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Democrats Offering Their Version Of New Districts

Last updated on Friday, April 15, 2011

(STATEHOUSE) - Democrats are offering their version of what new Indiana House Districts should look like.

By Democrats' calculations, their map would create 26 swing districts, versus 14 on the Republican map.

While Republicans sought to create 100 districts with nearly equal populations, Democrats allowed themselves the 5% variance allowed by federal law in order to keep more townships undivided.

Former GOP Representative Bill Ruppel co-chairs a panel assembled by common cause to review the maps and produce its own.

He complains Democrats' map splits 70 of the 92 counties, and dilutes the rural vote by combining those areas with cities.

But Ruppel blasts both parties for not laying out their data on exactly what the politics of their proposed maps would look like.

Neither party has offered an estimate of how many safe seats each party would have under the maps, though Democrats charge Republicans' map would make it impossible for them to reclaim the majority.

They say the GOP map creates 10 solidly Republican districts, including some they call tailor-made for unsuccessful candidates in the 2010 election.

Indianapolis Representative Ed Delaney acknowledges Democrats drew a map which tilted their way 10 years ago. But he argues the state benefits from divided government, and says a map which precludes the possibility is bad for the state.

Republicans' map creates at least 10 districts with two incumbents; Democrats claim they've found an 11th, and contend one district actually combines three Democratic representatives.

The Democrats' map has two multi-incumbent districts: one with a legislator from each party, and one with two Republicans. Republicans' map reduces the number of Marion County representatives from 16 to 15.

Democrats' map preserves all 16 incumbents.

Democrats are hinting they'd like to delay approving any house map until next session.

House Speaker Brian Bosma has already ruled that out.

The Senate Elections Committee voted along party lines Thursday to approve the congressional map and its proposed senate districts.

The panel left the congressional map unchanged from what was unveiled Monday, and President Pro Tem David Long says changes are unlikely.

But the committee did tinker with some districts in east-central and southeast Indiana, compacting Greenfield Republican Beverly Gard's new district to keep it exclusively in the Indianapolis metro area.

The original map had stretched Gard's district from Cumberland to the Wayne County line.

Long says there may be additional tweaks when the Full Senate considers the map next week.

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