial reaction is that their plan cuts far too many counties, and so is probably constitutionally insufficient.  As for the number of incumbents pitted against each other, that mostly is irrelevant.  Our job is to draw good, fair districts where voters have a fair opportunity to pick their representation."

The redistricting commission is scheduled to meet again all day Wednesday, Friday and Saturday this week; you can watch live here. You can also see archived video and audio here from all of the commission's previous meetings and public hearings.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

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