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Redistricters adjourn until 8 a.m. tomorrow, mount last-ditch effort at plan

Well, it's down to the last-ditch try for Idaho's bipartisan redistricting commission. The panel reconvened at 3 p.m., at which point GOP Commissioner Lou Esposito said, "I think we've been making great progress - I'm encouraged. Of course we need some more time - that's just been the nature of this. So if we could have another couple of hours to let commissioners Finman and Kane continue to work their magic, I would appreciate it." He called for a recess until 5 p.m., but a clearly exhausted GOP Commissioner Evan Frasure said, "We have not had our lunch yet even - we've been working through on these numbers to try to hand back to you in the spirit of compromise - I'm tired of it." His eyes red-rimmed, Frasure proposed adjourning until tomorrow, rather than bring the staff back today at 5. The rest of the commission agreed, and they're now adjourned until 8 a.m. Their drop-dead deadline to have a plan is 5 p.m. tomorrow.

Esposito said afterward that GOP Commissioner Lorna Finman and Democratic Commissioner Julie Kane have been working with Frasure and Democratic Commissioner Allen Andersen on district lines for eastern Idaho, and the two women are nearly done with North Idaho districts. "I just received another map on Ada County," Esposito said. "It doesn't appear there's been any movement there, but we'll see. Everybody's tired. We're putting our trust in Commissioners Finman and Kane."

Finman said, "We're trying. It's kind of fragile. We're giving it our best shot." Kane said, "I just think it's good that we're making progress. I don't want to be too optimistic, but I think we're working hard. I'm hopeful - I've been hopeful throughout the process."

Asked if there's really any chance at this point that the commission could make tomorrow's 5 p.m. deadline, Andersen said, "I think it can be, if they are truly willing to do what they're going to have to do to put this all together, instead of keep talking." If the commission fails, the ball likely would be kicked to the Idaho Supreme Court - which likely would kick it back to the commission, ordering it back to work.

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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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