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posted: 12/10/2012 5:00 AM

Can't blame maps for Democratic gains

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Last April, I wrote a letter to the Daily Herald criticizing would-be Republicans complaining about Illinois Democrats using their majority to change maps to favor Democrats through census redistricting. As expected, Illinois Democrats made gains. However, so did Republicans in Wisconsin, even though the state voted for the first openly gay Democratic U.S. senator and Barack Obama for president. Why?

Because the Republican majority in Wisconsin drew the map to favor them. And it was not just Wisconsin. It was many states where Republicans had total control of the redistricting including Utah, Texas, Ohio and North Carolina, pretty much securing that Republicans would regain the U.S. House.

But if Illinois Republicans think they would have won in a fair fight, I want them to know what happened when the courts redrew the maps in my home state in Minnesota. This happened after Republicans in the legislative majority attempted to draw biased redistricting maps that favored them but their maps were vetoed by Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton. The result from the unbiased maps was the Democrats retaking the state legislature winning in places unheard of for Democrats and defeating embattled Tea Party freshman Congressman Chip Cravaack.

The point? Even if the maps were fair and as unbiased as possible, the Democrats in Illinois probably still would have won.

Will Labovitch

South Saint Paul, Minn.

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