Between the Lines: Federal Court to Take Up New Kansas Map

Posted May 18, 2012 at 3:34pm

A federal court will take up the new Kansas Congressional map May 29, while the Republican-controlled state House will make a last-ditch effort to rescue the mapmaking process.

The court’s imminent redraw is unpredictable, but it’s likely at least one of the state’s four GOP Members will get a more competitive district under the new map.

The trial marks the beginning of the end of the mapmaking process in Kansas, the last state to finish its decennial redistricting. Republicans control the Legislature and every major office in the state, but GOP infighting halted the redraw process this spring.

Kansas officials must shift voters around the state’s four House districts to maintain even population. Specifically, Rep. Tim Huelskamp’s (R) rural, expansive western 1st district must pick up population, while Rep. Kevin Yoder’s (R) suburban Kansas City 3rd district must shed some residents.

However, it’s possible the court could push Huelskamp’s staunchly Republican district east, which would shift competitive territory currently in the 3rd district into Rep. Lynn Jenkins’ (R) 2nd district.

The conservative state House will likely pass a new Congressional map today that would further shore up Yoder’s and Jenkins’ seats for the GOP. But a Republican source said it’s highly unlikely the more moderate state Senate will consider that plan before the court begins trial.

As a result of the mapmaking chaos, Sunflower State officials have moved the Congressional filing deadline to June 11.