As I noted in my column on Sunday, redistricting is moving along exactly as predicted. Yesterday, the House voted to approve the Democrat conceived plan that was attached to the Senate Plan. Though there was moaning, wailing and gnashing of teeth about partisanship on the House floor, this was an entirely predictable result. In mid-2010, both Speaker Billy McCoy and Lt. Governor Phil Bryant made their appointments for their respective bodies to the MS Standing Joint Redistricting Committee.

Here’s who McCoy chose (9 Democrats and 1 Republican).

HOUSE
Representative Tommy Reynolds (D)
Chair
Representative Adrienne Wooten (D)
Vice-Chair
Representative Willie Bailey (D)
Representative Edward Blackmon Jr. (D)
Representative D. Stephen Holland (D)
Representative Wanda Jennings (R)
Representative Diane Peranich (D)
Representative Johnny Stringer (D)
Representative Percy Watson (D)

Here’s who Phil Bryant chose (6 Republicans and 4 Democrats – and we might could argue that party tally in practical theory)

Senator Terry Burton (R)
Chair
Senator Sidney Albritton (R)
Senator Hob Bryan (D)
Senator Eugene Clark (R)
Senator Tommy Dickerson (D)
Senator Hillman Frazier (D)
Senator Jack Gordon (D)
Senator Walter Michel (R)
Senator Tommy Moffatt (R)
Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R)

Now the House and the MS Hospital Association are bemoaning this partisan process. Guess what, folks. It is a partisan process. Democrats are crying crocodile tears about partisanship, but nowhere has it been more partisan than in the Mississippi House. McCoy has ruled the body with an iron fist. After barely winning re-election as Speaker, he has lashed out totally excluding the Republicans from having any input into anything whatsoever. There are no Republican committee heads of any signficance and Republican input (as shown by his composition of the Redistricting committee) has been near zero.

Party insiders moaned when Bryant chose a bi-partisan group while McCoy went over the top partisan in picking his team. There have been points when the Senate could have locked up over the last few weeks and just been obstinate and killed everything. Bryant/Hewes have chosen not to. Whether or not Phil Bryant and Billy Hewes have the votes to force a conference (and a better redistricting deal) is still an open question as of this morning. It’s gonna be close. Really close. One or two votes close. Senators with a R by their name are going to make a straight up vote on whether nor not to hang their 54 brethren (53 of which held) in the House out to dry.

It remains the vote of the decade, but everyone needs to call this for what it is . . . a partisan process . . . and stop being ashamed about it. Elections have consequences and, in my humble opinion, Lt. Governor Phil Bryant should unabashedly use every parliamentary tool in his trickbag and every ounce of influence he has to win this. McCoy certainly has. The goal is not for the Senate to “kill redistricting”. The goal is simply to get the bill to conference and negotiate a compromise. Those that purport to support fairness shouldn’t have any problem with that . . . should they?