Redistricting duties removed from nonpartisan UGA institute

Never mind those other states that make redistricting a high-minded, nonpartisan process. Republicans have made their move to make this summer’s redrawing of political boundaries in Georgia a thoroughly GOP affair.

From Shannon McCaffrey with the Associated Press:

Partisan bickering erupted over redistricting on Thursday as Republican leaders created a new legislative office and tapped a prominent GOP lawyer to advise the effort.

Democrats complained they’d been left out of the decision-making and worried Republicans could be politicizing the process, in which new Census data is used to redraw congressional and legislative lines.

“That they did not include Democrats in this decision raises some serious questions about transparency and accountability,” House Democratic leader Stacey Abrams said.

Senate Democratic Leader Robert Brown said he repeatedly raised questions about the plan for redistricting but got vague responses from GOP leaders. He said Thursday’s news was “very much a surprise.”

“It’s obviously not nonpartisan,” Brown said. “I don’t know what this is. I’ve heard rumor after rumor about redistricting. We’re not a part of this process.”

Redistricting had been handled through a state contract with the University of Georgia’s nonpartisan Carl Vinson Institute of Government.

But according to a memo obtained by The Associated Press on Thursday, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and House Speaker David Ralston are creating a Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Office. The office will be staffed by many of the same employees from the Carl Vinson Institute and will have the same budget.

Ann Lewis, counsel to the state Republican Party, and her law firm will provide legal guidance for the effort.

Lewis has handled several politically charged legal efforts in the state, including the defense of the state’s voter ID law and a brief then-Gov. Sonny Perdue filed with the U.S. Supreme Court challenging the Voting Rights Act.

But a spokesman for Ralston said Lewis and her firm will bring vast experience to a complicated process.

“This firm is an expert in this highly specialized field and will be an asset to the General Assembly as we go through this process,” spokesman Marshall Guest said.

Guest said the effort was similar to the way other states handle redistricting. He said the process would remain nonpartisan.

Claims of politics are typical when redistricting happens as each party tries to gain the upper hand. In the last round of redistricting — when Democrats in Georgia were in charge — the maps faced a court challenge.

Georgia is expected to gain a congressional seat this year because of its population growth.

Legislators are expected to come back for a special session this summer to deal with redrawing the state’s maps.

Incidentally, that recent rules fight over whether Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle or Senate President pro tem Tommie Williams, R-Lyons, would have the power to name members of special committees? This redistricting panel is what the fisticuffs were mostly about.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

39 comments Add your comment

Last Man Standing

February 3rd, 2011
6:38 pm

“Never mind those other states that make redistricting a high-minded, nonpartisan process. Republicans have made their move to make this summer’s redrawing of political boundaries in Georgia a thoroughly GOP affair.”

Such a shame! The dim-mocrats have NEVER done anything of this sort!

Dealt a lossing hand

February 3rd, 2011
6:50 pm

Deal needs to chop up the state to make. Sure his choice is in the new district.

Jerry Manders

February 3rd, 2011
6:57 pm

“Democrats complained they’d been left out of the decision-making…”

And they should be left out. The people of Gergia have soundly rejected them. Georgia Democrats’ constituency has shriveled to a few inner city blacks and homosexuals. They really should have no seat at the table at all.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jim Galloway, Kwanza Hall and Lynn Williams, Michael P. Howington. Michael P. Howington said: @politicalinsidr: Redistricting duties removed from nonpartisan UGA institute http://bit.ly/ha15UJ [...]

Michael

February 3rd, 2011
7:22 pm

take a look at Alabama’s efforts to open up the Redistricting effort: http://www.esri.com/news/releases/11_1qtr/alabama-redistrict.html

....

February 3rd, 2011
7:39 pm

So this is growing gov’t even more?

Mountain Republican

February 3rd, 2011
7:45 pm

The whining Georgia Democrats need to get a life. Regardless of the maps that the Republicans draw, it will never be bad as the Democrat maps that we saw back in 2001. As long as there are FAIR maps, Democrats will have a problem getting elected as a majoirty party in Georgia.

snd

February 3rd, 2011
8:12 pm

Roy Barnes’ parting gift to GA Dems. We knew that crap he pulled in 2001 would come back to haunt us.

catlady

February 3rd, 2011
8:25 pm

And created a new legislative office. Just what we need from the party of fiscal responsibility. More expenditures, to benefit themselves. Surprised?

Bobby Anthony

February 3rd, 2011
8:31 pm

As famous Democrat once stated “To the victor go the spoils.”

