A quick roundup of Congressional redistricting finds Andy Barr giving up in the 6th after his fellow Republicans strengthened themselves and left the Tea Panderer out in the cold.
The bill was signed into law on Friday by Gov. Beshear. After the House and Senate failed to come to an agreement on their own maps, House Speaker Greg Stumbo and 5th District Congressman Hal Rogers got together and crafted a map of their own.
That map strengthens all incumbents, including Ben Chandler. This angered 6th District area Republicans, like state Sen. Damon Thayer. A week after trying to expunge the area’s own Senator, Thayer was forced to pivot, flip-flopping his position so that now he finds himself incensed and offended by the redistricting process. Our hearts go out to him, and the others. From the CJ:
Sen. Alice Forgy Kerr, R-Lexington, called HB 302 the “Ben Chandler Lifetime Employment Act.”
Thayer called the bill an “insult” to the people of Central Kentucky and described it as “horrific.”
….Rep. Stan Lee, R-Lexington, complained that “we have turned our allegiance more to the congressional delegation than to the taxpayers.” He said the people in his district oppose the plan.
Rep. Lonnie Napier, R-Lancaster, said his constituents don’t want to move from the 6th District to the 2nd, as the plan requires.
He said the people in his district are “not a bit happy.”
Now unlike Thayer’s plan to disappear Kathy Stein, the Hal Rogers compromise map doesn’t do anything too crazy… it just shifts a few lines and Brett Guthrie should be a) concerned, and b) offended that so many Republicans are unhappy about now having his conservative credentials as their new Congressman.
What do Fayette-area Republicans have against Brett Guthrie?
Garland Barr IV was similarly offended by Hal Rogers’ plan. He said:
If you want to call it the “Ben Chandler Lifetime Employment Act” and you want to spend your time appealing to voters who can no longer vote for you because they are now represented by Brett Guthrie, that’s your choice, but it’s not particularly smart to declare your race lost while simultaneously alienating and denigrating your new voters.
The only explanation for why Barr and his allies would crap all over Hal Rogers and the Republican power nexus that crafted these maps is that the Barr campaign is continuing its strategy of pandering to the Tea Party.
Cynically believing the Tea Partiers and rank and file conservative activists to be total idiots, Andy Barr is trying to make them believe this was all Ben Chandler’s doing. Which is simply not true. Barr and 6th District republicans were pawned by Rogers and the Republican controlled delegation to make the other districts more conservative.
Each of the four Republican members, Reps. Brett Guthrie, Ed Whitfield, Hal Rogers and retiring Rep. Geoff Davis, are drawn into conservative-oriented seats.
There is a catch for Republicans, however: In keeping their House members safe, they also bolstered Democratic Rep. Ben Chandler by shifting more Democratic voters into his district. Chandler is a top GOP target who survived the 2010 election in one of the closest races of the year. Under the plan, Chandler’s Lexington-based 6th District seat will become slightly more Democratic-friendly.
Sonka/LEO’s Fat Lip has more on both the internal GOP squabbling that led to this compromise, as well as some sharp words from Ms. Kathy Stein for Thayer and Kerr and a quick numbers game looking at how the new 6th might alter vote turnouts for Barr and Chandler.
Though it looked like congressional redistricting would go to the courts, since the legislature couldn’t reach a compromise, that will no longer be the case. A wild morning full of emotions and accusations lead to the passage of House Bill 302, which will now go in the books and finalize the boundaries for congressional districts in Kentucky.
Though an agreement appeared to be reached a week ago, it was nixed at the last minute by central Kentuckian Republicans, particularly Sen. Damon Thayer and 6th District congressional candidate Andy Barr, who got Tea Partiers from their area to flood Republican senators with calls telling them not to agree to it. While the deal reached eased the concerns of Republicans in other districts, it does give Chandler a slightly more favorable district than what he previously had. In nixing the deal, several Republicans were quite liberal in expressing their anger at Barr for sabotaging it (particularly Tom Jensen).