Has partisanship begun to trump race in Miss. politics?

The new Legislature to be elected in 2011 -with new leadership in one or possibly both houses – gets another shot at redistricting in 2012. If lawmakers are again unable to agree, the law requires the appointment of a state commission to complete the task, which may be the wildest of wild cards.

The ruling also leaves the possibility that the NAACP, the Democrats or the Republicans could let sleeping dogs lie after the 2011 election and not request a second round of elections in 2012. That’s where the politics gets really interesting.

Why would the NAACP and the Democrats decide to live with the outcome of the 2011 election held under the old districts despite the admitted malapportionment of the current districts? Because the outcome is likely to produce a House that’s under Democratic control. A recent spate of legislative retirements also has spurred debate about the outcome of running in the old districts plus the impact of those retirements on the House speaker’s race.

There’s no readily obvious advantage to the GOP to press for back-to-back legislative elections. Frankly, the larger issue for House Republicans is the next speaker’s race, not the next round of legislative elections.

Sid Salter
Clarion Ledger
5/18/11