Drawing of new congressional and legislative districts is moving along steadily. While the map still is evolving, it will be finished by the end of the year. As it stands now, Pinal County will be far from the unified territory it was early in the process and which local leaders long have advocated for. But complaints have been few, and that may mean both parties see some good in what is developing, but also perhaps those who actually know what is transpiring are hoping for some changes.
The draft congressional map released last week shows the massive 1st Congressional District, which has contained much of Pinal County for two decades, gone from Pinal. In its place, Casa Grande and Coolidge are part of a new 6th District that goes into southeastern Arizona. Florence, Maricopa and northern Pinal are in the 2nd District. Eloy and Arizona City are in yet another.
On the draft legislative map, much of Pinal is in District 16, while Florence is in District 7 along with eastern Pinal and Globe. District 15 includes San Tan Valley.
Some observers have given the five-member commission, led by a nonpartisan chair, credit for finding compromise in various areas. However, some incumbents in both the U.S. House and Arizona Legislature would be pitted against each other, and traditionally a few move to other districts instead. And certainly more changes are coming in the maps.
The 6th Congressional District, with much of Pinal, would be highly competitive. Another district, including Scottsdale and north and central Phoenix, would be very competitive as well. Two others would be considered competitive, with three safe for Republicans and two for Democrats.
In the legislative map, six districts are considered competitive, with 13 safe Republican districts and 11 safe Democratic.
The commission will be soliciting more comment this month, and anyone interested should participate. This process is not finished yet by any means, but like Christmas, the end is getting closer.
— Donovan Kramer Jr.