Eye On Boise

Redistricters hit apparent partisan impasse over process

Idaho's citizen redistricting commission seems to have reached something of an impasse - it looks like both sides would support one of the five congressional district plans on the commission's short list, but the three Democrats are saying they don't want to vote today on congressional district plans; instead, they want to leave that for the end, and go on and start drawing legislative district maps. "I'm simply not comfortable yet that we have a package yet that I'd be comfortable going to the Secretary of State with," said Democratic Commissioner George Moses, noting that 10 years ago the redistricting commission set both the congressional and legislative district maps on its final day.

"Hopefully we learn from some of their mistakes," said GOP Co-Chairman Evan Frasure. "They ran the clock on this thing and had to go to court three times. ... If you have a winner there, I would certainly like to understand the reasoning why we don't go ahead and vote, get that issue out of the way so we can continue on." He suggested Moses was advocating "somehow holding this one hostage," and GOP Commissioner Lorna Finman asked what reasons there are to delay, other than political ones.

Democratic Commissioner Julie Kane told Frasure, "I think you're mischaracterizing it." She said she comes a long way for these meetings, from Lapwai, and, "When I come down here to do commission business, I want to get it done. I think we're done with congressional maps. ... Let's move forward with the legislative maps. Why not?"

"I guess I don't see the crisis that is generated by not taking a  position or not taking a vote at this time," said Democratic Co-Chairman Allen Andersen. Frasure said, "We've debated for two weeks - we're at decision time." He said to "hold up this whole process and use it as a bargaining chip" would be a "crying shame and a waste of time."

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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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