Democrats control just about everything in Connecticut politics with strong majorities in both the state Senate and House, the governor’s office, all five congressional seats and both US Senate seats. So they’re used to getting their way. That’s not the case with the Reapportionment Commission trying to redraw legislative districts and congressional districts based on the latest census information. And Republicans are using it to their advantage.
By law, the commission is evenly divided with four Democrats and four Republicans (and with former state Auditor Kevin Johnston added ostensibly to break ties). And the GOP is using every bit of leverage it has.
State senate district lines were agreed to after midnight Tuesday. The state house districts were agreed to earlier this week. However, the two sides are not even close on the congressional districts particularly the 4th, currently represented by US Rep. Jim Himes according to a source close to the talks (a non-legislator).
Meanwhile, Gov. Dannel Malloy is taking the approach somewhere between, “Don’t make me turn this car around” and “Do I hafta do everything around here?” Malloy actually said, “They should get their act together and get reapportionment done. It’s an odd number of people [with Johnston]. Get a vote, and get it done, and stop playing around with it…We know how bad Washington looks. We don’t need that replicated in our own state…So you know, ‘The ayes have it.’ Have a vote.” Whoa.
Malloy also said earlier this week that having the redistricting battle end up in the courts would be “a gigantic mistake.” Yet, that is exactly where it is heading. State Senate Majority Leader Marty Looney (D-New Haven) said the Republican proposal on the lines of the 4th congressional district are such that, “It’s unlikely any Democrat could be successful.”
On to court they go.