I can let a lot of stuff slide in politics, but outright lying by public officials tends to make me put aside what I am doing to take time to write a post to call BS on.

Yesterday, Rep. Tommy Reynolds mailed a letter to Governor Barbour asking for him to call a special session to approve redistricting prior to June 1. Let’s put aside the face, for a moment, that the time to negotiation was 60 days ago with JR 201.

With that as context, in today’s Clarion Ledger, State Senator Terry Burton (D-Newton) stated,

“We haven’t had a chance to offer these maps and negotiate on them,” he said. “We can only do that if we are called in for a special session.”

Is he serious? That’s just an utter falsehood. It is just unfathomable to me that nobody in the media has called out Burton or Reynolds on what they are saying. There was ample time to negotiate within the constitutionally defined framework of a conference committee where House and Senate negotiators could work on their disagreements in good faith. Reynolds and his boss, House Speaker Billy McCoy, would not even send representatives to the discussion to negotiate. Instead, through surrogates, they lawyered up, sued Governor Barbour and attempted to have their solution that they would not negotiate on in the Legislature crammed down by fiat by a three federal judge panel.

Not surprisingly, Governor Haley Barbour told Reynolds (and likely, by extension, Burton) to go jump in a lake. (OK, technically his spokesperson said “The governor has no intention of calling a special session.”, but I think you catch my drift)

As far as how the judicial decision plays, I have a few thoughts.

1. It is now the Democrats begging to get another remedy other than what the courts provided. On one hand, they’re claiming victory. On the other they’re trying to get that decision overturned.
2. Ultimately, I believe running in old lines helps Republicans in both houses. Even though the districts remain malproportioned, there was a very documented effort particularly on the Democrat side to district out challengers to vulnerable incumbents.
3. The magic number is about 9 to flip the House. I think that there are 4 legitimate open seat pickup opportunities for Republicans. Whether or not Billy McCoy runs, I think that campaign will center on who a candidate will vote for in the Speaker’s race. With conservative ballot initiatives and the likelihood that at least 7 of 8 statewide seats remain in Republican hands, I believe flipping 5 more Democrat incumbents in the House is pretty doable.
4. Redistricting in 2012 will be a whole different ballgame with all new players. My sense is that a new legislative makeup with new legislative leadership in both houses will make a deal, but that deal will look a lot different than the McCoy/Reynolds/Burton plan.

From here till June 1, it’s all about candidate recruitment. Both sides badly need good candidates and it will be a function of organization and financing. Trying not to be a pollyanna, I still give the edge to the Republicans.