Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

Editorials

December 21, 2011

Davis decision could help redistricting

Dec. 21, 2011 —     Last week’s surprise decision by Republican U. S. Rep. Geoff Davis not to run for a fifth term could become a positive element in the upcoming congressional redistricting in the Kentucky General Assembly.

    Rep. Davis has built a good record in Congress and most likely could be reelected comfortably in his district even where Democrats hold a registration majority.

    He has been very popular with Carter County voters in his four previous elections.

    The former Army Ranger says he wants to spend more time with his young family. We fully understand and respect his decision and wish him the very best as he goes back to private life.

    State Senate Republicans said last weekend that they want to complete redistricting by the end of the first week of the 2012 session.

    In our opinion, the planned departure of Rep. Davis could make it easier to realign his 4th District with the neighboring 5th District of U. S. Rep. Hal Rogers.

    Population loss in East Kentucky since 2000 makes it necessary to move more voters into the 5th District to achieve balance in keeping with the “one person, one vote” principle.

    Since Davis’ district now exceeds the “ideal” population figures, based on the 2010 census, he should not object to moving three Democratic counties – Carter, Boyd and Elliott – into the 5th District.

    As we advocated recently in this space, such a change would put those three counties into what has always been the state’s “mountain” district, similar to that represented for 40 years by the late U. S. Rep. Carl D. Perkins.

    Each member of Kentucky’s congressional delegation says they will not meddle in the redistricting process but history has shown that is not the case.

    They may not be in Frankfort in person but they surely will have staff members closely monitoring the juggling of precincts and counties as each party tries to gain a political advantage in the 2012 elections and beyond.

    And you can bet that there will be plenty of e-mail and phone traffic between the congressmen and legislative leaders, especially chairs of the two state government committees.

    Since he will not be a candidate in a realigned 4th District, it should be easier for Congressman Davis to resist the temptation to help draw the new boundaries.

    In fact, his last act on behalf of these three counties at the eastern end of the district would be to honor an East Kentucky tradition and let them move back home.

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