Republicans have the 8 most populous House districts, Democrats have 7 of 8 least populated

03/21/2011 11:27 AM

When lawmakers redraw the state House district lines, they will likely have to extend some of the most urban districts in Louisville and Northern Kentucky to pick up precincts in the growing suburbs.

Republican lawmakers who represent areas in the outskirts of Jefferson County and its ring counties — as well as in Northern Kentucky — now find themselves with many more people than what a House district should have, according to the new 2010 Census data that came out last week.

Rep. Sal Santoro’s district in Northern Kentucky has nearly a half-district extra worth of constituents. Santoro, a Republican from Florence, was first elected in November 2006.

Santoro’s district that covers Boone County has 61,922 people, according to the Census figures. That’s more than 42% above the target amount.

The target number for House districts is 43,394. That represents the number of constituents if all 100 state House districts had an evenly distributed population.

Much of Kentucky’s growth over the last decade came in Northern Kentucky, the Louisville suburbs and some Lexington suburbs — particularly in Scott County.

Rep. Ryan Quarles, a Georgetown Republican, just won election to that Scott County district (the 62nd) in November. During the last redistricting, Scott County needed precincts from northern Fayette County to fulfill population requirements. But Scott had the fastest growth rate in Kentucky over the last decade and now has 47,173 residents — more than enough to be its own district.

That being said, here are the top 10 largest House districts as currently drawn, of which the top eight are held by Republicans.

#1 — Santoro, a Florence Republican, (60th Dist. southern and western Boone County) 61,922
#2 — Rep. Kevin Bratcher, a Louisville Republican, (29th Dist. in southern Jefferson County) 58,348
#3 — Quarles, a Georgetown Republican, (62nd Dist. in Scott and part of Fayette counties) 58,232
#4 — Rep. Bob DeWeese, a Louisville Republican, (48th Dist. in northern Jefferson County) 57,316
#5 — Rep. Brad Montell, a Shelbyville Republican, (58th Dist. in Shelby and most of Spencer counties) 55,670
#6 — Rep. David Osborne, a Prospect Republican, (59th Dist. in southern Oldham and a few Jefferson County precincts) 55,004
#7 — Rep. Addia Wuchner, a Florence Republican, (66th Dist. in northeast Boone County) 52,522
#8 — Rep. Jim DeCesare, a Rockfield Republican, (21st Dist. in Warren County) 52,240
#9 — Rep. Jody Richards, a Bowling Green Democrat, (20th Dist. in central Warren County) 52,049
#10 — Rep. Jimmie Lee, an Elizabethtown Democrat, (25th Dist. in Hardin County) 51,532

Three other districts have more than 50,000 constituents now, meaning they would have to shed some precincts. They include Democratic Reps. Linda Belcher of Shepherdsville and Larry Clark of Louisville and Republican Rep. Stan Lee, who represents the southern Lexington suburbs.

On the other side of the redistricting scale, several of the most urban districts and some rural ones, especially in Eastern Kentucky, are among the districts that will need to expand.

Seven of the top eight districts in need of more people are currently represented by Democrats. That includes House Speaker Greg Stumbo of Prestonsburg, whose 95th District that covers much of Floyd County is currently the fourth most in need of additional people.

The smallest 10 districts in population all would need between 5,500 and 8,000 new constituents. The state representatives from the 10 least populous districts:

#1 — Rep. Darryl Owens, a Louisville Democrat, (43rd Dist. in downtown Louisville) 35,580
#2 — Rep. Arnold Simpson, a Covington Democrat, (65th Dist. that covers Covington in northeast Kenton County) 35,617
#3 — Rep. Teddy Edmonds, a Beattyville Democrat, (91st Dist. covering Breathitt, Estill and Lee counties) 36,437
#4 — Stumbo, a Prestonsburg Democrat, (95th Dist. covering much of Floyd County) 36,945
#5 — Rep. Wade Hurt, a Louisville Republican, (37th Dist. in southern Louisville) 37,367
#6 — Rep. Dennis Keene, a Wilder Democrat, (67th Dist. at the northern tip of Campbell County) 37,613
#7 — Rep. Reginald Meeks, a Louisville Democrat, (42nd Dist. in western Louisville) 37,649
#8 — Rep. Kevin Sinnette, an Ashland Democrat, (100th Dist. covering Boyd County) 37,710
#9 — Rep. Tim Couch, a Hyden Republican, (90th Dist. covering Clay, Leslie and part of Harlan counties) 37,809
#10 — Rep. Steven Rudy, a West Paducah Republican, (1st Dist. covering Ballard, Fulton, Hickman, Carlisle and part McCracken counties) 37,943

Another 35 House lawmakers represent districts that fall within 5% of the target amount (between 41,224 and 45,564).

Of course, one of those in that “safe” population range is Republican Rep. Dwight Butler of Harned who has one of — if not, the most — bizarrely shaped district. The 18th District he represents stretches from the eastern Owensboro suburbs in Daviess County, through all of Hancock and Breckinridge counties and then has a thin slice that extends through Hardin County and into Bullitt County.

State lawmakers must agree on the legislative lines and the congressional district lines before the 2012 candidate filing deadline.

- Ryan Alessi


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