The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Politics

March 23, 2013

Ending redistricting politics ousts California's life incumbents

(Continued)

The consistent partisan outcome in California House races that lasted for decades wasn't an accident.

In 2001, the state's House delegation — the Democrats and Republicans serving in Congress — brokered an agreement to draw boundaries that would protect their existing partisan split, recalled Tom Davis, a former Virginia representative who led the National Republican Congressional Committee in the 2000 and 2002 elections.

Davis said he "jumped" at the chance to reach such a deal. "Democrats controlled everything" in the state legislature, he said. "And with Democrats drawing the lines, they could have drawn us down to 15 seats pretty quick."

The split of 33 Democrats and 20 Republicans envisioned under the plan played out in the 2002 election and again in the 2004 vote. After Democrats won the one seat from Republicans in 2006 to alter the delegation's makeup to 34-19, that breakdown was replicated in the 2008 and 2010 elections.

In 2008, California voters formed their commission with the backing of Charles Munger Jr. the son of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.'s vice chairman, and Schwarzenegger. Its initial charge was to draw state legislative districts. Voters in 2010 expanded its scope to include congressional districts.

In the 2012 election, the first held based on the commission-drawn map, Democrats won 38 seats while Republicans took 15.

The commission is made up of five Democrats, five Republicans and four independents. The members can't be lawmakers, public officials, legislative aides or lobbyists.

When the commission completed its work, the congressional districts were more manageable in size and shape and emphasized cohesion on some matters, such as bunching urban or rural voters together. The map also created a few competitive seats, although a majority still carried a partisan advantage.

In the 2012 presidential race, Obama or Republican nominee Mitt Romney won by more than 10 percentage points in all but seven of California's redrawn 53 House districts, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News. In three of the districts, a majority of voters supported the presidential candidate from the party opposite to the congressional candidate who won.

Text Only
Politics
  • 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