The Union Recorder

Homepage

March 30, 2014

Georgia district lines mean strong GOP advantage

MILLEDGEVILLE —

Georgia is undoubtedly a conservative-leaning state.

Republicans hold both U.S. Senate seats and a majority of U.S. House seats. The GOP holds every statewide constitutional office and controls both chambers of the General Assembly. Republican presidential nominees have won the state's electoral votes in seven out of the last eight elections.

But a close examination shows the Georgia electorate is more closely divided than those results suggest. The difference rests in how the Republican Assembly has drawn congressional and legislative boundaries to their party's advantage.

Consider that nine out of 14 Georgia congressmen are Republicans, almost a 2-to-1 advantage. That's about the same split in the GOP advantage at the statehouse. Yet President Barack Obama managed 45.4 percent of the vote here in 2012. Four years earlier, he fell just shy of 47 percent.

Alongside the 2008 presidential race, Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss had to go to a runoff to defeat his Democratic opponent. Now, with Chambliss retiring, Georgia is poised for another competitive Senate race in November.

"Republicans solidified their grasp on state politics through redistricting," wrote Democratic strategist Eric Gray in a recent analysis of Georgia's political boundaries. "They've maxed out their influence."

To be sure, both political parties have taken advantage of redistricting power that follows every Census. Still in power after the 2000 Census, Georgia Democrats drew maps so egregious that federal courts discarded them. And it should be noted that the Voting Rights Act — which protects minority influence — plays a role in concentrating Democratic-leaning minorities into districts. That scenario results in the election of many black Democrats, while neighboring districts elect white Republicans. Of Georgia's five U.S. House Democrats, four are black Democrats representing districts where a majority of the population is non-white.

Yet beyond those factors, Republicans have used their power in statehouses to ensure congressional and legislative results that are much less competitive — if not out of step — with statewide races. It's a disparity that goes beyond the simple explanation that voters sometimes split their ballots.

Perhaps most important in the post-2010 redistricting, Georgia lawmakers made sure that an additional House seat — the delegation grew to 14 seats because of population growth — meant that Republicans would pick up a new representative. The new maps gave GOP-heavy north Georgia one more seat than it had before. In central Georgia, Republicans moved Democratic-dominated precincts from GOP Rep. Austin Scott's district to Democrat Sanford Bishop's district. The move didn't directly result in a partisan shift, and arguably helped protect Bishop. But it also firmed up Scott's seat, which had been held by Democrat Jim Marshall before Scott's win in the GOP's 2010 national sweep.

One other key GOP move in a Democratic district hasn't paid off yet, but still gives Republicans a structural advantage in Democrat John Barrow's southeast Georgia district. The 2012 map forced Barrow, the Deep South's last white Democrat in the House, to move before he could even seek re-election, and he had to do so in a district where Romney would win 55 percent of the presidential vote.

Barrow survived, but he will remain near the top of Republicans' target list in each election cycle, and party strategists on both sides believe any open seat election in the district would be an easy GOP pickup. That would mean a 10-4 GOP advantage in the GOP delegation, at the same time that Georgia, as a whole, joins Virginia and North Carolina as a Southern presidential battleground state.

 

1
Text Only
Local News
IMG_5143.JPG

The H.E.A.T traffic enforcement and education initiative began in the Baldwin County Schools corridor Monday. The RADAR Speed Detection Trailer is positioned on Ga. Highway 49.

Features
SRC 5.jpg

The Teen Club, as part of the Twin Lakes Library System's Summer Reading Club, and Reference Supervisor Dabney Kinser do candy science experiments to finish up the science themed reading club experience.

Business
07-25 Chatter.JPG

Chatter Boutique owner Amber Patitucci shows off a new shipment of jewelry. The former educator turned businesswoman is celebrating one year of business. To commemorate the event, the store is featuring a birthday bash sale with items at half price.

Local Sports
Editorials
Columns
Letters
Local Weather Radar
Poll
AP Video
Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando
Facebook
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Stocks
NDN Video
Heartwarming 'Batkid Begins' Documentary is Tear-Jerker Sadie Doesn't Want Her Brother to Grow Up Broken Water Main Floods UCLA "Maxim" Hotness! See Jessica Alba's Sizzling Spread Two women barely avoid being hit by train Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber Reportedly Came To Blows In Ibiza Meet the Man Behind Dumb Starbucks Chris Pratt Adorably Surprises Kids at a 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Screening NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob Golden Sisters on '50 Shades' trailer: 'Look At That Chest!' Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad