Rose's Doug Johnson and Jack Pitney on gerrymandering

An article featured in both Redlands Daily Facts and The San Bernardino County Sun on March 21 quoted Rose Institute Fellow Douglas Johnson extensively on gerrymandering in the 59th state assembly district. The article also quoted the Rose’s Professor Jack Pitney on the issue. Johnson is quoted as saying:

“The district’s shape makes money the dominant factor in the race…Because it’s impossible to be known throughout the district, all people know is what they see in their mail…It really comes down to how much mail (campaigning) you can afford…In a reasonably community-oriented district, people know the leaders in the cities around them…If you’re in Pomona, you’re aware of what’s going on in Claremont. But if you’re near Glendale, you don’t know what’s going on in Hesperia…A rich candidate can always buy their way into any race…But (in a compact district) a local leader who has worked in the trenches for years can run based on their network and their reputation and not need a million dollars.”

According to the articles, Pitney believes that “districts like the 59th can’t be avoided completely and that the citizens commission won’t necessarily create a map without odd-looking districts.”

He is quoted as saying that “even if districts were totally nonpartisan, you could still have an anomaly of spread-out districts with far-flung constituencies…But with this set of lines, nothing is on the level.”

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