Last decade, there was significant controversy surrounding Arizona’s independent redistricting commission process. That controversy involved not only the Governor’s attempt to remove the head of the commission, which the state courts overturned; the controversy was also played out in the competing majority and dissenting opinions in Supreme Court litigation over the process, in the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission v. Arizona Legislature case.
The story this time around appears different. The commission has now unanimously approved new congressional maps. From the AZCentral story:
Arizona’s current congressional delegation is made up of five Democrats and four Republicans. The new map, should it withstand legal challenges, favors Republicans in five — and possibly six — of the state’s nine districts.
Yet the five-member commission approved the map with a 5-0 vote, which Republican commissioner Douglas York attributed to the effort of independent chair Erika Neuberg, who called the map a “sweet spot for all sides to be well-positioned.”
She acknowledged that “each side is deeply disappointed by aspects of this map.”…
During final deliberations of the congressional map Tuesday, Democratic commissioners Shereen Lerner and Derrick Watchman voiced strong concern about the map, then said after a long day of making minor changes that little had changed. But on Wednesday, Lerner said the map had indeed been improved.
“We’ve made a lot of progress over the course of these months as we’ve moved forward,” said Lerner, who seconded Neuberg’s motion to approve the map. “There’s some good in this map as well, and there were some things that really could have done a better job.”
Expressing disappointment that the map wasn’t as competitive as Democrats had hoped, the political situation could nevertheless “evolve” over the next 10 years, adding that the state is in a “different place” now than it was 10 years ago.
“We listened to a lot folks” during the public hearings, said Republican Commissioner Douglas York. “We tried hard to incorporate the Latino Coalition and Native American’s request … . I’m very pleased to provide a fifth vote for this map.”
York gave credit to Neuberg for the unanimous decision.
“She worked to make us work to get to the center,” he said. “And neither side was happy so therefore she was successful.”