New political card game

PHOENIX, Ariz. (KGUN) – Something happened this week that will affect Arizona politics for the next ten years. The Arizona Independent Constituency Commission just divided the state into districts that politicians will campaign to represent.

A new census is released every ten years, so every ten years states adjust political maps that determine which districts politicians leave from.

In Arizona, an independent commission draws the maps. It includes two Republicans, two Democrats and an independent who chairs the commission.

Commissioners are expected to use the latest censuses and voting history to decide district boundaries with the goal of reaching roughly equal populations, protecting minority rights under the Federal Voting Rights Act , the shape and geography of districts, common political interests and the competitiveness of a district between parties.

Political analysts look at the cards to try to predict who can win in which district.

This year, most agree the cards could help Republicans win six of Arizona’s nine seats in the US House. Republicans now have four seats.

In southern Arizona, the district stretching from central Tucson to Yuma retains most of the qualities that already led to eight years in Congress for Democrat Raul Grijalva.

Democrat Anne Kirkpatrick is retiring from the Congressional District which stretches from Tucson to Cochise County. This region has a history of Democrats and Republicans winning by narrow margins. Analysts say the new district lines make it slightly more Republican.

Democrat Tom O’Halleran is seen as vulnerable as the new district he’s reportedly running for is now more strongly Republican.

Commissioners unanimously approved the congressional card, but Democrats voted against the new legislative cards. They are seen as likely to retain Republican majorities among state lawmakers.

One of the Democratic commissioners felt that the Republican commissioners were determined to get the legislative cards of the state they wanted.

Shereen Lerner said: “It could have been a great card. It could have been a map that really showed a compromise that really showed that we were here for the good of the state. I don’t feel like we ended up with this card.

But Republican commissioners say they voted for cards that are good for the state and individual districts.

The Independent, which chairs the committee, says multiple seats for state legislators are not a lock for either party.

Ericka Neuberg said: “There are four real toss ups that really put the balance of power in our legislature totally up in the air.”

The new limits will come into effect in time for next year’s congressional elections.



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