Returning with the Redistricting Map

I’ve been out of commission for a while. Pray for your health and those of your loved ones – it is more important than almost anything.

So the redistrictring map was introduced in September, some adjustments were made to the Kaptur/Kucinich and the Turner/Austria districts, and then finally approved in December.  Here is a link to the final map – http://www.onntv.com/content/stories/2011/12/15/story-redisctricting-map.html.

The result consolidated the Democrat districts which subsequently strengthened most Republican areas – exactly the point of political redistricting (as opposed to fair and competitive redistricting).  The big move was the new Columbus district which is a solid addition to the Democrat side.  The Tiberi and Stivers districts were becoming more competitive, so this will let the Democrats in Franklin County be represented by a Democrat, and the outlying suburbs and surrounding counties will more likely vote for the Republican.

The big move with national implications is the Dennis Kucinich district being absorbed by the Marcy Kaptur district.  There is little logic behind this Lake Erie district except to force Kucinich into a primary with anybody other than Marcia Fudge.  The district represented by Ms. Fudge was squeezed to include areas of Akron so Ohio can maintain this minority-majority district.

Ohio lost two seats based on the last census.  The Democrats lost two seats in northern Ohio with the Kaptur-Sutton-Kucinich areas being absorbed roughtly into a single district, but were then given a seat in Columbus.  The Republicans consolidated the Austria-Turner district in south-central Ohio into a single district.

As a result, northern Ohio is a representative mess.  Cuyahoga and Summit counties are represented by four districts each, and the smaller Lorain and Portage counties each have three.  In order to stretch the Lake Erie district from Toledo to Cleveland, they needed to pull the districts of smaller cities and rural areas into southern Lorain county.  Bob Gibbs saw the biggest geographic shift as he had represented counties including and to the south of Tuscarawus and Cochocton, now he will compete in those counties and to their north.

The most competitive seat at the moment will be three-term Representative Betty Sutton challenging tea party freshman Jim Renacci.  This disctict includes Wooster and Wayne county, and then parts of Stark, Summit, and Lorain counties.  This district favors Renacci, but I don’t think it will be a slam-dunk.

In fact, the 2006 and 2008 elections saw Democratic gains in the rural north and appalachian areas of Ohio.  The Tea Party movement helped to switch these districts in 2010, but if that movement fails in the coming years then Democrats could end up regaining three or four seats by the end of the decade.  Then today’s Democrat complaints about the 12-4 split will turn into deer-in-the-headlights Republicans looking at an 8-8 map.

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