News and Observer: "Utah
Loses Bid to Wrest Congressional Seat from North Carolina." November 1,
In a dispute involving the 2000 census, Utah lost a round Thursday in an effort to wrest a congressional seat from North Carolina.
A panel of federal judges voted 2-1 to dismiss Utah's suit, which would have given the state a fourth seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said he will appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.
North Carolina officials said they hope Utah abandons the effort. North Carolina gained a 13th seat in Congress because of the census.
The suit was one of two that Utah has filed questioning the Census Bureau's figures. The state missed out on a fourth congressional seat by 856 people.
In the other suit Utah unsuccessfully argued that Mormon missionaries who were out of the country in April 2000 should have been included. Utah lost that suit as well and is appealing to the Supreme Court.
In the case decided Thursday, Utah's claim was based on a method used by the U.S. Census Bureau in the once-a-decade count.
When census workers couldn't count people at a given household after repeated visits, the Census Bureau would assume the same number of people lived there as in the neighboring dwelling.
One may think that 22-year veteran GOP Rep. Jim Hansen is safe in his conservative 1st Congressional District.
But Utah Democratic Party officials say Republican legislators harmed Hansen in redrawing his district this year, giving him more than half of Salt Lake City and taking away his southwest Utah strongholds of Washington and Iron counties.
"We can win this thing" in the 2002 election, said Democratic Party executive director Todd Taylor.
Hansen could not be reached for comment. But Joe Cannon, state GOP chairman, said Hansen will do just fine in his new district. "He is a real treasure for this state."
Hansen is not enthralled with how GOP lawmakers redrew the 1st District. He previously told the Deseret News the redrawn 1st District "wasn't my idea. This is the third (redistricting) I've been through, and the one thing you can count on is that you'll never be happy. I don't think it's best for Utah. But I can win it. It should make for a spirited election. I'll work real hard."
The new 1st District runs west from 700 East in Salt Lake City to the county's west boundaries (it takes in 52 percent of the city's population). It includes the whole counties of Box Elder, Tooele, Cache, Rich, Morgan, Summit, Weber, Davis and the sparsely populated western part of Juab County.
In 11 elections, Hansen has coasted to victory in all but two, rarely raising or spending more than $250,000. In 2000, he beat Democrat Kathleen McConkie Collinwood by a 69-27 percent margin.
But Hansen was nearly unseated in 1986 and 1990. "If not for the heavy Republican vote around St. George in 1986 and 1990, Jim Hansen would not be in the U.S. House," said Meg Holbrook, state Democratic Party chairwoman.
That's debatable, a review of voting statistics shows.
In 1986, Hansen beat the late Rep. Gunn McKay, D-Utah, by 4,971 votes ó and he carried Washington County by 4,107 votes. In 1990 Hansen beat Democrat Kensley Brunsdale by 13,255 votes and carried Washington County by 3,615 votes. But it is true that southwestern Utah has given Hansen huge majorities. And those residents won't see Hansen on their ballots next year.
The 2002 1st District race "will be very interesting," says Donald Dunn. Dunn lived in Rose Park in Salt Lake City in 2000 when he challenged and lost to Rep. Chris Cannon, R-Utah, in the old 3rd District.
Dunn, who moved to Park City earlier this year, was one of half a dozen people the party is talking to about challenging Hansen.
"Maybe I might do it," said Dunn, a fund-raiser for the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah. "The new 1st District is certainly a lot better for a Democrat than the old 3rd District was." Dunn drew only 38 percent of the vote against Cannon.
Taylor says the new 1st District votes Democratic about 42 percent of the time. But that number can be deceptive because in the past Democratic 1st District candidates have carried Weber, Morgan, Juab and Tooele counties and run strong in all the northern counties except Davis.
Taylor gives this thumbnail sketch of how "the right Democratic candidate" could win: The roughly 90,000, mostly Democratic voters in Salt Lake City cancel out the 90,000 GOP voters in Cache and Box Elder counties. Summit County voters cancel out Rich and Morgan counties' Republicans. "We win Tooele County and the small mining towns in Juab County. If we win big in Weber County and hold our own in Davis County, which will go Republican, we can win this thing," he said.
