Any of you remember how establishing an Independent Redistricting Commission was supposed to remove political posturing and gamesmanship from the redistricting process?
Russell Pearce has gotten some ink from alleging some shenanigans in the process to whittle down nominees to the Independent Redistricting Committee. Whatever his allegations, it must be remembered that the committee culling nominees for the redistricting commission is by and large Republican and mostly Jan Brewer’s appointees.
The other thing to remember here is that Pearce, for all of his grumbling, doesn’t have much of a leg to stand on here. There is no procedure to re-open the nomination process. It’s hard to see how the courts could intervene when Pearce’s best argument seems to be “I don’t like how this turned out.”
(By the way, there isn’t a lack of complaints on the Democratic side. I spoke with David Schapira yesterday, who was concerned about the near total lack of Hispanics on the list. There is only one available on the Democratic side out of three total. This means three more than the last time this circus came to town.)
The real reason Pearce is angry is not because of “diversity” or overblown claims of religious discrimination, but because he is going to be forced to pick a guy named Benny White instead of someone more to his liking. Why is he forced to? Because only two members of the committee can come from any one county. With Kirk Adams and Chad Campbell likely to pick members from Maricopa County, this means Pearce will be left to pick only Republicans from outside of Maricopa County. This leaves only one guy: Benny White.
White is husband to former Pima County Republican Chair Judy White and has a pretty impressive resume. It is doubtful that he’d be problematic for the Republicans. But, remember this is Russell Pearce we’re talking about. Outrage and grievance is his game. White isn’t his cup of tea for whatever reason, so he wants to pull the whole tent down.
There has been some chatter out of Phoenix that the Democrats “outmanuevered” the Republicans here and some sort of alchemy was practiced to force the Republicans to put White on the redistricting board. This is laughable for so many reasons, the biggest being it would require the acquiessence of a commission dominated by Brewer’s appointees. The real story here is how flat footed Pearce and the Republicans were in gearing up for this and unprepared they were to find qualified candidates from outside Maricopa County to apply for this board in the first place.
You think this is fun, wait until the commission picks their independent chair…
CLARIFICATION: There is only one Hispanic name among the Democrats on the list, but also an independent Hispanic and one Republican Hispanic. My initial posting implied only one, even though I meant only one available for the Democrats. I have edited the post to clarify this point.