Last Man Standing

February 3rd, 2011
8:33 pm

catlady:

You would be singing the praises of dummycrats if they had done this. You can continue to “meow” at will but we know you’ve been de-clawed!

Who Cares

February 3rd, 2011
8:33 pm

This is GA. The same people (Democrats) who did the last redistricting will be doing the next redistricting as republicans. What we need is a redistricting done with an eye on fiscal responsibility.

dd

February 3rd, 2011
8:37 pm

What a bunch of whining crap. Redistricting in GA has always been political, but only when it’s against the Ds is it a problem? Seriously, have you put aside any attempt to at least appear as if you aren’t a hypocrite?

SawBe

February 3rd, 2011
9:39 pm

The last time the Democrats ran a process that was in one democrat legisator’s words, “partisan, right down to its toenails”. The gerrymanderins was so egregious that the court threw it out. You might remembe that blacks took the lead in attacking the partisan democrat plan becasue it sacrifced black legislators to help more democrats be elected. NO democrat in Georgia has standing to complain unless they were complaining when Bobby Khan and Roy Barnes develped the most partisan, twisted map in the country.

td

February 3rd, 2011
9:48 pm

How many times did Newt have to move because the Dems drew the only Republican member out of his district? I do not feel sorry for any of the dems. As long as they give the African Americans their 4 districts then the rest can be drawn Republican and the feds will not do anything about it.

LMS- Glad to see that you are still keeping up the good fight.

Cutty

February 3rd, 2011
9:58 pm

And this is why this nation will never be as great as it was. The most important factor in politics is to stick it to the other party. Obama had health care, GA republicans have redistricting.

What’s funny is that some would say Obamacare violates the constitution and the will of the people, but redistricting is somehow fine even though it strips the opportunity to choose adequate representation.

td, a little lesson in congressional elections/districts.

February 3rd, 2011
10:01 pm

td, sorry, but congressional candidates such as Newt do not have to live in the district they seek to represent

Shark Punch!

February 3rd, 2011
11:58 pm

So let me get this straight. The Democrats pulled a similar stunt ten years ago, and it was a BAD THING back then and the Republicans had every right to complain about it. In fact, what the Democrats did was so terrible that they have no right to complain even though the Republicans are doing the exact same thing?

For those who are too ignorant to understand the meaning of the word “hypocrisy,” here’s a hint. If something that’s fine-and-dandy becomes a horrible thing (or, gasp, unconstitutional!) after you switch the R’s and the D’s, then you’re a hypocrite. And no, the Democrats aren’t any less guilty.

Cutty, I’m glad to see somebody has a degree of sense around here.

puff

February 4th, 2011
12:00 am

What a BS complaint, Jim.

[...] Redistricting duties removed from nonpartisan UGA institute [...]

[...] Redistricting duties removed from nonpartisan UGA institute [...]

How Quickly They Forget — Peach Pundit

February 4th, 2011
12:43 am

[...] Jim Galloway notes an AP story that the Democrats in the state legislature are upset about Republican plans for redistricting. Senate Democratic Leader Robert Brown said he repeatedly raised questions about the plan for redistricting but got vague responses from GOP leaders. He said Thursday’s news was “very much a surprise.” [...]

Carl

February 4th, 2011
4:26 am

The GOP party has done redistricting every time new Legislatures are created, ever since 2001. They even had a long almost vertical line drawn through 5 or 6 counties so that the democrat whose district was redrawn would only have a few voters in each area. The corrupt antics of these GOPs disgusts me. They and their followers are the model for bullys and I bet their kids are bullies in school too. After all the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Martha Zoller

February 4th, 2011
5:38 am

The Democrats did the same things 10 years ago. They “looked” at the Vinson Institute maps for show, then went to their own way. To the victors, go the spoils and redistricting is one of the spoils.

Light on policy

February 4th, 2011
5:57 am

What was wrong with the previous way it was being done? Talks of cutting pre-k but creating another govt dept…nice

Independent

February 4th, 2011
6:31 am

Both parties are equally guilty of the gerrymandering. I expected nothing less from our politicians. If you really want to make a difference in government, pledge to never vote for any candidate that has a (D) or (R) next to their name.

Double Zero Eight

February 4th, 2011
6:58 am

Why are you afraid of Ralston? No blog
regarding his son interning for a top lobbying
firm. Talk about a conflict of interest! Ralston
promised to take on the lobbyist and reform
lobbying and ethics. As usual, all talk and
no action.

Double Zero Eight

February 4th, 2011
7:04 am

Fourth line of previous blog should state “lobbyists”

Will

February 4th, 2011
7:17 am

To the victor go the spoils.

