Redistricting commission's chances: 50/50
Members of the state’s redistricting commission will gather again tomorrow to try and hash out a Congressional district map, though members of both party caucuses are not overly enthusiastic about the prospects of success.
After a Nov. 30 deadline passed with no agreement, the state Supreme Court gave the commission 21 extra days to come up with a plan and, with only nine days left, it’s clear there’s still some work to do.
According to Sen. Len Fasano, R-North Haven, representatives from each caucus met last Thursday to find out the sticking points. Fasano would not go into detail, but said last week that making congressional districts “more competitive” was a GOP priority.
Republicans had proposed shifting Bridgeport into the 3rd district with New Haven, in an attempt to make the 4th district more competitive. But Fasano suggested, without going into substance, that the GOP proposal will change.
“It probably won’t look similar to that,” he said. “There’s a lot of give and take.”
The Republican proposal drew ire from many camps — Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch said his city should stay in the 5th district while Mayor Mark Boughton of Danbury, which would have moved from the 5th district to the 4th, expressed a similar concern.
On the Democratic side, the Senate majority leader, Martin Looney, D-New Haven, also wouldn’t get into specifics, though he did confirm that commission members would be gathering Tuesday, and expressed some concern that the court would ask for an interim progress report, which it did a decade ago when the process stalled.
Looney also would not say how much the Democratic proposal — which largely kept districts as is, making only minor adjustments for population shifts — had changed, though he did say the proposal would be a “reasonable one.”
Fasano said he was keeping tight-lipped on the revamped Republican proposal, “so that it doesn’t become a battle in the press, but becomes a battle of skill.”
He did say the will was there on both sides of the aisle.
“The is a sense that we’ve got to get it done,” Fasano said.
Nonetheless, many watching the process said they didn’t believe the commission would reach a deal in time — that the court would ultimately be given the job upon the commission’s failure.
“Of course, all this is likely moot as the congressional redistricting will most likely end up in court for the judges to sort out,” Boughton wrote on his blog.
Mark Greenberg, a Republican candidate in the highly contested race for the 5th district, echoed Boughton’s sentiment: “In my opinion, it will probably go to the courts.”
Legislators on the commission don’t sound that much more optimistic. When asked last week to give odds on whether or not the nine-member reapportionment commission would come to an agreement, Fasano said “50-50.”
This week, with all the “give and take,” the odds didn’t change: “Still 50-50,” Fasano said.
Looney, asked the same question, gave a surprisingly similar answer: “I’d say 50-50 at best.”