Democrat Reed Richards didn't do well in the 2000 attorney general's race, losing to Republican Mark Shurtleff 57-40 percent. Holbrook said Richards, an Ogden attorney, is another Democrat the party is wooing. Richards says he hasn't even thought about running against Hansen.
While he failed statewide against Shurtleff, "Reed won 46 percent of the vote in the new 1st District," said Holbrook. "And that in a year when (U.S. Sen. Orrin) Hatch and (President) Bush won with 70 percent majorities. We think the 2000 election with Hatch and Bush gave a 4-, maybe 5-percentage-point bump to Republican candidates."
And 2002 won't have a presidential or U.S. Senate race in Utah, she points out.
The 1st District will be a high-profile race, says Holbrook, and Hansen may not fare well under the bright TV lights.
Cannon said should the 1st District race "be more illuminated" in 2002, that's only good for Hansen. "Illuminate away ó he is the chairman of one of the most powerful committees ó not subcommittees but committees ó in Congress: House Resources. Only a dozen states can boast that kind of influence and power. There is nothing in his background that could be any damage ó it is all positive. And the more people in Utah who learn that, the better he does."
But Hansen has been prickly in public campaigns before, says Taylor. "Think about it. All of the TV stations' headquarters, the two big newspapers' offices, the downtown business community, the State Capitol and City-County Building ó much of the Establishment ó all are in the 1st District now, not the 2nd District," which was the traditional home of the capital city.
"We believe the media will be paying attention" to the 1st District race in 2002, said Holbrook. "And Jim Hansen will have to show up, debate in the city, and people will be paying attention."
E-mail: [email protected]
U.S. Rep. Jim Matheson is not happy with the way the Legislature redrew his 2nd Congressional District.
Matheson, a democrat, said he's going to make sure all his new constituents, including those in northern Utah County, are represented on Capitol Hill.
"Since I have been on this job, I have tried to represent statewide issues," Matheson said. "I don't care where my district boundaries are. I have people coming from all over the state."
Matheson's old 2nd District consisted of Salt Lake City and parts of Salt Lake County not claimed by the 1st or 3rd congressional districts.
Earlier this month, the state Legislature approved new district maps that divided Salt Lake City between the three districts, and extended Matheson's territory from the east side of Salt Lake City to Vernal, south to Four Corners, west to St. George and north to Cedar City.
The new district alignment also puts Lehi, American Fork, Alpine and Highland into the 2nd Congressional District, giving Utah County its first democratic representative in Congress since 1996, when Rep. Chris Cannon, R-Utah, defeated then-Rep. Bill Orton, a democrat.
Redistricting plan proponents said it was necessary to ensure that Utah's congressional delegation had a mix of rural and urban constituents in the districts they represent.
Matheson said that flies in the face of the original intent of the Founding Fathers.
"During the process, I tried to explain how the Senate had the statewide perspective and all states were equally represented, while the House of Representatives is closer to the people," Matheson said.
The plan the Legislature endorsed was done at the request of Republican leaders in Washington determined to increase their numbers in Congress, he said.
Matheson said he's prepared to do what it takes to represent the expanded district and campaign for re-election next year.
"Since I have been on the job, I have learned an important lesson. I learned to talk to people," Matheson said.
Another thing he said he's learned is that the federal government needs to provide the funding it promised for special education, as well as reduce the bureaucratic requirements that are burning out school teachers.
The government, Matheson said, promised to provide 40 percent of the special education funding. So far, it is only providing 17 percent, and that creates an unfunded mandate for the states.
Donald W. Meyers can be reached at 344-2544 or [email protected]
The Legislature's redrawing of the state's political boundaries every 10 years is a confusing process.
Reflecting that, a new poll shows that about a third of Utahns have no opinion of what lawmakers did in redrawing the lines for Utah's congressional and legislative seats. A third agree with Democrats, who ran radio ads slamming the GOP-drawn plans, that the minority party was harmed while Republicans were helped. But another third say both Democrats and Republicans were treated fairly in redistricting.
Gov. Mike Leavitt signed off on the new boundaries last week.
Pollster Dan Jones & Associates, in a survey taken for the Deseret News and KSL, found that 33 percent of Utahns believe the GOP-controlled Legislature treated Republicans well, Democrats unfairly in the plans adopted by a special session two weeks ago. Twenty-six percent thought both Republicans and Democrats were treated fairly and 32 percent didn't have an opinion.
