More Redistricting

The AJC picks up this AP report:

A legislative redistricting map drawn for a federal court could give Republicans control of the Georgia House after more than 130 years of Democratic rule, but also puts top leaders of the new majority-Republican Senate in jeopardy.

Drawn by a court-appointed mapmaker and made public Monday, the map guarantees House Democrats only 88 “safe” seats — three votes short of majority control — according to a rushed analysis by Democratic staffers.

In the House, Democrats now hold a 108-71 edge with one independent who usually votes Republican.

“I think there’s definitely going to be a shift of power,” said Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Sharpsburg. “There’s a lot of people that’s not coming back.”

But Rep. DuBose Porter, D-Dublin, the speaker pro tem of the House, said the map is “much better than we anticipated” and will likely leave Democrats in control.

He said the calculation of just 88 “safe” seats fails to take into account the incumbent Democrats who regularly win election from districts considered to lean Republican.

The Senate map appears to leave Republicans with enough safe seats to retain control, which they assumed only last year. But some of their leaders would be forced to run against each other under a map which purposely did not consider where incumbents lived.

“Republicans will hold the majority. The question is, which Republicans,” said Senate Majority Leader Bill Stephens, R-Canton.

Senate President Pro Tem Eric Johnson, R-Savannah, would be in a district with Sen. Rene Kemp, D-Hinesville. The governor’s floor leader, Sen. Dan Lee, R-LaGrange, would be in a district with Sen. Seth Harp, R-Midland.

The House map also throws high-powered Democrats together. Tossed into a single district under the special master’s plan are Rep. Tom Buck, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee; Rep. Calvin Smyre, chairman of the calendar-setting Rules Committee, and Carolyn Hugley, the redistricting chairman.

The maps were drawn by a special master for a three-judge federal panel.

I think, based on people I consider very credible, overstates the safe seats in the House.

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Erick Erickson

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