Although the Democrats did very well with the new political map for the House of Representatives, when the Senate map was voted on, they were exceedingly unhappy.
Nicole Borromeo and Melanie Bahnke, members of the Alaska Redistricting Board who represent the interests of Democrats, could not accept that they didn’t have the votes to steer the Senate map to their liking, as they had done with the House map. In the end, even after they played the race card, the 3-2 vote finalized a Senate map on Tuesday.
Borromeo was especially dramatic and loud in her opposition, using the Democratic playbook that has everything about race.
“It opens the board up to an unfortunate and very easily winnable argument about partisan gerrymandering,” she lectured. “I don’t believe that any of the arguments that she [Board member Bethany Marcum] put on the record, and more importantly the sound sound legal advice that we got from counsel in executive session, supports this pairing.
Borromeo said, “It defies logic that we would do minority reach into South Muldoon and pair it with a very white District 8 miles away on the highway, that crosses one mountain range, and expect the courts to believe with any satisfaction that we have satisfied the public trust in the process.”
South Muldoon is 56 percent white, but to Borromeo is is all about the 44 percent nonwhite.
In the end, Board Chair John Binkley had to shut the agitated Democrat women down, and get the map voted on, as Wednesday is the deadline for the maps to be completed. The final action of the board is to sign the proclamation and adjourn.
The work of pairing Senate districts to the new lines ended with some unchanged Senate-House combinations, while others will look new to voters. All Senate legislators but Donny Olson will have to run for reelection, due to the new district lines.
In Southern Southeast Alaska, the Senate District that now has Sen. Bert Stedman representing it, has the House members Rep. Dan Ortiz and Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tompkins, as before. And Sen. Jesse Kiehl of Juneau still has Rep. Andi Story and Rep. Sarah Hannan in the downtown Juneau district.
In the Kodiak-Cordova area, Sen. Gary Stevens stil has Rep. Louise Stutes and Rep. Sarah Vance in his district.
Kenai Sen. Peter Micciche is paired with the same lawmakers, Rep. Ben Carpenter and Rob Gillham.
Anchorage is where it gets interesting.
South Anchorage Sen. Roger Holland has a different district, with Rep. Laddie Shaw in one House seat and one open House seat.
In South Anchorage, Sen. Natasha Von Imhof and Sen. Mia Costello have been pushed into the same Senate district. Rep. Tom McKay is in one of those House seats and Reps. Matt Claman and Sara Rasmussen are in the other House seat inside that Senate district.
In Midtown Anchorage, Elvi Gray-Jackson is still the senator, but paired with Rep. Harriet Drummond in one House district and Rep. Andy Josephson and Rep. Chris Tuck smooshed into the other.
Common buzz around the Legislature is that Rules Chair Bryce Edgmon (previous House Speaker) has no affection for Tuck, and ensured that his appointee on the Redistricting Board, Nicole Borromeo, pushed to force Tuck to defend his seat against Josephson.
In Downtown Anchorage, Sen. Tom Begich is paired with hardline leftist Democrats Rep. Zack Fields and Rep. Harriet Dummond. Geran Tarr is the other House member.
East Anchorage and Muldoon has Sen. Bill Wielechowski paired with Rep. Ivy Spohnholz and an open seat.
An open Senate seat for Government Hill , Muldoon, and JBER, combined with Eagle River, has incumbents Rep. Kelly Merrick and Rep. Ken McCarty in one district and Rep. David Nelson in the other.
For the South Eagle River-East Anchorage, where Sen. Lora Reinbold represents, Rep. Liz Snyder has one House seat while the other is open.
In midtown-East Anchorage, Sen. Josh Revak is paired with districts represented by Rep. Calvin Schrage and Rep. James Kaufman.
In the Mat-Su, Sen. Mike Shower is paired with districts now represented by Rep. George Rauscher of Sutton, and Rep. Kevin McCabe from the Big Lake-Denali Borough area.
Sen. David Wilson is paired with the open House seat of central core Wasilla, and the House seat that now has Rep. David Eastman and Rep. Chris Kurka gerrymandered into it, an effort driven by board member Borromeo on behalf of Democrats who don’t like Eastman.
Palmer Sen. Shelley Hughes has a district that has Rep. DeLena Johnson in one House seat and Rep. Cathy Tilton in the other.
Fairbanks has Sen. Click Bishop paired with a district that has Rep. Mike Cronk and Rep. Adam Wool in the other House district.
Fairbanks Sen. Scott Kawasaki is paired with Rep. Bart LeBon and Rep. Steve Thompson.
North Pole and Northeast Fairbanks Sen. Rob Myers is paired with Rep. Mike Prax and Grier Hopkins.