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Analysis shows slight advantage for GOP in Kentucky House districts

26 June 2017

Republicans dominate the Wyoming Legislature without relying on the old political trick of gerrymandering, or adjusting political boundaries to gain an unfair advantage in elections, an analysis by The Associated Press found.

A map of congressional districts drawn by Pennsylvania's Republican-controlled Legislature helped the GOP win almost three more of the state's U.S. House seats than the party otherwise would have won in last year's election, an Associated Press analysis found. It's created to detect cases in which one party may have won, widened or retained its grip on power through political gerrymandering. Their model was cited recently by a federal appeals court that found Wisconsin's Assembly districts were intentionally gerrymandered in favor of Republicans. The study is based on a formula that compares the statewide average share of each party's vote in the districts with the statewide percentage of seats it wins.

That's about five more than political experts would expect.

Roughly 20 percent of seats up for election had just one major party candidate - seven for Republicans and six for Democrats. That would make for an expectation of about 65 percent, or 65 seats, going to Republicans in Indiana.

The analysis found Republicans won 56 percent of the votes in Ohio House races yet 66 percent of the seats.

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But many Democratic candidates will be facing a stacked deck as Virginia is one of several states where favorably drawn districts have given Republicans a measurable advantage in past elections, an Associated Press analysis shows.

"With the current system, obviously the party in charge is drawing the maps to their advantage", he said. But Missouri ranked in the top tier of uncompetitive states, with almost 60 percent of its state House winners lacking a major-party opponent.

Republicans, who held 106 state House seats after the 2010 elections, have fared even better under the new map.

"You end up having these extreme ideas instead of those that are more central", he said, because candidates only have to please their party's voters.

Former Republican state Rep. Jeff Kottkamp sat on the House committee that redrew House maps.

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OH has seen growing bipartisan concern about how its voting districts are drawn.

"For too long we've allowed Republicans and conservatives to define who we are", Barbuto said.

Then-gubernatorial candidate Eric Holcomb told CNHI Indiana that he supported an independent commission in October 2016.

"When the special interests couldn't beat us at the ballot box, they stacked the district to get the result they wanted", she said. "I'm glad so much thought has gone into it".

Torr argues gerrymandering, whether to build and keep political power or, as some in the minority party argue, to build competitive races, is damaging.

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But he said every legislator tried to push for districts that increased their chances for re-election.

Analysis shows slight advantage for GOP in Kentucky House districts