(Re-)District Two

There is a decent chance the Congressional redistricting could get messy.

We have already seen in Iowa two current Republican-held districts are essentially getting merged. What happens there is any one’s guess.

In Nebraska,  the districts are required to tighten up, particularly the second district.

We have heard that there are a couple of scenarios for NE-2 currently running through the redistricters’ group:

1) Keep Douglas County — fully intact. Then include all of Sarpy County…minus Bellevue. That would mean chopping off StratCom (SAC), most likely into the first district.


2) Take all of  Sarpy County — fully intact (taking the western part from NE-1). Then include all of Douglas County…minus part of north and central Douglas. That would, most likely, put most of Omaha’s African American community in the first district.

…or 3) none of the above.  But this is what we are hearing now.

Under the first scenario, the second district would lose a huge chunk of its Republican base in Bellevue and among the the military stationed at StratCom. It would however include all of western Sarpy County, which has a great deal of growth potential to fill out with new potential GOP suburbanites.

It could potentially make things tough for Lee Terry in the near future, and could likely bring the Obama forces back if they think they can pick off another single Electoral vote.

Under the second scenario, NE-2’s GOP base is kept solid, and even more so by knocking out a block of Obama’s base in North O.

Now if the Dem’s candidate in 2012 was, say, John Kerry, this might not be a big deal. But since it’s not, there is a decent chance you would see the United State Attorney General, Eric Holder (an African American himself), come in to question why the district was drawn up this way.

We don’t know how that goes down, or what the rest of the repercussions are. But under either scenario you are chopping up one party or the other’s base.

Under the second, cut out North O,  scenario, this might not have been as big a deal IF the “winner-take-all” bill had passed in the legislature. (And GOPers are still pissed at state Senator Paul Schumacher for preventing that from going through.)

Instead, there is an Electoral vote in play, and in a potentially close election, national observers will be…observing. This makes a difference.

And then there is the matter of the Republican Congressman Lee Terry. A less GOP district makes his re-election job that much more difficult. Sure he cruised last time, and no opponent has really shown his or her face yet.  But no elected official ever sits comfortably at election time.

This is a big deal.  And as it gets closer watch for more rancorous discussions coming.


On that note, we mentioned in a previous post that NE-3 Rep. Adrian Smith already had a primary opponent in Dennis Parker of Columbus.

Well, actually, we were just quoting the AP. But please note that since the district lines have yet to be drawn, and we don’t know what district Columbus will end up in, Mr. Parker could be taking on Jeff Fortenberry.

Things are fluid, readers.


We see that President Obama has made it official that he is running for re-election in 2012, and all that.

But how about that slogan, “Are you in?

Really? That’s the announcement to the country? “Are you in?”?

Not, hey, I’ve been doing a great job on A,B and C and if you want me to get X, Y and Z done, I would appreciate your vote.

Nope. It’s “Hey, remember how awesome you thought I was? Well. Are you coming or not?”

And then there is the video. Take a watch:

Our first impression: Doesn’t try to sell the job the President has done. Or any positions. Just, “Hey get on board because we are going to need lots of door to door to win again.”

It is the kind of video you would show to a new volunteer who just showed up at the campaign headquarters to lick envelopes. Not the kind of piece you show to the country to introduce your campaign.

But hey, those are the brightest campaign minds in the world rolling it out. Right?

Maybe you will find this one more apt…


And while Barack Obama was rolling out his campaign on the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s death, the union forces were out in Lincoln, specifically noting that anniversary to argue that The Man is keeping them down.

They noted that “robber barons” are preventing them from getting a fair wage. (Yes, they said “robber barons”.)

In any case, we were reading the OWH’s story on this and noted the following line:

The rallies were part of a coordinated push to build on the momentum of pro-union demonstrations and national polls showing most Americans support collective bargaining rights.

We thought, hey, seen that line already today, in the AP:

The planned rallies are part of a coordinated strategy by labor leaders to ride the momentum of pro-union demonstrations and national polls showing most Americans support collective bargaining rights as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and other GOP leaders in states fight to reduce or strip those benefits.

But the OWH doesn’t include any reference back to the AP story.


That sort of thing would get you an F on your paper in high school.

But it’s cool in the newspaper world?

Just asking.


  1. RWP says:

    (1) Most Americans don’t know that ‘collective bargaining rights’ are the ‘right’ to force someone else to pay dues to your union, whether he/she wants to or not.

    (2) I don’t think there’s any grounds for the US AG to get involved. First of all, Nebraska isn’t one of the jurisdictions covered by the Voting Rights Act. Second, as long as you don’t try to break North Omaha up, you haven’t diluted its voting strength. It is far too small to be a majority-minority Congressional district on its own, and whether you put it in NE1 or NE2, it will still be in a majority-white district.

  2. Macdaddy says:

    Option 2. This is a no-brainer in order to strengthen the NE2 for Republicans. After all, elections matter. Plus, it has the added bonus of baiting Eric Holder, the most political AG in history, into a Justice Department inquiry.

  3. E. HAINES says:

    Wow Mr. Hammel that language looks very similar to a story yesterday out of Atlanta. Liberal Press minds must think alike.

  4. Oh My says:

    Option 1 – used if being fair and sticking to established county lines.

    Option 2 – used if partisan petty politics are the primary driving force, ignoring established lines, causing confusion for voters and putting party first.

  5. Silver Sow says:

    To Oh My, Look at Iowa’s redrawn districts with Steve King. Totally Legal. Omaha deserves to have 2 congressman representing it.

  6. Brian T. Osborn says:

    Silver Sow,
    You are SO right! Those of us that live in the 3rd CD are already accustomed to having NO representation in Congress as it is.

  7. Anonymous says:

    You guys are making fun of Obama’s video. He whipped your tails in 2008 and it will be worse in 12. Just who is running from the dark (Republican) side?

  8. anony says:

    Who wasn’t totally for the 1099 repeal? Other than the thousands of IRS employees that were going to get hired to process and investigate all those millions of 1099’s! This was just another part of the “smoke and mirrors” of the “cost saving, deficit reducing, affordable Healthcare Act of 2010.

  9. Good Doctor says:

    Did anyone notice that the slogan chosen by Candidate Obama (“Are You In?”) is the same slogan used by Steve Pederson when he was AD at Nebraska?

    And it worked SO WELL for Stevie P.

  10. Kortezzi says:

    Douglas County will almost certainly be left intact in NE2.

    But redistricting really shouldn’t affect Lee Terry much. Growth of affluent W. Omaha suburbs offsets some loss of affluent W. Sarpy areas.

    What could tip future elections if NE2 is what happens if rising numbers of illegal aliens in S. Omaha manage to cast ballots, no doubt favoring Democrats. Nebraska needs to follow Texas’ lead in adopting a photo ID requirement to vote.

  11. Jenn says:

    RWP, that’s not generally true of public employee unions in Nebraska. I don’t know about elsewhere. The “special master” was saving the state money on legal fees and tended to result in conservative settlements. I have no idea why they’d want to get rid of that and focus on a more expensive, time-consuming process elsewhere. Oh, because the lawyers have to get paid! ; )

  12. Lawl says:

    A voter ID bill won’t fly — unless you provide people with fee-free IDs. Otherwise you’re assessing what amounts to an unconstitutional poll-tax.

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