Redistricting Maps Not Kind To Some State Lawmakers

By Jeff Neumeyer

April 12, 2011 Updated Apr 12, 2011 at 4:33 PM EST

INDIANA (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- A number of incumbent Indiana State Representatives may be feeling a little unappreciated, given changes proposed by Republicans in new redistricting maps.

Republican and Democrat lawmakers alike suddenly find themselves protecting turf.

Republicans, who control both chambers of the legislature, are completely in charge of how the new district boundaries are established, a once-a-decade responsibility laid at the feet of lawmakers.

Under the new proposed maps, at least eight of the 100 districts would have no incumbent.

In ten others, a sitting member would have to run against at least one other sitting member to keep a seat.

Long-time GOP Representative Jeff Espich from Wells County would be placed in the same district with incumbent Republican lawmaker Dan Leonard from Huntington County.

Republicans defend the composition of the maps, saying it's more important to not split counties among multiple districts, than to protect incumbents.

" Institutional memory has a lot of value in the legislative process, and new ideas and new faces also bring a lot of value, and at the end of the day, we don't own these seats, these are owned by the voters, and it'll be the voters that get to make those decisions, as it should be”, says Eric Koch, a Republican State Representative from Bedford, who is Chairman of the House Elections and Apportionment Committee.

As you might imagine, Democratic lawmakers don't like the new maps.

One Indianapolis district would now include three Democrats who currently hold seats in the legislature.

In total, there are three districts in which incumbent Democrats would be forced to oppose each other.

Four districts have both a Democratic and Republican incumbent, while in three others, two Republican incumbents would square off, so both sides have reason to say they're not feeling "the love".




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