For many years, both Wisconsin and Iowa have enjoyed “trifectas” where the Republican Party held majorities in the executive branch and both houses in their state legislatures. In Wisconsin, the 2011-2018 trifecta was led by Gov Walker, Speaker Vos and Majority Leader Fitzgerald. The extreme gerrymandering that was installed by these three politicians is the reason that Wisconsin today is branded as the most gerrymandered state in the country.
Iowa has been using a nonpartisan agency to draw legislative district since 1980. Did this fair and equitable system hurt the Iowa GOP chances of winning elections? Certainly not. In 2016, Trump won over Clinton 51.2 to 41.7%. In 2018, Iowa elected their first female governor (a Republican) and the Iowa GOP took majorities in both legislative houses AGAIN. What’s interesting is that the Iowa GOP for the past 40 years has not had to stack the deck in order to win.
In a Marquette University Poll, 72% of Wisconsinites — including Democrats, Republicans and Independents — were in favor of the Iowa method. This “Fair Maps” model is so popular in Wisconsin, 51 of 72 Wisconsin counties have already endorsed Fair Maps, including 63% of Republicans and 76% of Independents (Source: Wisconsin Democracy Campaign).
I recently contacted my state Assembly representative, Rep Cody Horlacher, to see where he stood on this issue of Fair Maps in Wisconsin. I mentioned that there are several current Republican lawmakers (Reps. Joel Kitchens, Jeff Mursau, Travis Tranel, Todd Novak, and Loren Oldenburg) who are in favor of switching to a nonpartisan agency to redraw Wisconsin legislative maps.
I asked Rep. Horlacher’s legislative aide, Anna Schwarz, if Rep Horlacher was in favor of using the Fair Maps method similar to the proven, effective 40-year-old Iowa model. She told me flatly, “Rep Horlacher has not signed on to the legislation. He is not in favor of the Iowa model.” I asked if he had a different model that he was reviewing and the answer to that was “No, he has no other model that he is reviewing.”
Is Rep. Horlacher fearful that if his 33rd state Assembly district is redrawn in a fair and nonpartisan manner that he might not win? Why is he so resistant to the notion of joining 5 of his GOP legislative brethren to rid our state of the terrible stench of ruthless, win-at-any-cost political gamesmanship?
- Donna Pahuski, Cambridge