Behind the scenes there is a battle royale over new Jackson County voter lines and the 1st district provides the main point of contention.
Over the past week candidates believed that they would run under the current lines and redistricting would only impact the next election.
However . . .
A timely memo from KC's most prolific power player attorney challenged the protocols and the county counselor later announced that, in fact, the new district lines would apply to the current election.
This is important for a lot or reasons and we'll do our best to summarize . . .
* The new 1st district is HUGE and it more closely resembles an at-large district. From what we've heard, it stretches from Northeast all the way 135th street. It runs through the corridor and doesn't move very far east at all.
* There's no voting required on this new district. Technically, it's a done deal. 10-years-ago the Legislature at least gave their new map a rubber stamp. This time around, approval from the redistricting committee is the final word.
Now here's where things get even more interesting . . .
The new lines take 4th District contender Geoff Gerling and put him into the 1st District.
Of course he's not happy about it . . .
We were lucky enough to get in touch with him late last night and he offered this assurance on the record:
"If the county changes their decision and uses this new map. They can be 100% certain that I will sue," Mr. Gerling said.
He might have support in that complaint from some Northeast advocates who claim that the new lines eliminate the possibility of a Hispanic/Latino candidate to win an in-district contest.
However . . .
Supporters of the new map point to the new 1st district lines as having the highest concentration of Latinos in Jackson County.
Supporters also point out that the numbers of Republicans & Democrats on the Legislature will likely remain unchanged but now minority candidates will have more opportunity. This argument contends that people of color in Jackson County are, in fact, the base of the Democratic Party.
Something else to consider . . .
There's also the very real possibility of a counter-suit if the county runs the election under the old lines.
The big picture from Mr. Gerling . . .
"This is the worst example of Jackson County gerrymandering I've seen in my career."
Now . . .
This argument over voter lines impacts 1st District candidates as well . . .
Activist Justice Horn & School Board member Manny Abarca will likely have to adjust their campaign strategy if the new lines remain intact. A 1st district that runs the length of KCMO from North to South holds a variety of demographics and it seems that only a strong coalition will win the election.
However . . .
The threat of a court fight is now on the horizon and/or one of the most captivating three-way primary fights in KCMO history that should provide
all of the lulz a great deal of perspectives for voters to consider.
Developing . . .