INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A redistricting plan proposed Monday by Republicans who
control the Legislature would shift several GOP-leaning areas into the
northern Indiana congressional district narrowly won last year by Democrat
The congressional map puts all of Elkhart County and much of Kosciusko
County into Donnelly’s current district and removes part of
Democratic-leaning LaPorte County and all of Kokomo. The changes could make
it more difficult for Donnelly to win re-election. He narrowly defeated
Republican Jackie Walorski last year, and she has already announced plans to
run again in 2012.
The shift is just one included in maps the Senate Election Committee
proposed for Indiana’s nine congressional and 50 state Senate districts.
The congressional map also would extend what has been a swing district won
last year by Republican Todd Young further north to include all of heavily
GOP Johnson County just south of Indianapolis. The 9th district starts in
the Ohio River counties near Louisville, Ky.
The proposal also would give southern Indiana’s 8th district won last year
by Republican Larry Bucshon more of the counties along the Ohio River east
Senate President Pro Tem David Long R-Fort Wayne, said the proposed
congressional districts are more compact and more representative than those
drawn by Democrats when they controlled redistricting in 2001.
Long said political considerations weren’t as important as keeping counties
together, and he expected the districts now held by Donnelly, Bucshon and
Young to remain competitive.
“We’ve tried our best to keep counties intact where we can,” he said.
Nine of the state’s 92 counties would be divided between two congressional
districts under the Senate committee plan. The other 83 would be
Sen. Tim Lanane, D-Anderson, criticized the changes proposed for Donnelly’s
and Young’s districts.
“Clearly those are politically motivated lines there that have been moved,”
Lanane said. “This was something that we feared might happen, particularly
with Representative Donnelly’s district.”
Donnelly, who was elected last year to his third two-year term, has known
significant changes to his district boundaries were possible and has been
considering whether to run for the U.S. Senate or governor.
The Senate Elections Committee is expected to vote Wednesday on advancing
the proposed maps to the full Senate, where Republicans hold a 37-13
majority. The House election committee was releasing their proposed state
House districts later Monday.