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February 11, 2013

HOWEY: The results in for new district maps

(Continued)

But the results appear to reveal a GOP advantage. 

Republican U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita pushed redistricting reform during his final two years as Indiana secretary of state. But he told me, “I advocated for keeping it in the hands of the General Assembly but with tight parameters that would be in statute. Yes, all this could be done by a commission, but these are people not elected by anyone. I feel that is too insulated from accountability to the voter and taxpayer.”

And Rokita asked me what the goal should be. 

“Competitive districts no matter what the voter makeup (more exciting election cycles), or districts that when considered together fairly reflect the voters?” he asked. 

He cited former State Rep. Ed Mahern, who drew the Democrat maps in 2001. “Mahern’s districts were extremely competitive and they were the worst gerrymandered mess anyone had ever seen,” Rokita said. “He had to contort severely to keep the demand with a chance of House control, again in a pretty conservative state.”

And, ironically, Mahern lost in a district he created for himself. And in 2010, Republicans were able to take a 60-40 majority, giving strength to the notion that ideas, issues and good candidates can win.

All of this should be pondered by voters. We have eight years before we create new maps.

— Brian Howey publishes at www.howeypolitics.com. Find him on Twitter @hwypol.

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