Eye On Boise

Some Dems would have to fight to keep seats under Democratic redistricting plan

Proposed legislative district plan from Democratic redistricting Commissioner George Moses, numbered plan L-28
Proposed legislative district plan from Democratic redistricting Commissioner George Moses, numbered plan L-28

The legislative redistricting plan proposed by Democratic Commissioner George Moses, introduced last week, focuses in many areas on keeping counties, cities and school districts intact within newly designed legislative districts. The impact on currently serving lawmakers? Only eight of the 35 districts would force face-offs among incumbents. And among those sitting lawmakers who would have to run against other incumbents to continue to serve are a number of Democratic lawmakers.

Here's the breakout for the plan, L-28: In the proposed new District 1, there would be two sitting state senators: GOP Sens. Shawn Keough of Sandpoint and Joyce Broadsword of Sagle, meaning they'd have to face off in a primary if both wanted to remain in office. In the proposed new District 6, there would be just one sitting senator, Sen. Dan Schmidt, D-Lewiston, but three House members for the two seats: Reps. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries; Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow; and Tom Trail, R-Moscow. In the proposed new District 8, once again there would be just one sitting senator - Sen. Monty Pearce, R-New Plymouth - but three sitting representatives: Reps. Judy Boyle, R-Midvale; House Speaker Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale; and GOP Caucus Chairman Ken Roberts, R-Donnelly.

In the proposed new District 19, there are two sitting senators: Sens. John Andreason, R-Boise, and Les Bock, D-Boise. There are also three sitting representatives: Reps. Max Black, R-Boise; Grant Burgoyne, D-Boise; and Elfreda Higgins, D-Boise. (The current District 19 would be the new District 20, and would include all three of its current incumbents.) In the proposed new District 21, three sitting state representatives would face off for two seats: Democratic Reps. Sue Chew and Bill Killen, and GOP Rep. Lynn Luker.

In the proposed new District 23, two GOP representatives who currently serve the same district, Reps. Pete Nielsen of Mountain Home and Rich Wills of Grand View, would have Challis Rep. Lenore Barrett join them to vie for the two seats there. That's because this district would combine a swath of central Idaho, including Lemhi, Custer, Boise and Elmore counties. In the proposed new District 25, there would be one sitting senator, Republican Lee Heider of Twin Falls, but three sitting House members: Republicans Sharon Block, Stephen Hartgen, and Leon Smith, all of Twin Falls.

And finally, in the proposed new District 27, two senior senators, Sens. Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, and Denton Darrington, R-Declo, would vie for the same seat if both want to stay in office; while three sitting Republican representatives would vie for the two House seats: Reps. Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, the assistant majority leader; Bert Stevenson, R-Rupert, the chairman of the Resources Committee; and Fred Wood, R-Burley, a member of the joint budget committee and a retired physician.

The plan would create two open House seats and one open Senate seat in Canyon County; the same number in Ada County; and one open House seat in the new District 35 in eastern Idaho, where Barrett would no longer be in a district that instead would include all of Fremont, Jefferson, Clark and Butte counties. "This plan is as fair as we can make it within the structure retired by the Idaho Constitution," Democratic redistricting commissioners wrote in their plan.

The bipartisan citizen redistricting commission meets at 10 a.m. on Monday; its agenda includes "further review of congressional plans and possible consideration of legislative plans." You can listen live here.


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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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