Daniels signs Indiana redistricting plans

May 11 2011

By Tyler Millhouse

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana: On Tuesday, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels (R) signed the state’s legislative and Congressional redistricting plans, redrawing the state’s 9 Congressional seats, 50 Senate seats and 100 House seats.[1]

The Congressional maps, created by the Republican-controlled legislature, will likely benefit GOP incumbents and weaken Democratic opposition. Most notably, the map seems to place District 2 in Republican hands. Joe Donnelly (D), who currently represents the district, has announced that he will run instead for the US Senate.[2][3] Some speculate that if a Republican can successfully unseat incumbent Sen. Richard Lugar (R) in a primary, Donnelly might fare better in his bid for the seat.[4]

In addition, the map strengthens Republican representative Todd Young in District 9. The map also appears to leave Districts 1 and 7 strongly Democratic, Districts 3, 4 and 5 strongly Republican, and District 6 Republican-leaning. However, Larry Buschon’s (R) District 8 seat is likely to become more competitive.[5]

The state legislative plan also seems to benefit Republican interests. While some of these changes may be politically motivated, demographic changes have also favored Republicans. Twenty-one of the 30 house districts that lost population are currently controlled by Democrats. Republicans ultimately altered the original bill, redrawing one of the districts which paired two House Democrats.[6] With an existing 37-13 Republican majority in the Indiana State Senate, political changes were less dramatic. No senate incumbents were paired together.[7][8]

By April 28, both Houses had passed and/or concurred with the redistricting legislation. Daniels signed the bill on Tuesday, May 10 along with 79 other bills passed by the Legislature.[1] Indiana is only the third state to complete its entire redistricting process. Only Iowa and Louisiana completed the process sooner.