Las Vegas Sun

September 16, 2019

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Republicans lodge objections to 3 proposed Senate district lines

CARSON CITY — Republicans say their party is getting shortchanged in three state Senate districts in Las Vegas in the proposed reapportionment plan drawn by a three-member panel.

But the GOP did not lodge objections to redistricting lines for Nevada’s four congressional districts.

The plan yields an “extremely partisan result” in the three Senate districts held by Republicans, according to Las Vegas attorneys Mark Hutchison and Jacob Reynolds, who are representing the GOP.

The Republican objections were raised after the 5 p.m. deadline Monday. Democrats, who didn’t raise major objections, filed their response before the deadline.

The GOP’s attorneys said they prefer the plan drawn by the party during the Legislature but never passed. Democrats approved two reapportionment plans that were vetoed by Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval.

In Senate District 9 where Republican Elizabeth Halseth is the incumbent, Democrats currently have a 2.9 percent voter registration edge. The proposed plan would expand it to 8.9 percent.

GOP lawyers also say Senate District 6, where Democrat Allison Copening won in in 2008, has been a traditional Republican stronghold. Republicans currently hold a 1.2 percent registration advantage over Democrats, but the new plan gives Democrats an 8.9 percent advantage.

“In short the special masters’ plans take what once were two competitive seats and turn them strongly Democratic and wholly noncompetitive,” the GOP response to Carson District Judge Todd Russell said. A hearing is planned for Thursday.

The GOP also complains that the lines drawn for Republican Sen. Barbara Cegavske’s District 8 are irregular, arguing Copening would represent a portion of the district.

New District 8 lines “likely would result in a windfall for any non-incumbent Democrat candidate” because Copening may not run again. The district now is evenly divided, but new boundaries would give Democrats 44 percent of the registration to 35 percent for Republicans.

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