At the Sunday Redistricting Board meeting, I met a woman who had an email that had been sent out to, I think, Republican legislators from Randy Ruedrich with a:
- list of sitting Senators
- what percent of their district remained the same
- if they had to run in 2014
I pointed out that the Board was made up of four Republicans and one Democrat. That didn't seem to matter - she said something about them not being real Republicans. I also mentioned that since there are a lot more Republicans in the legislature than Democrats, so if every thing was done without bias, Republicans would be more likely to be affected than Democrats. She seemed to have her mind made up and nothing I said made a dent.
|Rep. Tammie Wilson|
|Sen Fred Dyson Introducing Joe Miller 2012|
Cathy Giessel, the Anchorage Republican Senator who lost half her constituents and who, thus, has to run again in 2014 and for only a two year seat is also of that far, far right Republican persuasion. Is this all a coincidence? The Republican Party has had a big internal fight between Tea Party activists and the traditional power brokers of the Party. Randy Ruedrich, until recently the Chair of the Republican Party, has feuded with the Tea Party Republicans. He was also very involved in creating the AFFER map and actually made a comment from the audience when the Board was discussing truncation and determining how to figure out the two year and four year seats. Although audience members are not allowed to speak, they let him, took a recess, and came back with the solution he had suggested from the audience: to renumber some of the districts.
But, in fairness, both Isaacson and Wilson are listed as from North Pole and one of the principles in redistricting is to leave political subdivisions intact. So perhaps it was the previous redistricting that allowed two different North Pole districts that was the problem. Also, though not as critical, pairing the two Eagle River house seats into one Senate seat makes a lot of sense. Finally, Giessel's old Senate district included the northern Kenai House district and this time they tried to keep Kenai more intact. But those issues didn't prevent the Board from breaking Matsu twice, even though Calista offered a map that would have kept Matsu whole. And I'm sure if they had wanted to, they could have kept these incumbents in different districts.
Anyway, below is an adaptation of the chart from the email. I added the letters of the current (2012 election) and new (2014 election) Senate seats and I added the last column, because the email didn't say how long the terms would be for people not running in 2014.
|Republican or D
(current - new District)
|Kept of 2012 District||Status||Next Term|
|Kelly (B-A)||97.6%||running 4 yr seat|
|Coghill (A-B)||77.0%||not running||2 years|
|Bishop (C-C)||46.8%||running 4 yr seat|
|Huggins (E-D)||96.9%||not running||2 years|
|Dunleavy (D-E)||52.0%||running 4 yr seat|
|Open (M-F)||49.3%||running 2 yr seat|
|Fairclough (M-G), Dyson (F-F)||50.1%||running 4 yr seat|
|D-Wielechowski (G-H)||100%||not running||2 years|
|D-Gardner (H-I)||100%||running 4 yr seat|
|D-Ellis (I-J)||100%||not running||2 years|
|D-French (J-K)||100%||running 4 yr seat|
|McGuire (K-L)||100%||not running||4 years|
|Meyer (L-M)||100%||running 4 yr seat|
|Giessel (N-N)||50.1%||running 2 yr seat|
|Micciche (N-O)||50.3%||running 4 yr seat|
|Stevens (R-P)||51.3%||running 2 yr seat|
|D - Egan (P-Q)||92.7%||running 4 yr seat|
|Stedman (Q-R)||90.7%||not running|
|D - Hoffman (S-S)||54.3%||running 4 yr seat|
|D - Olsen (T-T)||80.3%||running 2 yr seat|
Some background for people who haven't been keeping track of these things:
Senators have four year terms. The terms are staggered so that ten senators run in one election and ten in the next. That way there are always at least ten Senators who aren't brand new.
If a new Senate district is changed so that a substantial number of people are new, the seat is truncated. Truncation means that instead of serving out their full term (if it would not be up at the next election), their term is cut to two years and they must run in the next election. The reasoning here is that a substantial number of people will now be represented by someone they didn't have an opportunity to vote for (or against.)
So, how many is substantial? Last year's discussion of truncation said that any district that had more than a 10% change would be considered substantially changed. Last year there was only one district that was less then 10% - Juneau - and the next was 65%. This year they decided that the cut off would be 70%, which allowed Sen. John Coghill (75% change) not to have to run for reelection in 2014. (Generally, people set standards before they know who will meet them and who won't so they aren't biased by knowing how the standards will affect real people.) In any case, Coghill was also a Joe Miller supporter, so that would suggest that they weren't necessarily after Tea Party folks.
The gerrymandering charges this year were from Democrats. But might it be possible the Tea Party is going to challenge the redistricting plan? Can you charge gerrymandering when it's Republicans out to get Republicans? (I'm not saying that happened here, just a hypothetical.) Maybe this isn't over yet.