Redistricting leads to predictable results

At long last, the redistricting fight is drawing to a close. Gov. Brian Sandoval punted on the issue and shirked his responsibility to head up what was arguably the most important event in his fledgling administration. Although I have long been an advocate of an independent, bipartisan commission to conduct the redrawing of our legislative maps, leaving this issue up to the courts has done little to increase accountability, transparency and honesty in this process. Nevada’s political landscape is now set for the next decade, and Democrats spanning the state couldn’t be happier had they drawn these maps themselves.

At the congressional level the Republicans are expected to hold District 2, the seat currently held by Mark Amodei, and that’s it. Republicans will maintain an eight-point voter registration edge, and that’s a tough one to overcome. Any battles here will be in the primary, and Rep. Amodei can expect one in 2012. She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named can’t pass up an opportunity to lose an election, so I’m sure once she gets back from hawking her stupid book at Tea Party rallies nationwide she will dust off the ol’ campaign signs and run for office. Again.

Congressional District 1, the seat formerly held by Senate candidate Shelley Berkley is as blue as the Smurf’s village with a 27-point advantage for the Democrats. There will be fights here, but only in the primary as the Democrats rush to the left to out liberal each other. So much for an electorate of moderates getting the opportunity to be represented by a moderate. The upcoming celebrity deathmatch here is going to be the one to watch.

Former U.S. Rep. Dina Titus has upset the applecart and refuses to step aside to make way for Ruben Kihuen, a 31-year-old Hispanic state senator. Anybody remember her primary against former Henderson Mayor James Gibson in the 2006 Democratic gubernatorial primary? Ouch. The woman is brutal. Kihuen may think he knows what he’s getting himself into, but he doesn’t. I predicted that Kihuen would fold at the prospect of facing off against any of the Democratic powerhouses who are running for Congress this year, but he did not. Not sure how this one is going to play out quite yet, but regardless, it is going to be expensive, dirty and personal.

The newly created 4th District which will encompass North Las Vegas, Nellis Air Force Base and six rural counties, has been drawn with a 13-point edge for Democrats. Senate majority floor leader Steven Horsford is already measuring the drapes for this one, but Republican state Sen. Barbara Cegavske is rumored to be interested in running which could throw a wrench in his plans. Horsford will have a primary, while Cegavske will not. This is a good matchup between two eminently qualified candidates.

Joe Heck’s 3rd District seat remains a tossup, but the Democratic registration edge has shrunk to 3 points from 7, making this a competitive seat in the general election. Heck wields the tremendous advantage of incumbency, and he’s not unpopular, but his district is the battleground district. Every election cycle for the next decade is going to have a primary fight on at least one side, and a hard fought general election. Hope the voters who live there like political ads. They aren’t going to stop. Ever.

How did Nevada, a moderate purple state, end up with three Democratic congressional districts? Easy. The Democrats currently hold a 65,000 voter registration advantage over the Republicans. How did they get that? They registered 100,000 new voters prior to the 2008 presidential caucus. Perhaps the Republicans should’ve thought of this when they decided not to allow same day voter registration the day of the 2012 presidential caucus.