By Scott Tibbs, September 3, 2005
Patrick Dunnigan made a presentation at the Republican lunch this past Wednesday, comparing large pictures of two Republican redistricting proposals to another large picture of the Democrats' existing map. (The existing map can be seen here, or you can see a PDF at the county web site.)
Despite loud screeching from some local Democrat activists, I do not see how you can argue with a straight face that the existing districts are not gerrymandered. It is clear that the Democrats created a solidly Democrat district and two Democrat-leaning districts by splitting up heavily Democratic downtown Bloomington. They packed as many Republicans as they could into Marty Hawk's district.
Don't bother coming back with the lame argument that Republicans won 3 of the 4 districts. As I explained above, there were special circumstances in the 2002 elections that allowed Sue West and Trent Jones to win. With existing districts, Democrats are much more likely to win 3 of 4 seats in 2006 than they were 4 years ago.
Apparently Republicans were wearing buttons at the redistricting meeting last Wednesday that read "one look says it all" or something like that. (I could not attend the meeting because it was too early in the afternoon.)
The Republican maps make much more sense when you look at them. They are much more compact, follow township lines much more closely, and follow natural boundaries better. I do not have JPG's of the GOP maps, and I only saw them for the first time this past Wednesday.
I will have more commentary on the GOP maps (which may or may not be favorable) when I can get more information on them. I will have reservations about any map that makes Marty Hawk's district less safe, and I do not think pitting sitting County Councilors against each other (specifically Hawk vs. Mark Stoops) is a good idea.