The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


March 23, 2013

GOP gerrymandering aolidifies control of House


Republicans exploited their advantages in Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and other states.

Michigan provides one of the best illustrations of how demographic shifts and gerrymandering combined to give Republicans the upper hand.

They swept all three branches of state government in 2010 to seize control of redistricting. At the same time, Michigan's House delegation needed to shrink to 14 members from 15 because of population losses recorded in the 2010 Census.

The result in the 2012 elections: Republicans won nine of 14 House seats, even though Obama carried the state by more than 9 percentage points and the combined vote for Democratic House candidates totaled about 2.3 million compared to 2.1 million for the Republicans.

Michigan's five Democratic House members each won with at least 61 percent of the vote, and two got more than 82 percent in districts that include portions of Detroit, the state's largest city that is 82 percent black and 7 percent Hispanic.

Only three of the state's nine Republicans in the House topped 60 percent of their district vote. Five of them received less than 55 percent.

A district should have a spread of no more than five percentage points between Democratic and Republican voters to be competitive, said Jocelyn Benson, a voting rights advocate and interim dean of Wayne State University's Law School in Detroit.

In 2012, only one Michigan district met that standard. Republican Dan Benishek won a second term in it with 48.1 percent of the vote compared to 47.6 percent for his Democratic opponent. The largely rural district encompasses the state's northern-most areas, including the Upper Peninsula.

One district in which Democratic voters dominate comprises a swath of Detroit's north suburbs and is represented by Sander Levin, a 16-term Democrat and the brother of one of the state's senators, Carl Levin. Sander Levin, 81, won re-election in November with 61.9 percent of the vote.

Text Only
  • With 1 week to go, Sanford subject of attacks

    CHARLESTON, S.C. — Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford can’t seem to escape attacks on the extramarital affair that derailed his political career, which he hopes to revive in a special congressional election that is now a week away.

    May 1, 2013

  • Bombing shifts Mass. Senate race before primaries

    BOSTON — Even before the explosions, polling suggested that Massachusetts voters weren’t excited about the looming special election to replace former U.S. Sen. John Kerry.

    April 28, 2013

  • In a first, black voter turnout rate passes whites

    WASHINGTON — America’s blacks voted at a higher rate than other minority groups in 2012 and by most measures surpassed the white turnout for the first time, reflecting a deeply polarized presidential election in which blacks strongly supported Barack Obama while many whites stayed home.

    April 28, 2013

  • Senate Democrats put off vote on Labor nominee

    WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats have delayed a confirmation vote on Labor Secretary-nominee Thomas Perez after Republicans threatened to use a separate hearing to criticize his handling of a whistleblower case.

    April 24, 2013

  • Sen. Baucus' decision to retire sets stage for majorlegislative changes

     Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., one of the most influential congressional figures of his era, announced his intention Tuesday to retire, a move that could produce sweeping changes in the political and legislative landscape over the next two years.

    April 24, 2013

  • Senate friendship born of tragedy beat partisanship

    These days, most dispatches from Washington focus on petty partisanship, posturing, impasses and a political culture that rewards confrontation.

    April 22, 2013

  • Rubio rising

    If Marco Rubio helps pass comprehensive immigration reform, he will have accomplished more as a senator than Barack Obama did.

    April 22, 2013

  • Gun Bill's Failure May Help Immigration Legislation

    WASHINGTON — Here's an odd political reality: The collapse of the gun bill in the Senate last week may well make the passage of immigration reform legislation slightly easier.

    April 21, 2013

  • Senate Planning Vote on Internet Sales Tax

    WASHINGTON — The days of tax-free online shopping could finally be numbered.

    April 21, 2013

  • Advocates of Immigration Reform Fight Back Against Push for Delay

    WASHINGTON — The Senate's leading supporters of overhauling the nation's immigration system sought Sunday to blunt a conservative effort to slow the pace of debate over their bill, saying the Boston Marathon bombings are a reason to move quickly to make changes.

    April 21, 2013

Featured Ads
Politics Video