Archive for Monday, January 23, 2012

Legislators criticize emerging Kansas congressional maps

January 23, 2012


— Two congressional redistricting maps emerged Monday, and legislators working on the boundaries said there was a lot to dislike about both of them.

In both plans, Lawrence would be consolidated into the 2nd U.S. House District. Lawrence is now split between the 2nd and 3rd districts.

Lawrence officials have welcomed the idea of being placed in one district, but officials from other areas voiced disapproval of the two proposals.

In one map, Manhattan would be put into the vast 1st District, which includes western Kansas, and in the other proposal, Sedgwick County would be divided between the 1st and 4th districts.

Manhattan officials say they want to stay in the 2nd District because the city is linked through education, economics and the animal health corridor with Topeka and west Lawrence.

And Sen. Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, said placing Wichita, which is now in the 4th District, into the 1st District was “ugly.”

She said 4th District congressman, Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, wants the 4th to stay as it is as much as possible.

Sen. Tim Owens, R-Overland Park, who is chair of the Senate redistricting committee, said each of Kansas’ four House representatives want to keep their districts as they are, but that is impossible.

“The problem is population density won’t allow that, and there is going to be change,” Owens said.

Owens said he would like the committee to consider both maps and be ready to vote on a measure next week.

The Legislature is charged with changing political boundaries to accommodate changes in population over the past 10 years and make districts as equal in population as possible.

The ideal size congressional district would have 713,280 people. The 1st District is 57,790 people under this ideal size and must pick up population. And the 3rd District, which includes east Lawrence, has 54,289 more people than the ideal size, so it must lose population. The 2nd needs 3,233 more people and the 4th must lose 6,912 people.


dcap 6 years, 4 months ago

Having Lawrence in one congressional district seems like it would make that district a solidly democratic seat. Having Lawrence bifurcated into two districts looked suspiciously like gerrymandering.

Brian Hall 6 years, 4 months ago

Not necessarily. If Lawrence was placed back into the 3rd, I could see the 3rd becoming more Democratic mainly because of Wyandotte County and the Johnson County influence would be equaled. With Lawrence in the 2nd, there are still a lot of rural, conservative Kansans down toward the southeast and Topeka tends to swing Republican a majority of the time.

I would agree Lawrence being split could be considered gerrymandering if splitting it caused the Democratic incumbent to not be reelected. The split occurred in 2002 while Dennis Moore was in office and he left office, of his own accord, in 2011. So even if it was gerrymandering, it didn't work.

verity 6 years, 4 months ago

Yes, it suspiciously looked like gerrymandering in 2002 and, no, it didn't work. It got Jim Ryan thrown out and a Democrat elected in the 2nd district. However, in the 2010 election, it did work.

Put Lawrence back into one district.

stm62 6 years, 4 months ago

What does the Constitution say about congressional districting? I dont think gerrymandering was part of the deal. Lets erase 100 years of progressivism and obey the document that made this country great.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 4 months ago

What does "progressivism" have to do with gerrymandering in Kansas (or anywhere else, for that matter?)

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 4 months ago

It's time to increase the size of the House of Representatives (double it, at least,) and stop the flow of the big money that now determines who gets elected and how they vote.

Mark Kostner 6 years, 4 months ago

If the 1st district is 57,000 underpopulated, putting Manhattan into it would solve that problem, moving part of Lawrence into the 2nd would solve the 3rd's overage and make up for Manhattan's departure. As for the 4th, moving Kingman or Harper to the 1st would solve their overage. If Sedgwick County is divided, the rural areas have about the same population as Manhattan, so moving west Sedgwick County and neighboring Kingman and Harper Counties make a sensible alternative.

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