Elections have consequences (regardless of what republicans in the US Senate believe in relation to court nominees).

Although I hate to see this coming, it is expected. Rabidly partisan republicans will chop and dice to do no worse than maintain their current majority and more likely to work in increase that majority. Those republicans who served when the democrats had the tools to do this will conveniently forget how much they cried “foul” over these partisan tactics.

Those of us who do not support the rabid seccesionist wing of the republican party should now consider the following: democrat gains in state government are unlikely for the forseeable future. Therefore, we should hold our noses and work to keep most of the party switchers in the General Assembly as well as the very few moderate republicans already there. I know, the part switchers are traitors BUT, for the most part, their ideology has not switched, only their desire to remain elected.

I most likely will now abandon the democrat effort in Georgia and turn my financial resources and vote to seeking out and supporting moderate republicans in the republican primaries. If these type of republicans can win their primaries and cause the seccessionist republican voter to sit on their hands in November, all the better as one or two democrats may then win.

So, who are these “moderates”? It would be the kiss of death in primaries that are now controlled mostly by seccessionist republicans to identify and promote a republican candidate as a “moderate” by name!

If you must have an example, I would use Governor Deal as an example. You must remember, that I am speaking of “moderation” within the spectrum of a rabidly right wing Georgia political party. Governor Deal has remained, for the most part, the same pragmatic politician he was before switching parties to survive re-election. Sure, he had to talk a big game of “shouting” his opponents as to who is the most anti-Obama, anti-liberal, pro-secessionist each election cycle (including the last one), but once elected, he moved back toward the center.

Although I voted for Roy Barnes in November, I will most likely vote in the republican primary in four years if Governor Deal is opposed by some radical like Eric Johnson or Chip Rogers.

The chances of success with this strategy are minimal but it is better than just giving up.

pete

February 4th, 2011
10:41 am

o course lets make goverment even bigger, but this will effect elections worse!

RetiredSoldier

February 4th, 2011
10:48 am

Why all the tears? The complaints are a bit premature, the maps aren’t drawn yet. If the republicans draw maps like the Dems in 2001 I’ll be the first to cry foul. But until then, me thinks you protest to much.

RetiredSoldier

February 4th, 2011
10:49 am

P.S. has anyone visited the redistricting office? In 2001 I believe it had 3 people in it. Now that’s big government!

sho'nuff

February 4th, 2011
7:40 pm

It doesn’t matter if a flea-bag redistributes the map to try and favor the Repukes. They still have to ‘OBEY’ the Civil Rights Act—period. Can you say lawsuit.

Also, its really funny to hear the Pukes talk about to the victor goes the spoils after the past two years of NO, NO, NO, No and Hell No Republican Obstructionism trying to hobble the Obama admistration as much as possible. What a JOKE!!! So let the games begin Pukes!!! Sounds like Fascism to me!!!

Burroughston Broch

February 5th, 2011
12:00 am

Jim, show us one non-partisan person at the UGA Carl Vinson Institute. It used to be considered an extension of the Georgia Democratic Party.

[...] Lewis, a partner in a organisation Strickland Brockington Lewis, will advise a legislative office, according to The Associated Press. Lewis currently serves as ubiquitous warn to a Georgia Republican [...]

Good Deal

February 5th, 2011
8:45 am

“… a state contract with the University of Georgia’s nonpartisan Carl Vinson Institute of Government.”

“Nonpartisan?” Really?

Carl Vinson contracts are out of control.

Their end product’s are little more than canned reports produced by liberal academics and customized to appeal to the state agencies who pay dearly for them.

Whatever little substance these contracts provide certainly doesn’t justify their costs. These are big dollar contracts that need real scrutiny.

Dumbo

February 7th, 2011
9:03 am

As a moderate conservative in this state…I’ve come to realize that the Republicans are doing the exact same crap that the Democrats did for almost a century in this state…the biggest difference I can see is Tom Murphy has been replaced by David Ralston. But Ralston Purina is a dog…he may be as corrupt a politician as I’ve seen in my 55 yrs.

truth

February 7th, 2011
12:15 pm

Well, isn’t that special? Not unexpected, however.

Jay

February 8th, 2011
2:27 pm

Re. Jerry Manders @ 6:57,

You forgot to include people with decent educations and critical thinking skills as those still supporting the Democrats in Georgia. Regardless, even those “inner city blacks” and “homosexuals” (as though there’s something wrong with being either) you disregard actually still do deserve a seat at the table, because they are your fellow Georgians and fellow Americans.