GOP has 5 most populous Senate districts, while most Democrats need more constituents

03/21/2011 07:32 AM

Ten of the 15 Democrats in the Senate represent districts that are smaller than the target populations for the upcoming round of redistricting.

And four of the seven least populous state Senate districts are held by Democrats, potentially putting the minority caucus in danger of being redistricted out of more seats.

Of course, two of the Republican Senate leaders — Senate President David Williams of Burkesville and GOP Floor Leader Robert Stivers of Manchester — each would need infusions of more than 10,000 new constituents to get them to average state Senate district total.

Meanwhile, Republicans representing the conservative areas of the Louisville suburbs and Northern Kentucky regions have seen their districts become overstuffed. That raises the prospect that lawmakers might have to carve out new districts in or around those areas that would most likely lean Republican as well.

The five most populous districts — each are at least 15% over the target average for a district — all are represented by Republicans.

If Kentucky’s population is equally distributed across the 38 state Senate districts, each one would have 114,194.

Here are the Senators with the most populous districts:

  • Sen. John Schickel, 11th Dist. (Boone, Gallatin, part of Kenton), 137,257 people (+20.20%)
  • Sen. Ernie Harris, 26th Dist. (Carroll, Henry, Oldham, Trimble, part of Jefferson) 134,003 (+17.35%)
  • Sen. Damon Thayer, 17th Dist., (Grant, Owen, Scott and part of Kenton) 133,729 (+17.11)
  • Sen. Paul Hornback, 20th Dist., (Bullitt, Shelby and Spencer counties), 133,454 (+16.87)
  • Sen. Dan Seum, 38th Dist., (southern Jefferson County), 131,921 (15.52%)

Note: Percentages show relationship to average Senate district not growth from 2000 to 2010.

And here are the Senators whose districts need a boost of at least 10,000 constituents to reach the average:

  • Sen. Johnny Ray Turner, 29th Dist. (Breathitt, Floyd, Knott and Letcher) 94,194 (-17.51%)
  • Sen. Brandon Smith, 30th Dist. (Bell, Harlan, Leslie and Perry) 97,991 (-14.19%)
  • Sen. Jack Westwood, 23rd Dist. (part of Kenton Co.) 98,810 (-13.47%)
  • Sen. Gerald Neal, 33rd Dist. (part of Jefferson Co.) 98,815 (-13.47%)
  • Sen. Robert Stivers, 25th Dist. (Clay, Knox, Lee. Magoffin, Morgan, Owsley and Wolfe) 100,866 (-11.67%)
  • Sen. Ray Jones, 31st Dist. (Johnson, Martin and Pike) 101,309 (-11.28%)
  • Sen. Jerry Rhoads, 6th Dist. (Hopkins, Muhlenberg and Ohio) 102,261 (-10.45%)
  • Sen. David Williams, 16th Dist. (Clinton, Cumberland, McCreary, Monroe, Wayne and Whitley) 102,847 (-9.94%)

Again, percentages represent relationship to the mean Senate district population, not drop in population over the last decade

In addition to those, the districts of Senate President Pro Tem Katie Stine (24th District), independent Sen. Bob Leeper (2nd District), Republican Sen. Tom Jensen (21st District) and Republican Sen. Joe Bowen (8th District) are short by more than 5%.

Democratic Sens. Denise Harper Angel (35th District), Dorsey Ridley (4th District) and Robin Webb (18th District) also are more than 5% below the average.

Three other Democratic Senators — Tim Shaughnessy, Walter Blevins and Joey Pendleton — and two Republicans — Ken Winters and David Givens — have districts below the target amount but by less than 5%.

In an odd coincidence, two districts showed up with the exact same population after the 2010 Census. Both the 8th District that covers Daviess and McLean counties in western Kentucky now represented by Republican Sen. Joe Bowen of Owensboro and Democratic Sen. Denise Harper Angel’s 35th District in Louisville had 106,187 constituents.

The 2010 U.S. Census data for Kentucky came out on Thursday. The General Assembly must redraw the lines of state legislative and congressional districts before the 2012 election filing deadline, which is held on the last Tuesday in January.

- Ryan Alessi


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