What does Dept of Justice pre-clearance of Georgia’s redistricting maps mean for Georgia?

As Jason posted below, the Obama Justice Department has pre-cleared Georgia’s plan to redistrict House, Senate and Congressional lines.

Democratic leaders will likely continue to press the issue in court, though future chances of success are highly unlikely. It also settles any question that the 2012 elections will be held under the newly-drawn district lines.

What does this mean for Georgia?

HOUSE DISTRICTS

DOJ pre-clearance essentially solidifies around 120 Republican-leaning House seats out of 180, which provides the Constitutional majority Republicans hoped for.  My own research leads me to conclude that the most likely scenario is for the GOP to control around 122 House seats after the November election. There’s realistically only one Republican-held seat truly vulnerable to swing to a Democrat.

Demographic changes in the State House:  Based on how the new lines are drawn, as well as based on how the Democratic Primary contests are lining up in 2012, there will only be around 12-15 or so white Democrats left in the House after next November.

SENATE DISTRICTS

The DOJ’s decision to pre-clear the new maps essentially means there will be 38 GOP-performing Senate seats out of 56 Georgia Senate districts. This is also a Constitutional majority.

Demographic changes in the State Senate: For similar reasons as stated above, there will likely only be about six white Democrats left in the Senate after next November.

CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS

10 of 14 Congressional districts in Georgia are now Republican-leaning. Rep. John Barrow (D-somewhere new) is on the (really, really) endangered list. There will likely be no white Democrats left in Congress from Georgia, yet four African-American Democrats.

While a few of the state legislative seats will be competitive, and some districts over time will swing to the Democratic Party due to continued demographic changes (particularly in metro Atlanta, which both Chris Huttman and I have written about), it likely creates a scenario for a GOP majority in the legislature for the next decade.

16 comments

  1. Jane says:

    With the Democrat prospects so far in back bench, will it be hard for Democrats to fund realistic challengers in swing districts?

    • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

      Only if the challengers run with a (D) in front of their name.

      Otherwise, it shouldn’t really be all that much of a problem.

  2. The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

    “Demographic changes in the State House: Based on how the new lines are drawn, as well as based on how the Democratic Primary contests are lining up in 2012, there will be perhaps only around 12-15 or so white Democrats left in the House after next November…”

    “…Demographic changes in the State Senate: For similar reasons as stated above, there will likely be only about six white Democrats left in the Senate after next November…”

    “…10 of 14 Congressional districts in Georgia are now Republican-leaning. Rep. John Barrow (D-somewhere new) is on the (really, really) endangered list. There will likely be no white Democrats left in Congress from Georgia, yet four African-American Democrats…”

    You talkin’ to me?

  3. The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

    “While a few of the state legislative seats will be competitive, and some districts over time will swing to the Democratic Party due to continued demographic changes (particularly in metro Atlanta, which both Chris Huttman and I have written about), it likely creates a scenario for a GOP majority in the legislature for the next decade.”

    Mark, you’re being bashful.

    Here let me translate that sentence for you:

    The pre-clearance of Georgia’s redistricting maps by the Department of Justice means TOTAL GOP DOMINANCE in the State Legislature for AT LEAST the next decade.

  4. cheapseats says:

    One party dominance is never a good thing for the state or the folks who just want to live here. It wasn’t good under the Dems and it’s not good under the GOP.

    On the national stage, if your state isn’t “in play” you just get ignored.

    • Ken says:

      It’s going to be up to the GOP grassroots people to keep the party in line. Unfortunately, they do not always have all of the necessary information.

  5. Dave Bearse says:

    The GOP leadership has proposed many great state initiatives and new programs since 2004. Who knew that only a handful of Democratic representatives were holding back progress on the state’s economy, transportation, education and water?

    Increasing anti-incumbency, and the disenfrachisement meted out in some new districts may produce some surprises in 2012.

      • cheapseats says:

        Hehehe…I think he forgot to add the tags:

        sarcasm on
        The GOP leadership has proposed many great state initiatives and new programs since 2004.
        end sarcasm

        There, fixed it for you.

    • Ken says:

      Dave,

      I, for one, would be very happy if the GOP would revisit some of the ideas they brought forth when they were a minority party (e.g. zero-based budgeting) and made them into law.

  6. Rick Day says:

    Well, well.. this is going to be interesting.

    Perhaps the juvenile tactical finger pointing will now find the GOP finger pointed in the correct orientation: firmly up it’s own butt.

    THEN who you gonna blame, Willis?

  7. SallyForth says:

    It means the Democrats are toast in Georgia for another decade.
    It also means the Obama Democratic DOJ does not have the cojones of the Republican DOJ’s of 1971, 1981, 1991, and 2001, all of which forced redrawing of the maps submitted by Democratic GA Legislatures.

  8. And all of which were patently illegal. The political whipsaw created by redistricting in 2001 was a contributing factor to the defeat of Roy Barnes, and also ultimately led to a Republican majority.

    Yet the Obama DOJ couldn’t find credible legal grounds to block the 2011 ones.

    I’ve read the stated legal objections to these maps and, analytically speaking, those legal arguments were very (very) weak.

    What other impact do the new map have for Georgia? It becomes cyclical. This new map will really hurt fundraising for the minority party because the minority party is at least a-half-generation-away from being a majority party. So fewer numbers of good, civic-oriented candidates run as Democrats, etc. It’s a tough cycle to break, and will only be broken by electing a statewide official — though the potential choices for a candidate with (real) statewide appeal are slim. Things will re-balance, but at the legislative level it will take years.

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