Local

Gerrymandering gave GOP 1 extra legislative seat

However, Republicans won 75 of 99 Tennessee House seats statewide a year ago, while the GOP held its 7-2 advantage in the U.S. House.

According to the AP data, even though House Republicans averaged 57.6 percent of the vote in the 100 districts across in in 2016, they won or retained 70 seats in the House of Representatives.

The GOP ultimately fell short of winning enough seats to finally control the House, which Democrats now govern with a slim 79-72 majority.

An analysis by The Associated Press of last fall's elections found that 60 percent of Missouri House races lacked a Republican or Democratic candidate - ranking in the top tier of states nationally.

According to the AP analysis, Colorado's Republican congressional candidates won 51 percent of the statewide vote in November to maintain their 4-3 margin. Among the two dozen most populated states that determine the vast majority of Congress, there were almost three times as many with Republican-tilted U.S. House districts.

A separate statistical analysis conducted for AP by the Princeton University Gerrymandering Project found the extreme Republican advantages in some states were no fluke. It also underscores years of legal battles in Texas over redistricting. The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal.

A lawyer who helped draft the current districts, Thomas Sheets, argues an analysis of the Republican-controlled 2015 Nevada Legislature would produce different results.

North Carolina's legislative and congressional maps, drawn by Republicans after the 2010 Census, have faced protracted litigation.

About 75 percent of the state House races in Arkansas and SC lacked either a Democratic or Republican candidate. How the court rules could influence congressional redistricting and legislative reapportionment nationwide after the 2020 Census. In Florida, Republicans had about 11 more seats in the state House than what would be expected statistically.

The AP used its method to calculate efficiency gaps for all states that held partisan House or state Assembly elections for all of their districts in 2016. Some of the proposed shifts sought to move heavily black precincts - where voters overwhelmingly support Democrats - from Republican-held districts into ones occupied by Democrats. "Their problem is weak candidates who run poor campaigns based on bad ideas, not the districts", said Christopher West, spokesman for House Speaker Bill Howell, R-Stafford.

For its analysis, the AP scrutinized all 435 U.S. House races in November using an "efficiency gap" statistical method created to calculate partisan advantage. The study calculated that the GOP won at least two more seats than what would be expected based on its share of the statewide vote.

According to the formula, the Utah GOP also won one more Congressional seat than their vote totals would merit. Democratic House Whip Carolyn Hugley criticized it as gerrymandering meant to create safer Republican seats.



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