Sen. Thayer releases his proposed congressional map that's similar to current version

11/29/2011 11:12 AM

One of the Republican architects of proposed new congressional maps has unveiled his plan that would keep the districts similar to their current make-up, although the 6th District would get slightly more Republican.

Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, chairs the senate state government committee, which will handle much of the redistricting issue in that chamber.

His new proposed maps keeps key population centers in their current districts, including Owensboro/Daviess County in the 2nd congressional district, Ashland/Boyd County in the 4th District and the conservative suburb counties south of Lexington would remain in the 6th District.

Thayer unveiled the map during the taping of an interview on Pure Politics Tuesday morning. He said the map is his own plan and isn’t one that has been drafted by the Senate Republican caucus. He also said he hasn’t spoken to Kentucky’s members of Congress about it yet.

“I believe (it’s) a fair map that makes very few changes in the current district lines – except those required by the changes in population,” Thayer said Tuesday. “It’s a map that does not seek to give new partisan advantages to either of the two political parties. It seeks to really maintain the status quo.”

(To see the interview, watch Pure Politics Tuesday at 7 p.m./6 p.m. Central on Insight’s cn|2).

Each of the congressional districts must contain the same number of constituents: 723,228.

And Thayer said he didn’t calculate the voter registration in the newly-drawn districts while creating the map.

Thayer’s draft makes the most significant changes to the political make-up of the 6th District, which is represented by Democratic U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler of Versailles.

Chandler won his 2010 re-election bid by just 648 votes over Lexington Republican Andy Barr.

And Thayer’s proposal would add more conservative areas by including the roughly 6,000 people in Northern Scott County who are currently in the 4th District and about 6,500 people from southern Lincoln County – an area currently in the 1st District. Thayer also proposes moving more Democratic Powell County and half of Montgomery County to the 5th Congressional District represented by U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers of Somerset. And Thayer would move more Republican Estill County to Roger’s district as well.

That would be a net change of about 12,000 fewer registered Democrats in the 6th District, according to the Pure Politics analysis.

It would have 13,000 fewer Democrats than the map that Chandler and the other members of Congress drafted together as a suggestion. That map would move all of Scott County into the 4th District, represented by U.S. Rep. Geoff Davis of Hebron.

And it has 16,000 fewer Democrats than the map Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo proposed earlier in November. Stumbo’s map made significant changes to the districts, moving population centers including Jessamine and Garrard counties from the 6th District to the 2nd and Daviess County from the 2nd to the 1st.

Thayer said Daviess County will be the main bargaining chip as Senate Republicans and House Democrats try to craft the final map.

Here is what the districts currently look like:

And here is what Stumbo released earlier this month:

(Read more analysis and reaction of those maps from Pure Politics.)

About Ryan Alessi

Ryan Alessi joined cn|2 in May 2010 as senior managing editor and host of Pure Politics. He is now pursuing an advanced degree in non-fiction writing from Murray State University and is a regular contributor to Pure Politics. Ryan has covered politics for more than 14 years, including seven years as a reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Ryan can be reached at purepolitics@twcable.com or @mycn2 on Twitter.

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