Thursday, April 28, 2011 | 6:51 p.m.
In an opening salvo of what is expected to be a difficult redistricting fight, legislative Democrats released a set of maps Thursday showing how they would carve up the state into new Senate and Assembly districts, according to population growth over the past decade.
The plan shifts one Assembly seat and one Senate seat to Clark County but does not pit any incumbents against each other in newly drawn districts. Instead, two rural Assembly districts — those of Assembly Minority Leader Pete Goicoechea, R-Eureka, and Assemblyman John Ellison, R-Elko — will merge. Goicoechea is expected to run for Senate next year or could retire from politics.
In the Senate, Reno Republican Sen. Greg Brower’s district will be eliminated. Brower is running for Congress.
Democrats largely based their redistricting plan on city and county boundaries, working to keep communities of interest together. The plan also relies on “nesting,” meaning each Senate district will include two fully contained Assembly districts, which is expected to cut down on ballot printing costs.
Latino, African American and Asian leaders praised the Democrats’ plan, saying it preserves their representation and influence in elections. In the plan, 11 Assembly districts and five Senate districts have a significant Hispanic influence, Democrats said. Republicans released a set of competing maps earlier Thursday, which include eight Assembly districts and four with Hispanic majorities.
Disagreement is already brewing over whether a handful of majority Hispanic districts are preferable to Hispanic communities than broader influence in a a larger number of districts.