The legislature is redistricted following every Census by a three-member board consisting of the governor, attorney general and secretary of state.
Last time, Democrats were in charge. It didn’t do them much good thanks to the ensuing red tidal wave unleashed by animus toward the black president with the foreign name.
Now Republicans hold every seat on the board (plus every other statewide and congressional office) and a super-majority in the legislature. So, Democrats will be expected to bend over and say, “Thank you, sir, may I have another?”
Today, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge pushed to the front of the partisan parade with a news conference at the Capitol.
Rutledge announced appointments to lead her “team” on redistricting: former Republican Party chair Doyle Webb, as leader of the redistricting board, and two former Republican legislators, Andy Davis of Little Rock and Doug House of North Little Rock.
They promised compact districts, fairly drawn.
The Census isn’t complete yet.
Governor Hutchinson and Secretary of State John Thurston will have votes, too. And legislators can be expected to seek to fine-tune their districts for electoral advantage. EVERYBODY can’t get what they want. One thing IS sure: Democrats can’t get anything.
One of the first orders of business will be looking for ways to correct Democratic Rep. Ashley Hudson’s win of a West Little Rock House seat in a tight race with Republican Jim Sorvillo. House was on the Pulaski County Election Commission battle lines attempting to prevent that from happening.
Congressional districts will be redrawn by the legislature.
UPDATE: Arkansas Voters First, which tried unsuccessfully to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot for a nonpartisan redistricting commission, wasn’t impressed by Rutledge’s leaders. Said Bonnie Miller, chair of the organization:
“Doyle Webb’s appointment as Director of Redistricting for the Board of Apportionment is a very clear sign that the State of Arkansas is intent on making this the most political redistricting cycle in state history. We expected the redistricting process to protect one political party at the expense of fair representation, but this is a joke. As former chair of the Arkansas Republican Party for 12 years, Mr. Webb’s primary responsibility will be to make sure the good old boy system is alive and well in Arkansas. We can think of no more clear example of why Arkansas continues to need an independent — non-partisan — redistricting commission.”