Senate redistricting map won't put any incumbents against each other

08/15/2013 03:18 PM

The Senate’s proposed redistricting map that Republican leaders unveiled Thursday wouldn’t put any incumbent Senators against each other — a departure from the last version that caused political and legal heartburn.

Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, released the map publicly ahead of the start of a special session on Monday for the House and Senate to pass their new district maps. Those district lines should have been done last year using the 2010 U.S. Census numbers but courts ruled that both the chambers’ maps contained at least one district that was outside the constitutionally-acceptable population levels.

Stivers said Thursday that has been rectified. Indeed, the Senate district that caused the problem — the 8th District based around Daviess County — now has nearly the ideal number of constitutions for a senate district at just more than 114,000. It will include Daviess, McLean and Hancock counties. But the 4th District, represented by Democratic Sen. Dorsey Ridley of Henderson, will have a population deviation of 6.57 percent, which is beyond the federal guideline of +/ 5 percent.

Stivers said he thinks that won’t cause any problems because it was the only way to keep counties together and avoid pitting incumbents against each other. Senate Republicans could have easily put Ridley into the same district as Democratic Sen. Jerry Rhoads of nearby Madisonville.

Overall the proposed map hues closely to the current lines. Some of the key differences come in southern and eastern Kentucky, which lost population relative to other parts of the state. Several districts, including Stivers, were expanded to additional counties to make up for drops in population. Many of those eastern Kentucky districts look like ribbons running north-south.

The Democratic Floor Leader, Sen. R.J. Palmer of Winchester, told Pure Politics that he had been briefed by Stivers and was pleased with the map because it was “fair.”

“There are zero open seats,” Palmer said. “That means everyone has their own distinct district.”

In the “golden triangle” region, the 38th District represented by Senate Republican Leader Dan Seum of Louisville would now stretch south to cover all of Bullitt County in addition to Seum’s part of southern Jefferson County.

The Shelby County-based district of Republican Sen. Paul Hornback would extend north to the Ohio River counties of Trimble and Carroll, while the district that had been centered in Franklin, Woodford and Anderson counties would lose its Lexington precincts and, instead, spread north to Owen and Gallatin counties. That district is represented by Democratic Sen. Julian Carroll.

Both of those moves were made to account for growing populations in the Oldham County-based district of Republican Sen. Ernie Harris and the Scott County-based district of Sen. Damon Thayer, respectively.


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