The new redistricting maps for Congress and the state senate and assembly appear to be cast in stone, and Republicans are not happy with the new non-Gerrymandered maps. So unhappy in fact, the LA Times is reporting they are preparing to sue.
This is a case of “be careful what you wish for,” as a lot of Republicans pushed for redistricting under the notion that Democrats benefit from gerrymandered districts. After California’s bluer-than-blue 2010 election cycle and declining Republican enrollment have produced districts that reflect the voting population of the state. If anything, the new redistricting showed that it was Republicans who benefitted mostly from Gerrymandering.
For the most part, the Redistricting Commission did a nice job with the exception of splitting Little Saigon into two assembly districts. But Republicans, led by familiar OC names, are not happy.
From the LA Times story:
The maps, drafted for the first time by a citizens’ panel rather than politicians, could give Democrats a tighter grip on the statehouse and California’s congressional delegation. In particular, the new lines put Democrats within reach of the coveted two-thirds majority, which is needed to raise taxes, in the state Senate.
The California Citizens Redistricting Commission consists of five Democrats, five Republicans and four unaffiliated members. But state GOP Chairman Tom Del Beccaro characterized the approved boundaries as “unfair if not unconstitutional.”
Republicans aren’t the only ones girding to fight the new maps, which are to be used during the next decade in elections for 120 seats in the state Legislature, 53 in Congress and four on the state Board of Equalization. Activists argue that Latinos are underrepresented in some new districts and are threatening a court challenge.
Even some on the 14-member commission expressed reservations about its final product, emboldening potential challengers.
A referendum drive to overturn the state Senate lines is being led by state Sen. Mimi Walters (R-Laguna Niguel) and Orange County businesswoman Julie Vandermost through a committee called Fairness and Accountability in Redistricting, according to Republican consultant Dave Gilliard. They may also launch a referendum on the congressional boundaries, according to Gilliard.
“It is our goal, and should be the goal of all elected officials who believe in fair, accountable and transparent government, to reject the lines drawn and ensure that the referendum is successful,” Walters said.
Backers have 90 days to collect 504,000 signatures to qualify a referendum for the ballot.
The petition drive is endorsed by the 15-member Senate Republican Caucus, according to state Senate minority Leader Bob Dutton of Rancho Cucamonga.
“I indicated my willingness to try to help raise some money for the referendum,” Dutton said. “The people of California were hoping for an open and free process that was free of political influence and I’m not so sure that’s what they got.”
If a referendum makes it to the ballot, the redistricting plan adopted Monday will be suspended and the state Supreme Court will determine districts for the 2012 election. GOP strategists say that’s an easy bet.
“The idea that the court would disregard the 500,000-plus citizens’ signatures to leave in place a plan approved by 14 citizens — no one I know thinks that’s a likely outcome,” said Jim Brulte, a Republican and former state legislator.
Bruce Cain, a UC Berkeley political scientist and reapportionment expert, said that even if a referendum qualifies, it is unlikely to pass. “For the most part,” he said, “public opinion has been relatively positive.”
Republican voter registration in the state is about 30 percent.