- Associated Press - Sunday, March 30, 2014
Redistricting shores up GOP hold in Wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin has long been a politically competitive state, with the governor and other offices flipping between parties, but Republicans in 2010 took advantage of their legislative majority to redraw congressional districts to strengthen their majority hold on the delegation in Washington.

A prime example of this is in central Wisconsin, where Democratic communities were shifted into a now-bizarrely shaped 3rd District in exchange for Republican areas that put the northern 7th District more solidly in the GOP’s block.

Democrats, activists and others have objected that the process was unethical. However, their complaints aren’t gaining any traction since Republicans retain power in the state Legislature and, thanks to the maps they drew, are likely to keep it for the foreseeable future.

“We no longer have any congressional districts that are competitive in the state of Wisconsin,” said Democratic state Rep. Fred Kessler, a former judge who has worked on redistricting issues in Wisconsin and other states since the 1960s. “Here we’ve had the politicians choosing the voters, rather than the voters choosing the politicians.”

The Republican-friendly maps drawn by the Legislature in 2011 can explain how the GOP was able to make gains in the 2012 election at the same time President Barack Obama carried the state by nearly 7 points. Despite the statewide win, Republican Mitt Romney carried five of the state’s eight U.S. House districts, 17 of 33 state Senate districts and 56 of 99 state Assembly districts.

In the three House districts held by Democrats, Obama won by 11 points, 38 points and 51 points, respectfully. Obama lost in all five districts held by Republicans by between 3 and 24 points.

Even under the new maps, three congressional districts currently held by Republicans - the 1st, 7th and 9th - still remain competitive, said University of Wisconsin political science professor David Canon who studies redistricting.


Woman’s body found in Jefferson County cornfield

TOWN OF INOXIA, Wis. (AP) - Authorities are trying to identify a body that a passing motorist found in a Jefferson County cornfield.

The driver reported noticing something out of the ordinary around midday Saturday a short distance off the road in the Town of Ixonia. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office says it turned out to be a woman’s body. The department did not release any other description of the body.

The county coroner requested an autopsy, and the sheriff’s department asked other law enforcement for any leads or information on missing people that might help identify the body.

Milwaukee police spokesman Lt. Mark Stanmeyer says his department is awaiting the autopsy results and identification of the body to see if the death is connected with any of its investigations.


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