Over the weekend, Democrats on the House Reapportionment Committee approached a small contingent of Republicans on the same committee. Rumors (strictly rumors) originating in Democrat circles began swirling Saturday and Sunday that some sort of deal had been cut. There’s no deal right now.
Here’s what’s really going on. Democrats are largely talking and a couple of Republicans who are not in positions of authority to make a deal are listening.
Ever since the 3 judge panel was named last week, Democrats’ posture has changed substantially. Publicly and privately, they are looking to find any remedy to prevent having judges draw these lines. This morning, Rep. George Flaggs put out a press release this morning begging Governor Haley Barbour to call a special session.
“I am calling on Governor Barbour to call a one day Special Session on Friday, April 22, 2011 for the purpose of reaching an agreement on the redistricting plans for the House of Representatives and the Senate. I believe that calling a Special Session would save the taxpayers millions of dollars in attorney fees and court cost. The people would be better served with one election process and using the saved money to fund Education, Health care and Mental health shortfall.”
Notice that this wasn’t some sort of joint or bipartisan call for a special session. This is strictly Democrats on their own looking for a deal. A new map not yet for public consumption and pushed by Democrats has been proposed. It in, there are reportedly some some marginal changes.
1. Democrats under the Reynolds plan were going to pit Russ Nowell and Gary Chism against each other. Democrats have now taken that off the table.
2. Statistically, it is trending closer, but does not yet mirror the global statistical metics of the House Republican alternative.
As I have stated before, one man now holds the cards . . . Governor Haley Barbour. He and he alone can call a special session. Democrats by refusing to deal in good faith during the legislative session have now ceded all leverage to the governor and even if Republicans in the House and Senate got a proposal that they could live with, there’s no guarantee that Barbour could or would want to call them together to memorialize a deal.
The Legislative Black Caucus will be meeting tomorrow (Tuesday). Ostensibly, this may support the party line that they are gathering to consider a deal, but there’s no real deal on the table. I believe the only thing that will be on the agenda is to determine how much they’re willing to give up and still be on board with the Democrats’ overall negotiations.
The odds of a legislative solution have increased solely on the basis that Democrats behind the scenes are publicly and privately angling to give in on some key House Republican demands for fairness. There should be some signals out in the next 72 hours as the new proposed plan complexities start being evaluated.