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February 11, 2013

HOWEY: The results in for new district maps

The first actual election results under the new Indiana Congressional and legislative maps drawn in 2011 are in and the results still reveal a flawed process. 

According to November election returns from the Indiana Secretary of State, 2,473,264 votes were cast in the nine congressional district races: 1,313,845 votes (53.12 percent) for Republican candidates, 1,100,327 votes (44.49 percent) for Democrats, and 59,088 votes (2.39 percent) for Libertarians.

The result: Republicans carried seven of the nine congressional districts. Only the 2nd District race — with Republican U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski winning by fewer than 5,000 votes — was competitive, despite speculation after the maps were created that this district was going to be overwhelmingly GOP. 

U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky in the heavily Democratic Northwest Region and Andre Carson in Indianapolis were the only Democratic House winners, representing a mere 22 percent of the districts. Republican Indiana House candidates carried about 54 percent of the total vote but won 69 of the 100 seats. 

A Public Opinion Strategies Poll conducted on behalf of the Indiana Association of Realtors (Jan. 20-22) revealed that if elections were held then, 41 percent said they would vote for Indiana General Assembly Republicans and 37 percent would vote for Democrats, with 20 percent undecided.

Nationally, Democratic U.S. House candidates polled 49.1 percent. But thanks to GOP control of some 30 legislatures in 2010 which determined which party would draw the new maps, Republicans ended up with a 234-201 House majority.

It’s important to note that this shoe has been on the other foot. Indiana Democrats drew the maps in 1991 and 2001 and while Republicans routinely carried a majority of the Indiana House vote (in the 53 percent to 55 percent range) over those two decades, Democrats were able to control the House more than half of the time, including half of Gov. Mitch Daniels’ tenure. In doing so, House Democrats were able to blunt the Daniels reforms from 2007 through 2010.

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