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The Dems need to start thinking ahead

Wednesday, Apr 29, 2015

* Mark Brown writes about the newly revamped proposal to put a legislative redistricting reform proposal before the voters next year

(Y)ou can expect Illinois Democrats, who currently control both chambers of the Legislature, to dig in against the commission proposal.

There will be those who don’t want to do anything right now that might help new Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner tip the balance of power away from the Democrats, just as there will be those who think this is a great way to mess with House Speaker Madigan.

A redistricting commission wouldn’t even be appointed until 2021, with its first map to take effect the following year.

It would be extremely shortsighted to judge long-term structural changes on the basis of getting back at individual personalities, who may or may not still be in power then.

I would argue that the Democrats need to start thinking ahead. If Gov. Rauner is reelected, he will almost certainly refuse to sign any Democratic-drawn map. That’ll push the issue to a drawing, where each party will have a 50-50 chance of creating the new district boundaries.

* Meanwhile, from the Trib

Petition-driven efforts to ask voters to change the state’s governing document are extremely limited by the Illinois Constitution.

In striking down the redistricting proposal last year, [Judge Mary Mikva] ruled that provisions that would prevent any of the commissioners from holding various appointed or elected offices for 10 years was an unconstitutional limitation on qualifications to serve in the legislature. That provision was removed in the renewed effort.

To get on the ballot, the proposal would require the valid signatures of 290,216 Illinois voters. A State Board of Elections review of signatures in the previous effort found it likely that the proposal lacked the number needed. This time around, supporters have hired a paid petition-gathering group that has shown success in getting signatures.

“We know we’re going to have challenges in the court system on the constitutionality of the amendment. We know we’re going to have challenges to the petition signatures. We’re very confident we’ll get through that,” FitzSimons said. “Can things go wrong? Things can always go wrong. But again, building on the earlier campaigns, we definitely feel we have an advantage.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Langhorne - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 9:45 am:

    In the meantime, lets redraw supreme ct districts. They were last drawn in 1963.

    Art 6 sec 2 says downstate districts are supposed to be contiguous and of approximately equal size

  2. - seetheforest - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 9:49 am:

    As much as I dislike Madigan, I shudder to think about what would happen to our state if a demagogue like Governor Private Equity had a working majority in the statehouse.
    For the average working person,k it would be like regressing back to 1903.
    Keeping what we have right now is the lesser of two evils.

  3. - Hedley Lamarr - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 10:05 am:

    This is DOA.

  4. - Wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 10:09 am:

    I imagine the Dems are looking first at that big pile of campaign money that Rauner is accumulating and where he intends to apply it.

    I’m guessing we might see some Dem incumbents challenged in primaries with backing from that Rauner-front “progressive Democrat” PAC.

  5. - OneMan - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 10:09 am:

    I think they can get it on the ballot… Really do, with the right folks and money behind it.

  6. - walker - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 10:12 am:

    They can pull this off in the field, and have at least an even chance with the court. Not that it will be easy.

  7. - Upon Further Review - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 10:17 am:

    Absolutely agree as to the need to redistrict the Illinois State Supreme Court. The district need to reflect the where the population is based. Cook County ought not have three seats indefinitely without checking the figures.

  8. - MrJM - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 10:22 am:

    “If Gov. Rauner is reelected…”

    Anyone know the best way to get puke out of a keyboard?

    – MrJM

  9. - Team Sleep - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 10:35 am:

    I can’t imagine the GOP retaking either chamber until at the very least 2018. Unless the Senate is redrawn to include only 40 districts, even Governor Rauner’s mounds of cash can’t overcome the makeup of the GA. I honestly thought Tom Cross came awfully close in 2010. He picked up 6 seats and was in play in a few others. The question eventually comes down to whether Governor Rauner and Leaders Radogno and Durkin can recruit decent candidates and then utilize the heaping piles of Grants & Franklins to their advantage. If we see an HRO repeat of 2014, then no. And if the Senate GOP makes miscalculations like barely helping Katherine Ruocco while giving Shaun Murphy plenty of help then they may be perpetually stuck in the super minority UNTIL the next constitutionally-scheduled remap is done.

  10. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 10:46 am:

    The Jerry Clarke Map we are currently under will now be facing nearly $60 million to make 2 distinct Rauner Caucuses, one for each chamber.

    If Rauner wins a second term, I can see Rauner, working with…30 Senators… 60 Representstives… and try to get a Rauner Map thru, maybe even slicing into the Four Tops for sport.

