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Redistricting Law Will Help Wisconsin Republicans in 2012

8:45 PM, Aug 9, 2011 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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Polls close for the Wisconsin recall elections in just 15 minutes, but whatever the results are tonight, the lucky winners (and perhaps some of the losers) will get to do this all over again in November 2012--just a mere 15 months down the road--when these seats would normally be up for election.

The redistricing bill that Scott Walker signed into law today should help Republicans at the polls in 2012, but not too much.

One of the biggest changes (for a senator up in 2012) turns the battleground district held by Republican Alberta Darling into a safely Republican seat. George W. Bush won Darling's current district by 7 points in 2004, but in her re-drawn district, Bush's margin was 23 points, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. But, the Journal notes, the battleground districts held by Republican Sheila Harsdorf and Democrat Dave Hansen don't change significantly. The district held by Democrat Jim Holperin, who's facing a GOP Tea Partier next Tuesday, becomes 2 percentage points more Republican. 

According to a knowledgeable source, the partisan makeup of the battleground districts held by Republicans Randy Hopper and Luther Olsen--whose elections tonight will determine control of the state senate--will not change significantly. Of course, Republicans still might fare better in 2012 in Randy Hopper's district if he loses and they get a new candidate. (Hopper has suffered in the polls for leaving his wife for a 25-year-old.)

The bill is facing legal challenges from Democrats, but Republicans say that it meets the criteria for fair districts under Wisconsin law. Earlier this year, conservatives maintained their 4-3 majority on the supreme court by reelecting David Prosser.

The new congressional map will make Republican Sean Duffy's district slightly more Republican and Democrat Ron Kind's district slightly more Democratic. 

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