With backing from national Republican legal forces, two Lane County voters filed a challenge Monday to Democratic lawmakers’ legislative redistricting plan, asking the Oregon Supreme Court to order Secretary of State Shemia Fagan to redraw just two state House districts.
The two Lane Count residents allege in the petition filed Monday that the Democratic-controlled Legislature ignored redistricting criteria in state law, including that districts should “not divide communities of common interest” and that “no district shall be drawn for the purpose of favoring any political party, incumbent legislator or other person.”
“While many aspects of (the legislative redistricting plan) are subject to reasonable disagreement, one district line is indefensible,” attorneys for David Calderwood and Gordon Culbertson wrote in the filing. “That line was not based upon consideration of any permissible districting criteria, but was the result of an effort by Legislative Assembly leadership to protect one incumbent from a primary challenge, by surgically jutting a district line around a different, disfavored legislator’s home.”
Calderwood and Culbertson are asking the Supreme Court to “remedy these violations simply, without disrupting any other districts.”
They largely base their challenge on allegations by Rep. Marty Wilde, a Eugene Democrat, that his fellow lawmakers drew the lines to punish him for criticizing their map-drawing and prevent him from challenging state Sen. Floyd Prozanski, a Democrat who will be up for reelection in 2022. Wilde said in a declaration included with the challenge that he told Prozanski and state Sen. Lee Beyer of Springfield that he was interested in running for the state Senate.
Each state Senate district contains two House districts and in lawmakers’ final plan, Wilde ended up outside the new Senate district where Prozanski lives. Wilde and his heavily Democratic Eugene precinct will be in a Republican leaning House District 12 inhabited by Rep. Cedric Hayden, R-Fall Creek. The precinct where Wilde lives is the only Eugene precinct included in the largely rural House District 12. It is surrounded on several sides by House District 8.
Few current legislators who want to remain in office were drawn into districts with other incumbents.
Wilde gained attention earlier this year when he raised concerns during legislative redistricting committee meetings that his current district was the result of gerrymandering because the largely rural district reaches around Eugene to include the University of Oregon. This cycle, Wilde said he raised concerns about one of Democrats’ early redistricting proposals that he said would have split the University of Oregon into three House districts and three Senate districts. Wilde also said he objected to the inclusion of his precinct in the new House District 12.
“I was told by Democratic leadership that the request to place Precinct 1233 in House District (12) came from Senate leadership, and that they were inflexible on this matter,” Wilde said in his declaration.
The lawyers representing Culbertson and Calderwood also represent four Republican former elected officials who filed a challenge earlier this month to Democrats’ congressional redistricting plan.
— Hillary Borrud
Source : https://www.oregonlive.com/politics/2021/10/oregon-republicans-join-with-democratic-eugene-lawmaker-in-legal-bid-to-force-redo-of-two-lane-county-house-districts.html588