    The partisan map is a red herring. Rauner wants a “fair” map… with 30 Rauner Senators, 60 Rauner Representatives, and control of the legislative agenda.

    Thinking Rauner wants a GOP map is short sided to Rauner’s main goal; Controlling all aspects of Illinois government.

    We should all be thankful for Jerry Clarke, and his map, if Bill Brady had to lose.

  11. - David Starrett - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 10:59 am:

    Rauner stands a better chance of putting-together a working majority in both chambers by fetching the right name out of Lincoln’s hat than he does under the nonpartisan system proposed here.

  12. - Raunerbot - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 11:01 am:

    Bruce Rauner will be a two-term Governor and will accomplish most of what he wants…in particular election of many more Republican Legislators.

    Democrats have financially ruined our state and have saddled the young with debt, and poor economic opportunities for a better future.

  13. - Raunerbot - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 11:07 am:

    The sooner Rauner gains control of all aspects of Illinois “government” the better.

  14. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 11:08 am:

    Do. Not. Feed. Trolls.

  15. - The Captain - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 11:19 am:

    In 2014 Rauner won 69 House districts, there are 47 Republicans in the House.

    The reason there are only 47 Republicans in the House isn’t because Republican candidates can’t win these districts as drawn. The map is certainly favorable to Democrats (and many incumbents of either party) but the constant focus on it is mostly a red herring.

  16. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 11:29 am:

    - The Captain -,



    It’s macro versus micro.


    MJM winning four straight majorities with a GOP House map.

    What Rauner “did” is fun for talking points, but how each micro district is treated, worked, and won, that’s what matters.

    That’s real, ask Lee Daniels.

  17. - A guy - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 11:34 am:

    All the BS aside, no party should have this kind of control over drawing districts; not mine, not theirs. There are plenty of good, fair models out there. This is non-partisan to me. I wish them all the success in the world and would be happy to help get the requisite signatures.

  18. - Team Sleep - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 11:48 am:

    OW and Captain - I think you both are correct. Rauner showed that these “Dem” districts can be won, but MJM has a stranglehold on a program that works and is tailored to each district’s needs. Leader Durkin and the HRO need to figure that out.

  19. - Conservative Veteran - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 12:19 pm:

    That proposal would be an improvement, compared to the current map-drawing process, but, even if the proposed plan is used, it would be hard to know that the commission members would be nonpartisan. Our legislature should draw maps by using the Iowa method. Iowa draws maps, for congressional, state senate, and state house districts, by using a computer program that doesn’t consider incumbents, parties, or ethnic groups.

  20. - G'Kar - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 12:38 pm:

    I used to be in favor of a non-partisan map. But, unless it is done on a national level,so that states like Texas are also be non-partisan, I’m opposed.

  21. - Norseman - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 1:31 pm:

    Rich, I think you’re on it. An initiative effort is DOA because of the constitutional restrictions. However, if the Dems voted out an amendment for an independent map they’d be in better shape. First, they now look like reformers. Second, they eliminate the fear that the GOP would win the coin toss. Third, an independently drafted map will be more advantageous to the Dems given the demographics of the state. Heck, MJM was able to hold on to the House for all but 2 years of the decade of a GOP map.

    Alas, it will still be a hard sell to politicians who are out for their own interest. They all hope the map will only screw others and not themselves.

  22. - Norseman - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 1:36 pm:

    P.S. A Dem backed CA would place the GOP solons in a real pickle. I bet they are just salivating over the idea of winning the coin toss. While they favored commission before, a Dem plan would be opposed for many contrived reasons (or some actual issues if Dems play unnecessary games). The GOP needs to draw very wild maps to have a chance of creating sufficiently favorable districts to gain a majority in one chamber.

  23. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 1:46 pm:

    Nicely done - Norseman -, on Point.

  24. - Juice - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 2:15 pm:

    I’m not opposed to redistricting reform, but even with a reformed map there are still going to be so many races that are not competitive. I would much rather see a blanket primary system that California adopted a couple of years ago, which would allow for more competition between candidates, and maybe actually produce a few more independent voices in the GA.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Reader comments closed until Tuesday
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Tribune asked 16 mayoral candidates to release tax returns, 6 complied
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* *** UPDATED x3 - Morrison wants emergency meeting of ILGOP - McConnaughay explains - Schneider responds *** Rauner says he tried to drop out of race after primary
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