Jim Galloway notes an AP story that the Democrats in the state legislature are upset about Republican plans for redistricting.
Senate Democratic Leader Robert Brown said he repeatedly raised questions about the plan for redistricting but got vague responses from GOP leaders. He said Thursday’s news was “very much a surprise.”
“It’s obviously not nonpartisan,” Brown said. “I don’t know what this is. I’ve heard rumor after rumor about redistricting. We’re not a part of this process.”
Redistricting had been handled through a state contract with the University of Georgia’s nonpartisan Carl Vinson Institute of Government.
The Democrats seem to conveniently forget just how politicized they handled redistricting. I had personal experience in the matter in the 1991 and 2001 redistricting battles — which were ongoing sagas several years later.
In fact, the Democrats so butchered the state in 2001 that the maps made it up to the Supreme Court. In both the 90s and 2000s, judges ultimately had to participate.
One of the most egregious examples was the 11th Congressional District in 2002. The district went from Rome down US-27 to Carroll County, cut over to southern Cobb County and down through Fayette, Coweta, Upson, Muscogee, etc. At one point the district could be pole vaulted, starting in the 11th and ending in the 11th while jumping over a few meters of the 3rd Congressional District. The 11th was also connected using islands north of West Point in the reservoir.
Jack Kingston’s 1st Congressional District stretched along the southeast of the state then shot up I-75 to take in Robins Air Force Base.
The 3rd Congressional District looked like a crushed Daddy Long Legs.
State House and State Senate districts were no better. At one point, Macon was represented by Seth Harp who lived in Muscogee County and represented, in parts, a 15 foot wide strip of land stretching across the state with no people in it. Milledgeville had representation from Augusta.
Robert Brown and the other Democrats can complain all they want, but there is no way that the redistricting maps of 2011 will be anywhere near as egregious as what Robert Brown supported in 2001, crocodile tears notwithstanding.
At the same time, Republicans should remember just how badly Democrats treated them in redistricting years past and what Republicans claimed as their principles — communities of interest, compactness, and sensible design. They should be willing to do to the Democrats and themselves what the Democrats never did in the nineties and 2001.