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ILGOP stirs up remap questions

Wednesday, May 1, 2019 - Posted by Rich Miller

* ILGOP press release from April 23rd…

“Supporters of fair maps should be concerned that they must now rely on Pritzker’s personal determination of what’s ‘fair’ rather than a concrete pledge to veto gerrymandered legislative maps and enact independent redistricting reform. Pritzker walking back his fair map pledge is unfortunate, yet unsurprising. Voters always knew Pritzker had the support of Speaker Madigan, but now we know why. Pritzker is flip-flopping on fair maps so he can protect Madigan’s grip on power for another decade, overriding the will of Illinois voters. What will Pritzker’s next flip-flop be?” - Illinois Republican Party Spokesman Aaron DeGroot

In an interview yesterday with the State Journal-Register, Governor J.B. Pritzker seemed to walk back a pledge to veto legislative redistricting maps drawn with political considerations. Pritzker said, “I would veto a map that I thought was an unfair one.”

“Unfair” is a far cry from Pritzker’s concrete pledge in 2018 to veto gerrymandered maps drawn by elected officials with political considerations.

Last year, Pritzker told Capitol Fax’s Rich Miller he would veto a map that was drawn “in any way” by legislators, political leaders, or their staffs. At the time, Miller asked gubernatorial candidates:

    “Will you pledge as governor to veto any state legislative redistricting map proposal that is in any way drafted or created by legislators, political party leaders and/or their staffs or allies? The exception, of course, would be the final official draft by LRB.”

Pritzker replied:

    “Yes, I will pledge to veto. We should amend the constitution to create an independent commission to draw legislative maps, but in the meantime, I would urge Democrats and Republicans to agree to an independent commission to handle creating a new legislative map…”

A bipartisan, bicameral coalition of lawmakers in the General Assembly support fair maps. The only people standing in the way of redistricting reform are Mike Madigan, John Cullerton, and now, J.B. Pritzker. It only took Pritzker 100 days in office to flip-flop on fair maps and side with Speaker Madigan over the people of Illinois.

* An eerily similar SJ-R editorial from three days later

Thumbs Down: To Gov. J.B. Pritzker for walking back his support for a fair legislative map drawing process.

The maps that determine districts for the General Assembly and Congress are redrawn every decade after the decennial census, which is next scheduled to happen in 2020. Many — including this editorial board — want an independent commission to draw the map, removing legislators from the process.

In March 2018, Rich Miller of the Capitol Fax political blog asked the gubernatorial candidates the following: “Will you pledge as governor to veto any state legislative redistricting map proposal that is in any way drafted or created by legislators, political party leaders and/or their staffs or allies? The exception, of course, would be the final official draft by LRB.”

Then-candidate Pritzker replied: “Yes, I will pledge to veto. We should amend the constitution to create an independent commission to draw legislative maps, but in the meantime, I would urge Democrats and Republicans to agree to an independent commission to handle creating a new legislative map. That designated body should reflect the gender, racial, and geographic diversity of the state and look to preserve the Voting Rights Act decisions to ensure racial and language minorities are fully represented in the electoral process.”

That was a strong answer. But as he marked 100 days as governor, Pritzker’s tune changed.

“Certainly I continue to believe that maps should be drawn fairly,” Pritzker told the SJ-R earlier this week. “I would veto a map that I thought was an unfair one.” But he said there are “a lot of priorities that I’ve moved forward with. … Suffice to say drawing the map fairly in congressional and legislative races is important.”

There is no doubt that the drawing of legislative maps needs to be done in a more fair manner. That only happens if lawmakers are removed from the process. Pritzker has said he wants to bring forth a different Illinois. Throwing his support behind a fair map-making process would be a good start.

* Change Illinois put out a press release today headlined “Is Pritzker back-tracking on fair maps?” The group excerpted the SJ-R editorial and ended with this

Contact your state legislators and Gov. Pritzker to demand they support reform today and call a vote for the Fair Maps Amendment.

I didn’t post the ILGOP press release because I checked in with a Pritzker spokesperson who told me the governor has not changed his position at all from his answer to me last year. He was apparently just using shorthand.

Inquiries from the SJ-R editorial board and Change Illinois would likely have elicited the same response.

       

18 Comments
  1. - lake county democrat - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 1:05 pm:

    His “shorthand” gets a failing grade - there’s a universe of difference between “I’ll veto a politically drawn map” (a pretty objective standard) vs. “I’ll veto an ‘unfair’ map.” Of course, if the Democrats keep their supermajorities, a veto will just be kabuki anyway, which is why they should put it to the voters. Come to think of it, weren’t they just saying the other day how important it is to let voters vote on changes to the state constitution, or did I just imagine that?


