Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Redistricting winners and losers thus far (***Updated to include more potential losers***)

Here's a breakdown of the redistricting winners and losers thus far:


House Democrats - They've succeeded in creating a plan that does not gift wrap the Speaker's race for Republicans, and that's a big win.

Sen. Terry Burton - He's shown enormous backbone in resisting efforts by Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant to take over the redistricting process.  People love a winner, and that's what Burton is.  By rebuffing the Lt. Gov., Burton has grown in stature in a Mississippi Republican Party that is quickly entering its "Post-Haley" era.

GOP gubernatorial candidate Dave Dennis - Watching Phil Bryant stumble through this process has to be similar to what Kirk Fordice felt when Pete Johnson fumbled away the Republican nomination in 1991.  I have a feeling Dennis is waiting in the wings as this play reaches its finale.  He wins no matter how this turns out.

GOP lieutenant governor candidate Tate Reeves - See Dave Dennis above, as Reeves' primary opponent, Sen. Billy Hewes, has been caught up in the mess as a Bryant lieutenant in the redistricting process.


House Republicans - They were on the record as having helped draw districts that they favored, and the majority of them stood ready to vote for the House consensus plan.  Last-minute arm twisting from the MSGOP (on behalf of Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant) put them in the uncomfortable position of voting against a plan they created and really liked.  Because most of them had planned to vote for the House consensus plan until the last minute, they had no alternative plan ready.  That led to the late entry of the Republican alternative that seemed to garner only halfhearted support.

Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant - Being on the losing side of a battle this highly publicized is embarrassing enough.  But losing it while you are the leader of the Republican Senate and engaged in a race for the Republican gubernatorial nomination is a few very large degrees different.  It was an utter failure of leadership, and not very Barbour-like in a party desperately searching for its next Barbour.  Bryant created a huge opening for Dave Dennis to exploit.  And make no mistake about it, there is no "win" left for Bryant at this point in the game.  Bryant either loses the vote in the Senate and the plans go into effect, or he forces the state to spend millions on new elections and court battles.  Not a great position for a fiscal conservative to put himself in. Especially in a battle he chose to fight.

Sen. Billy Hewes - See above, except Hewes loses a bit less, as Bryant is getting most of the airtime while this mess is going down.  He's therefore less likely to catch as much flak from GOP primary voters, but he'll still catch a good bit if he's part of the reason the state has to spend millions of extra dollars.  If Tate Reeves is on his game, Hewes could pay dearly for voting to invite conference.

Sen. Joey Fillingane - Fillingane led the charge for Bryant on this, and burned a few bridges along the way with senators who now hold more sway than he does.

Potential losers (Updated at 5:24 p.m.)

Sen. Buck Clarke (R-Hollandale), Sen. Nolan Mettetal (R-Sardis), Sen. Briggs Hopson (R-Vicksburg), Sen. Ezell Lee (R-Picayune), and Sen. Lydia Chassaniol (R-Winona) - If the Senate does not concur and courts wind up drawing the lines, it's very tough to imagine a situation in which these senators manage to make it back, either because they will wind up in majority minority districts or because their districts will move to another part of the state altogether. If the Senate does not concur, these folks will be heading home.

1 comment:

KellitaJ said...

The people of Mississippi would also be losers if their input was again totally ignored because the courts were forced to redistrict Mississippi. My tiny civilian perspective is that many of us formed a civic group to address redistricting for DeSoto County and attended a dozen public meetings about local and state redistricting. I drove 3 hours to Jackson and used the Legislative computer to make 2 maps that suggested districting in DeSoto for both the Senate and the House and so I felt that The DeSoto Redistricting Committee provided input. the courts would not have heard our requests.
Representative Tommy Reynolds did a brillitant job of redistricting and I thank him for the countless hours it must have taken him (and his team) to do this.