The GOP of Oregon may be on a protracted losing streak when it comes to winning office in Oregon, but they're apparently not afraid of using the playbook of their national counterparts. In other words, they're all good with simply making stuff up to try and get their way:
When Democratic and Republican legislators released competing redistricting plans last week, the Republicans provided something extra: voter registration information on the proposed legislative and congressional districts.
The data helped evaluate how each of the plans affected the partisan balance in the various districts. But Democratic redistricting experts noticed that the GOP numbers didn't match the public voter registration data.
The Democrats are right...but there is a partial explanation.
Rep. Shawn Lindsay, R-Hillsboro, who co-chairs the House Redistricting Committee, said that the Republican data, obtained from a private vendor, simply excludes minor-party voters. So the percentages are based on just Republican, Democratic and non-affiliated voters in the state. As a result, the GOP figures inflate the percentage share that the two major parties hold in the state.
Even when I factor out minor-party registrants, the Republican numbers seem to be off by a point or two, at least compared to the latest voter registration figures from the secretary of state (which are for April).
Shawn Lindsay: a guy who's not afraid to go all Karl Rove on us.
In my view, Lindsay could care less about getting a fair and reasonable set of districts. And given that his party made him their House point person on redistricting, clearly they aren't either. Further, he's coupled with GOP Senator Chris Telfer, whose own reputation bumps up against unreasonable and mean. Put this all together with the fact that they're (likely deliberately) using a made up set of numbers, and it's all about nothing more than putting a wrench into the works.
So if the legislature can't settle this, it goes to Secretary of State Kate Brown (except Congressional districts, which would go directly to court). The GOP has spent the better part of the last several months publicly dithering about Brown. The logical set up is to scuttle the legislative process, force redistricting to Brown and then tar & feather her no matter what map she approves (unless its exactly like theirs). Brown becomes the person they'll point to as the ultimate evil.
Enter Kevin Mannix. After having his 2010 attempt at a redistricting measure fail to even make the ballot, this long con plays out just right for him. Mannix is already back for another bite at the redistricting ballot measure apple. The mess created by the Oregon GOP appears designed to give Mannix the juice to get enough signatures to make the ballot, no doubt with Kate Brown as the face of redistricting evil that must be defeated.
This isn't about whether there's a real need to change the current system. Nobody has genuinely demonstrated that there is. This is about the GOP of Oregon constantly losing and grasping at straws, rather than doing a serious gut check of the way they conduct campaigns and public policy. A simple look at the way Shawn Lindsay is trying to draw his own district is evidence of that:
"Oregonians in Northwest Portland and the Pearl District have far more in common than Oregonians in Hillsboro and Banks"?
Huh? Banks is a farm town and Hillsboro is a fast growing urban area. The only "common" they have is that they're both in Washington County. Give me a break. But by adding Banks to his district, Lindsay hopes to make the district more conservative. A cynical ploy.
And it doesn't hurt Kevin Mannix's gravy train either.