CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Unlike some other states where Republicans used their gains in statewide elections to seize control of the redistricting process after the 2010 census, the re-drawing of Nevada’s voting districts was done by a court-appointed panel and overseen by a judge.
Politics was still at play as Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval twice vetoed maps approved by Democratic lawmakers.
Republicans and Democrats accused each other of trying to manipulate the boundaries for political gain under the guise of benefiting Hispanics.
Republicans insisted one congressional district should include a Hispanic majority to allow them to elect someone of their choosing. Democrats countered that amounted to “packing” and was an attempt to isolate Hispanics and minimize their influence in other districts.
A special court panel concluded there was no justification for a Hispanic-majority district.
The final maps adopted by the court kept northern Nevada’s 2nd Congressional District in solid Republican territory, while the 1st District in Las Vegas stayed a Democratic stronghold.
The 3rd District held by Republican Rep. Joe Heck had a slight Democratic edge when redrawn, but Heck was able to beat Democratic challenger John Oceguera, former state Assembly speaker, by 7 percentage points in the 2012 election.
Nevada’s newest congressional district, the 4th, while encompassing a large swath of conservative rural counties, also includes a concentration of urban, largely Democratic, North Las Vegas. Steven Horsford, former Democratic leader in the state Senate, won by 8 percentage points over GOP candidate Danny Tarkanian.
Democrats statewide hold a 63,500 voter edge over Republicans, and the most recent registration numbers broken down by congressional districts show Democrats still hold a notable advantage in the 1st and 4th districts and a slight lead in the 3rd District while Republicans dominate the 2nd District.
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