  2. - Fax Machine - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 1:12 pm:

    Trying to wrest the re-map away from the General Assembly would require both houses to pass an amendment with 3/5 majorities (if it made the ballot voters would approve it with over 70%).

    Trying to get enough Democratic members revolt to make that happen would require literally all of his political capital and likely would still not work. It’s better to spend his time and energy on things that can get done.

    Right now the veto threat is the only thing he has to make sure the maps are fair so that’s what he’s using. If voters think he doesn’t live up to his promise, they can hold him accountable in the 2022 election if they care enough about it.


  3. - anon2 - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 1:15 pm:

    == the governor has not changed his position at all ==

    If JB sticks to his original position, will the state GOP withdraw their attack and thank him?

    == weren’t they just saying the other day how important it is to let voters vote on changes to the state constitution? ==

    Weren’t Republicans just saying the other day that they oppose letting voters vote on whether to adopt a graduated income tax?


  4. - JB13 - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 1:18 pm:

    “Pritzker spokesperson who told me the governor has not changed his position at all from his answer to me last year. He was apparently just using shorthand.”

    Ah. The colloquial sense of the words. Got it.


  5. - SIUEalum - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 1:20 pm:

    When Wisconsin, Michigan, North Carolina, Utah, Texas, and other GOP-led states start drawing ‘fair maps’, so should we. Until then, turnabout is fair play and Illinois should offset some of the rampant GOP gerrymandering in other states.


  6. - Just Me 2 - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 1:30 pm:

    I’m calling BS on J.B.’s spokesperson. Pledging to veto a map that was drawn by legislators, and saying he will sign a map he thought was fair, are two different things.


  7. - Just Me 2 - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 1:33 pm:

    SIUEalum - Ah, the “they’re corrupt, so we should be equally corrupt to balance it out” excuse. Classy. I wonder what you would say if you lived in one of those states.


  8. - Captain Obvious - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 1:45 pm:

    Come on, who really believed he had any intention of vetoing any map drawn with political intentions? And who really believes that such a map is even possible? When you win the election, you get to have it your way to the extent allowed by case law. The Dems would be foolish to squander a golden opportunity to hamstring the GOP for the next ten years, and they are not going to.


  9. - Concerned Dem - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 1:47 pm:

    Any “Fair Map” Legislation should include fair maps for county, city and other local government entities too. Republican duplicity on this issue isn’t confined to being ok with gerrymandering Congress, it’s wide spread at the local level too but you never hear a peep from them about changing that.


  10. - anon2 - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 1:51 pm:

    The Republican position on gerrymandering is directly related to whether they are in a red or blue state. There is no general principle of fairness in this regard that all Republicans subscribe to.


  11. - SIUEalum - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 2:05 pm:

    Just me 2 - I’ve lived in two states I named and I thought that gerrymandering was BS then just as I do now, Illinois included. But, it’s not a problem that one state can fix. I hope the Dems draw a blatantly partisan map. I hope that the GOP appeals it to the US Supreme Court. I hope that the Supreme Court puts a stop to this mess and takes politics out of the equation.


  12. - SilenceDoGood - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 2:06 pm:

    The ILGOP would be doing the same exact thing if they had the opportunity. Has anyone ask DeGroot what his thoughts are on other GOP state doing the same exact thing?


  13. - Chicagonk - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 2:23 pm:

    The census website has some interesting data on population by district. The average congressional district in 2022 will have 750,000 people. Currently only the 14th is close to that number. Every downstate district averages out to 695,000 people. My wild guess is for the US House, assuming we lose only 1 seat in Congress, Kinzinger’s district is the one that gets squeezed.


  14. - TominChicago - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 2:34 pm:

    lakecountydem What constitutes a “politically unfair map” is inherently in the eye of the beholder.


  15. - Chap09 - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 2:40 pm:

    Rich, you are better than the headline you offer here. The story here is not the IL GOP stirring something up, but J.B. walking back a campaign promise.


  16. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 2:41 pm:

    ===but J.B. walking back===

    He didn’t as far as I can tell. I followed up, unlike everyone else.


  17. - DeseDemDose - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 2:54 pm:

    After the Rauner years anything said by Republicans, maybe until doomsday in Illinois is filed under “they got a F’IN problem category”.


  18. - Raid - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 4:11 pm:

    Fair maps, fair taxes, fairly simple


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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