Redistricting plan named ‘Dennymandered’

Though crudely handled, the GOP plan was cleverly drawn by making black districts blacker, giving the map on paper an appearance of meeting minority requirements of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The dirty little secret behind their over-populating black majority districts, is to wipe out at least a half dozen rural white Democrats, formerly McCoy’s loyal core.

One other trick in the House plan is to pit incumbents against each other in four districts. In one of the four, chief architect Denny pits himself against Democrat Cecil Brown of Jackson, who is widely regarded as the ablest fiscal and education lawmaker. Brown’s very presence (even while stripped of his important committees) is an irritant to the Republican leadership.

Denny, who may step aside next election for some up-and-coming younger Republican to win a ready-made seat, loaded up the district with heavy-voting GOP precincts in the Madison County reservoir area. Denny, however, may have out-smarted himself by drastically cutting the black population of the district, a no-no with DOJ.

Also targeted in the GOP House plan is white Democrat Johnny Stringer of tiny Montrose. With 33 years House experience (eight as appropriations chair) he was tossed into a new district with another white rural Democrat, Bo Eaton of Taylorsville, who has spent 17 years in a seat once occupied by his grandfather. Obviously, Stringer is on the GOP, chopping block, losing two-thirds of his current district, while Eaton keeps most of his old district.

Bill Minor
5/23/12