Still more congressional redistricting proposals have been filed and yesterday came one with some Republican gerrymandering:

Sen. Bart Hester introduced a plan to split Pulaski County, the state’s most populous and reliable Democratic vote, between the 1st and 4th districts, where it is now solely in the 2nd district. The 2nd District Republican congressman, French Hill, lives in Pulaski County but neither he nor his immediate Republican predecessor, Tim Griffin, ever carried the county.

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Hester’s 2nd District would include part of Pulaski, all of Jefferson and range deep into the Delta, where it is now essentially a Central Arkansas district. To simplify: Hester’s bill seems to assign the parts of the county with the largest Black population into the 2nd District and moves the whiter parts of the county to the 4th, including the precinct in which Hill lives.

As it stands, Hill would face re-election to a district in which he doesn’t live. That’s legal, but is sometimes considered a negative for a candidate. Maybe he could move to Pine Bluff, home to a bank that helped increase his fortune by buying his bank.

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Hester’s 3rd district, where he lives, would consist of Baxter, Benton, Boone, Carroll, Crawford, Madison, Marion, Newton, Searcy, and Washington counties.

Three more proposals were filed today — two by Sen. Alan Clark and one by Rep. Reginald Murdock. One of Clark’s bills would split off part of northern Pulaski County into the 1st District; part of southwestern Pulaski to the 4th District, and leave the rest in the 2nd with Boone, Carroll, Conway, Faulkner, Marion, Newton, Perry,  Saline, Searcy, Van Buren, and White. The remaining section would include Hill’s home precinct. Another Clark bill does a similar three-way split of Pulaski.

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Murdock, a Democrat, attempts to draw a 2nd District with Delta counties, including Jefferson and Pulaski. They include the most Democratic counties in the state and also the highest percentage of Black voters. I think you can throw this one on the scrap heap, but here’s his 2nd District:

Arkansas, Ashley, Bradley, Calhoun, Chicot, Cleveland,  Crittenden, Cross, Desha, Drew, Jefferson, Lee, Lincoln, Mississippi, Monroe, Phillips, Prairie, Conway, Faulkner, Perry, Pulaski, St. Francis, and Woodruff.

The House and Senate committees considering these bills will meet at 1 p.m. Thursday.

 

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