Tuesday, November 04, 2008

the day before the day after

Election day musings and looking ahead. Just think, in just a few hours the race for Governor begins.

Blog posts really depreciate fast. Just the other day I drafted a post highlighting Pollster.com's summary of trend in the race for Pennsylvania's 11 Congressional District in Eastern PA. Kanjorski is is the incumbent and a Democrat, Barletta is the Republican mayor of Hazleton in the news a lot of late. What it showed was a bizarre trend that the support for both candidates was trending downward which didn't make any sense approaching election day. But today, support for both have shot upward. Still looks like Baretta maintaining a lead.

Pennsylvania has several of these curious races that may go against what should have happened based on how the districts wer carved up after 2000. This may also happen in the state legislature which has some real implications for politics here over the next decade. This race is pivotal for who controls Harrisburg going into redistricting season which is not too far away.

When Pennsylvania was last redistricted following the 2000 census, there was little secret made in the desire to create a district that would swap one traditionally Democratic congressional district for a Republican one in Southwestern Pennsylvania. With just a little help from those darn computers a congressional district was tailor made for then State Senator Tim Murphy who would win the seat. Looks like that will not change this time around as best I read. Jeff Toobin discussed the whole history of Pennsylvania redistricting in this article in the New Yorker. In the end the effort may have backfired and according to no less of a conservative source than the Wall Street Journal the process didn't work out too well for Republicans in the long run. Now with several PA Congressional seats not going to the party the computers would have predicted, is it another case of over reliance on quantitative vs. qualitative knowledge. But this cycle is all about to repeat itself, the only question is who runs the program?

Is how redistricting played out earlier in the decade a prelude to how the post 2010 redistricting will play out. As much significance people put into the races at hand, the current races impact who will control the redistricting processes around the country in just a couple years. Whomever controls the various state legislatures will control the redistricting process which could then impact political control for the next decade. So the least reported news is what really may be quite important down the road... who is the majority in the state house come January?


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