Districts should be drawn to be more competitive -- not just for incumbents, GOP House leader says

03/23/2011 06:36 PM

Being in the minority, House Republican Leader Jeff Hoover said he’d like to see more districts drawn to be more competitive between the Republicans and Democrats.

Then maybe he won’t be in the minority anymore.

“I think we are poised to have a redistricting plan that will be beneficial (to Republicans),” Hoover said.

Hoover said he will advocate during this round of redistricting for competitive districts because the population booms are coming in areas that trend conservative, such as the suburbs of Northern Kentucky and Louisville and several of the ring counties around Fayette.

“We would like for them to be more competitive all the way across the board,” Hoover said on Pure Politics. “We believe the people of Kentucky will respond to conservative ideas, to conservative philosophies, they will respond to conservative candidates. We would like for them to be more competitive across the board.”

Hoover went through the redistricting process in 2001-2002 after the last U.S. Census was completed. At that time, the majority parties in both chambers — the House Democrats and Senate Republicans — pretty much had control of the redrawing process.

“I think all of us recognize that in 2002 there was somewhat of a gentleman’s agreement,” Hoover said. “In the Senate the Republicans had just assumed majority control and there was a gentleman’s agreement that the Senate would write the redistricting plan for the Senate and the House would re-write the redistricting plan for the House.”

That agreement ended up pitting some incumbent House Republicans against each other and lacked input from the Senate that would have been helpful to his caucus, he said.

But he says it won’t be that way in this redistricting process.

“I’m not sure that agreement will be there. I hope there will be more input from both bodies into the other’s redistricting plans. But the process is the same. You take the numbers and you try to draw the districts. Obviously on the House side, we’re at a disadvantage, being in the minority,” Hoover said.

The House Republican caucus has 42 members, up from 35 before last November’s election. But it is a couple members short of the House GOP’s high water mark of 44 Republicans in 2005.

- Ryan Alessi


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