By Scott Tibbs, August 11, 2005
Democrats like to claim the current districts are not gerrymandered based on two things:
The second point is idiotic. The Commissioners are elected countywide. It does not matter how the districts are drawn, because all voters get to vote on all three seats.
- Council districts are 75% Republican.
- Commissioner districts are 66% Republican.
As to the first, Republicans managed to overcome Democratic gerrymandering in 2002.
In District 1, popular incumbent David Hamilton was defeated in the Democratic primary by "Green Democrat" Lucille Bertuccio. The GOP immediately targeted Bertuccio in a district where no Republican even bothered to file when they expected to face (and lose to) Hamilton in the general election. "Business Democrats" (so labeled by the H-T) supported Republican Sue West.
In District 2, Republican Trent Jones won only because a Green Party candidate took 15% of the vote. All of the votes that went to Julie Roberts would have gone to "Green Democrat" Bill Hayden instead. Hayden, for whatever reason, was unable to keep those votes from going to a third party candidate. Hayden faced a similar problem the following year, losing to Republican (in name only) David Sabbagh when Mark Kruzan and Regina Moore won big majorities across City Council District 5 in their respective races for Mayor and City Clerk. Sabbagh managed to bleed off enough Democrats who voted for Kruzan & Moore to defeat Hayden.
It's time for Democrats to find a new reason to claim the districts are not gerrymandered.