Saturday, July 16, 2011

Southeast Wisconsin Redistricting

Madison Republicans are rushing to complete reapportionment of Wisconsin legislative districts before possibly losing their monopoly on power in this summer's recall elections. The new legislative maps seek to undo any potential Democratic gains in the recall elections and to cement the position of Republicans currently representing swing districts.

Here in southeastern Wisconsin, the 21st Senate District has included all of Racine County except for Rochester in the northwest and Burlington in the southwest. The 22nd Senate district has covered most of Kenosha County except for Wheatland in the far west, plus the addition of Burlington in the northwest. Below is a map of the two districts, with an artificial gap between them:

Kenosha's 22nd District has been solidly Democratic for ages. Home for a long time to American Motors / Chrysler, the City of Kenosha is an overwhelmingly union town. Racine's 21st District has been more of a swing district; Democrats held the seat after Republican George Petak was recalled in 1996, but Republican Van Wanggaard unseated Democrat John Lehman in 2010.

Instead of having one senator for Racine County and another for Kenosha County, the new map gives Wyngaard a safe exurban-rural district consisting of the western portions of both counties. There is no senator currently living in the proposed 22nd District, which puts the City of Kenosha together with the City of Racine. Democrat Robert Wirch, who has represented the 22nd Senate District since 1997 (and is facing a recall for being one of the senators who absconded from the state in February to deny Republicans a quorum) does not live within the boundaries of the new district.

Here's the Senate districts as being approved by the 2011 legislature:

And the new assembly districts:

I see that Democrats Cory Mason and Bob Turner are thrown together into the same district. I'm sorry to notice that the map I swiped doesn't extend down into Kenosha, and I can't tell whether Peter Barca and John Steinbrink are also being pitted one against the other.

I have always made a point of voting in every election, but it's hard to imagine how my vote can possibly make a difference in Wisconsin for the next decade. Van Wanggaard will continue to represent the 21st Senate District until some more purebred Tea Partisan unseats him in a future primary. I'm drawn out of Cory Mason's district into
Republican Robin Vos's.

Having thus secured their hegemony over the legislative branch, supreme court, and attorney general's office, the Republicans and their corporate overlords will fight like hell to hold onto the Governor's office. And if they succeed in overcoming that promised recall, the whole state is theirs to FUBAR.

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