Maps currently being considered by the Arizona Redistricting Commission would significantly change the political dynamic for the northwest corner of the state. Redistricting is a fluid process, with lots of changes introduced along the way, but congressional maps currently on the table would put Mohave and La Paz Counties in a new voter district with a big chunk of the western Phoenix metropolitan area. The communities of Sun City West and Surprise, as well as Luke Air Force Base, Goodyear and Buckeye, would join Lake Havasu City, Kingman, Parker and Bullhead City in the massive voter district. So many Maricopa County residents would be included, in fact, that they would make up about 70 percent of the district’s proposed population.
As one redistricting commissioner put it, the proposed Congressional District 9 looks like a rural district, but it’s actually a West Valley seat.
That’s concerning for a number of reasons -- the political breakdown is different in Mohave County than it is in Maricopa, for starters. Chief among the concerns is that it would serve to worsen Arizona’s growing urban-rural divide with representatives likely to spend all of their time and attention focused on the areas where the bulk of their voters live. It also introduces internal conflicts when it comes to water -- particularly issues involving the Colorado River. Residents upriver are increasingly unhappy with deals to pipe Colorado River water to Maricopa County. They need a congressional representative in their corner on water issues, not one that is torn trying to serve the needs of very disparate groups.
Normally, these things would get figured out in the redistricting process, but with a self imposed deadline of Oct. 27 to approve the draft maps, it’s looking more and more like these could be the versions we’re stuck with. That is, unless Mohave County residents speak up loudly in the next week to let the redistricting commission know that they don’t want a Maricopa takeover of their voting district.
— Today’s News-Herald