Redrawing congressional maps
Republicans enjoy slight advantage
in decennial reapportionment


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2000, Human Events

Having retained control of state legislatures in such large states as Michigan, Florida and Pennsylvania, Republicans are now poised to do very well in congressional reapportionment that will follow the census.

Among the big states, only California, North Carolina and Georgia can be drawn without GOP input from at least one chamber of the legislature or the governor.

After doing a state-by-state study, UPI National Political Analyst Peter Roff said last week, "Including single-member-district states, 190 seats are under the control of the Democrats or are Democrat-leaning as far as plan-drawing goes. For Republicans, 199 seats are under GOP complete supervision or in states where the process tilts to the GOP." Even with all-Democrat control of redistricting for the 54 seats California is expected to have, Roff concludes that "the Republicans are in the best position for redistricting since any time since 1920."

Continuing what has been for them a very unhappy trend, Massachusetts Republicans lost more ground in this election. They are now down to only six of 40 state senators and, after losing four seats Nov. 7, to only 25 of 160 state House seats. Democrats retained all ten U.S. House seats in the Bay State. The best a GOP challenger managed was 30 percent of the vote against Democratic Rep. John Olver in the 1st District in the western part of the state. This is after 10 years of liberal Republican governors -- William Weld from 1990-97 and incumbent Gov. Paul Cellucci since then.

As devastated as they were about the defeat of Sen. John Ashcroft and gubernatorial nominee Jim Talent, Missouri Republicans did have something to cheer about: For the first time since 1947, the GOP won the state Senate and will thus have some check on the Democratic House and Democratic governor-to-be Robert Holden when reapportionment comes up next year. State Sen. Peter Kinder of Cape Girardeau, one of the most conservative legislators, will become the first Republican Senate president pro tem in 53 years.

Jesse Jackson marched in Palm Beach, alleging that blacks somehow were deprived of their right to vote in Florida. Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile went so far in the New York Post last week to charge that "in disproportionately black areas, people faced dogs, guns and were required to have three forms of ID." She provided no evidence. In fact, blacks, who make up 13 percent of the voting age population in the state, cast 16 percent of the presidential vote, up from 10 percent in 1996.

Democrats claim that the 19,000 spoiled ballots in Palm Beach County is a huge number and is due to supposedly flawed and confusing "butterfly ballots," but Republican Duval County (Jacksonville), with only 61 percent as many votes cast, had 26,000 spoiled ballots. Atlanta and Chicago (home of Gore campaign head Bill Daley) also both had a higher percentage of spoiled ballots.

A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll of Florida adults published last Thursday showed that when asked, "Who do you think should be declared the winner of the presidential election in Florida?" 41 percent answered Bush, 23 percent said Al Gore and 31 percent said "too soon to say." Another poll, this one conducted by Harris Interactive -- formerly Louis Harris & Associates -- surveyed more than 120,000 voters via the Internet and found that 94 percent opposed a hand count of ballots in only four counties. About 30 percent would hand count the entire state while 40 percent opposed any hand count at all. Just over half -- 52 percent -- of the voters said Bush should be president.

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