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Republicans weigh 'cracking' cities to doom Democrats

3 331 532
06.07.2021

Kentucky’s GOP congressional delegation entered the redistricting cycle with an unusual request for their state legislative counterparts: leave Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth alone.

The group, which includes Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, wants the state’s Republican supermajority to refrain from cracking Yarmuth's Louisville-based district into three, even if that might deliver them control of all of Kentucky’s six House seats.

“It's been my experience in studying history that when you get real cute, you end up in a lawsuit — and you lose it. And then the courts redraw the lines,” said Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.). “So my advice would be to keep Louisville blue.”



This kind of redistricting debate — over how aggressively Republicans should try to eliminate the remaining Democratic enclaves in red states — is playing out in cities across the upper South and Midwest. Local Republicans, eager to grow their numbers in Congress and provide launching pads for ambitious state legislators, might be more inclined to carve up those blue pockets. But others in the GOP are wary of a rapid and unpredictable political realignment that complicates the drawing of new maps — and the threat of the legal behemoth Democrats have assembled to counter them.

Unabashed partisan gerrymandering that was commonplace after 2010 is now giving some Republicans pause. Top party strategists are urging state mapmakers to play it safe and draw lines that can withstand demographic change throughout the decade and lawsuits.

"There's an old saying: Pigs get fat. Hogs get slaughtered," said Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.). "And when it comes to redistricting, that is, in fact, the case."

Besides Yarmuth in Louisville, Republicans will also have to consider whether to take the knife to the seats of Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) in Nashville; Reps. Sharice Davids (D-Kan.) and Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) in Kansas City on both sides of the border and perhaps even freshman Rep. Frank Mrvan (D-Ind.) in northwest Indiana. Also potentially on the chopping block: the city of Omaha, the "cracking" of which could shore up Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) in one of the nation’s swingiest seats.



The decisions they make will shape the balance of power in Congress for the next five cycles. And because Nebraska splits its Electoral College........

© Politico


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