Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Ben Quayle's Reelection Prospects Dim, Just a Little

Arizona redistricting changes game for Quayle

When Ben Quayle ran for a seat in the United States House of Representatives, he outraged Democrats when he did so on a message declaring President Barack Obama to be the worst President in history.

Running in a heavily-favoured Republican riding, there was little possibility they could defeat Quayle, thus punishing him for what they considered to be an offensive message. (As Obama continues to stumble toward the conclusion of this Presidential term, it's becoming increasingly clear that such individuals were offended by Quayle's words because they are so nearly true.)

But as the 2012 elections approach, Democrats will now have a greater opportunity to defeat Quayle. Following redistricting in Arizona, Quayle's district is no longer heavily Republican. However, his district retains a narrow Republican advantage in voter registration.

Some may entertain the notion that Quayle was specifically targetted by Democrats -- two Democrats and an independent on the redistricting commission voted against a single Republican to approve the changes -- but this actually does not seem to be the case.

While the changes in Quayle's district are clearly a disadvantage to him, it does create a heavily-Republican district which currently has no incumbent.

This isn't to say there will be no controversy surrounding these changes. This is the first redistricting conducted under a new law in Arizona that assigns the authority to determine redistricting to independent commissions, as opposed to the state legislature.

This is an improvement. However, the law also requires that respect "communities of interest" while still observing geogrpahic and municipal political boundaries. This could provide the impetus for significant political manipulation of the process, although there is no evidence that is what has taken place in this case.

The only thing that has happened is that Ben Quayle will have to work a little harder to be reelected in 2012. There's nothing wrong with that.

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