The National Journal is running a story about one of my favorite political junkie parlor games -- Whither Redistricting? I haven't read the premium NatJo piece (because I don't subscribe) but this Openers piece and this by Eric Mansfield each touch on the highlights, particularly the importance the author places on Ohio.
Much of the piece deals with the states like Ohio that are set to lose seats to redder states like Texas and Georgia. In addition, if you go to the front page of the NatJo website and click through the link to the Interactive Graphic, then roll over Ohio you get this speculation about us Buckeyes:
- Elected last November, Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland is quite popular. If his job-approval rating remains high, he'll easily win re-election in 2010. Republicans could lose their majorities in the Legislature, although they held them in 2006, a difficult year. The outcome depends on whether Democrats take control of both chambers. If they do, expect partisan redistricting with a vengeance.
Currently Dems hold a 3-2 advantage on the Apportionment Board with the Governor, Secretary of State and one legislative representative to the Republicans' Auditor plus one legislative rep. While it is true that the Repubs in the GA could screw the Dems out of two U.S. House seats. the Dems on the Apportionment Board could respond in kind and tilt the state legislative map radically toward the Dems.
What we have is actually potentially exciting: a divided government that invites compromise which may lead to more balanced districts. Yes, it may also lead to lots of deal making that protects powerful incumbents and punishes mavericks in both parties, but let me dream a little. I just finished the Potter book and I'm feeling all magical.
Assuming the alignment stays the way it is -- and barring a disaster for one side or the other, it is likely to -- my prediction is that the compromise will zero out one Dem district and one Republican. It may also be balanced geographically, with one gone in Northeast Ohio and one in Southwest.
From there, it's anyone's guess how each party makes the decision about who goes. My guess is that the factors determining who will be the sacrificial lamb will include some mix of the following: 1) Rep. is a weak campainger unlikely to win in a new district, 2) Rep. has a weak legislative record 3) Rep. is unpopular in the state party either because of the the above or
because he/she doesn't dance or both.
Aside from that, I'm less interested in making predictions than hearing what others have to say. Feel free to either speculate on how the decisions are made or who gets cut or both.