Republicans decided that Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson's 2nd Congressional District, which today lies wholly in Salt Lake County, should also include parts of rural Utah, where Democrats are weakest. Matheson and others complained loudly, saying it made no sense to take the state's only urban district and push it into areas with very different needs.
But Republicans, led by Reps. Jim Hansen and Chris Cannon, were adamant: The Utah delegation should speak with one voice on urban-rural issues and giving all three part of rural Utah would ensure that.
Again, Jones found Utahns about equally divided on the issue of pushing Matheson's district into rural Utah.
Finally, Jones asked if it was wise to thrust Hansen's 1st District, which today takes in only a small sliver of northwestern Salt Lake City, much further into the city. Under the plan, Hansen's district will now take in more than half of the city's population.
Jones found that 37 percent liked that idea, 37 percent disliked it and 26 percent didn't know.
Some Democratic leaders complained it was unfair to give half of Salt Lake City to conservative Hansen. But Salt Lake County residents split on pushing Hansen's district so much into the city ó Jones found as much as 33 percent of county residents favored Hansen getting so much of the city, while 39 percent disapproved.
Not unexpectedly, Democrats had very different views, Jones found.
Still, nearly a fourth of those who said they are Republicans thought that Republicans were treated fairly and Democrats treated unfairly in the redistricting process. Nearly 70 percent of Democrats thought Republicans did well by themselves but harmed Democrats.
A key number for both Republicans and Democrats in the 2002 election is what the political independents ó those who don't subscribe to any political party and often decide close legislative races ó felt about redistricting.
Jones found that 35 percent of independents believed the Republicans were treated fairly and the Democrats treated unfairly in the process, which was controlled by Republicans. But a fourth of independents thought both parties were treated fairly and a third didn't even have an opinion, Jones found.
The large undecided numbers in the poll reflect that "many people didn't understand what was going on," said Jones. But whether Democrats can win votes by educating the citizens on any perceived or real unfairness is yet to be seen.
Jones has polled in Utah for 30 years, for the newspaper for more than 20 years. He had close view of redistricting this year, his wife is Rep. Patrice Jones, D-Cottonwood Heights.
Redistricting takes place every 10 years following a census count. By law, the Legislature must redraw Utah's U.S. House district boundaries and those of the 75 state House and 29 state Senate seats to reflect changes in population.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that, as best as possible, the vote of each person must have the same weight in each district ó so districts should have about the same numbers of people.
The process is inherently political. The majority party in the Legislature controls the process and wants to draw lines that benefit its incumbents. In Utah that means the majority Republicans want to make Republican-leaning seats even more Republican and ensure the Democrats get new districts that are more Republican and tougher to win.
In redrawing the new boundaries, some incumbents end up in districts with other incumbents.
The Legislature didn't combine any of the state's three U.S. House members. But legislators made Democrat Matheson's seat much more Republican.
The Republicans combined six Democratic House and two Democratic Senate incumbents. They only combined two House GOP incumbents. But one of those, Rep. Glenn Way, R-Spanish Fork, had already announced he wasn't seeking re-election in 2002.
Gov. Mike Leavitt signed legislation Thursday that will radically change voting districts in the state -- an overhaul that has Democrats crying foul and Republicans banking on an even larger majority.
Leavitt, a Republican, approved five redistricting bills in an uncharacteristically low-key manner.
Spokeswoman Natalie Gochnour said Leavitt wanted to avoid fanfare in signing the bills, approved in a legislative special session ended Oct. 1.
The three-term governor also put his stamp of approval on 10 other bills approved in the three-day special session. Among the pieces of legislation was one extending arrest powers to out-of-state peace officers recruited to provide security during the Winter Olympics, a bill reinstating a law prohibiting the unauthorized practice of law and correcting a revenue bond bill to allow construction of a planned expansion of the Huntsman Cancer Institute.
Leavitt attorney Gary Doxey said the governor returned late Wednesday from a trip to New York and signed all of the special session bills Thursday morning.
The redistricting bills that change voting boundaries for Utah's U.S. House, state House and Senate divided lawmakers along party lines, with majority Republicans having the final say.
In an earlier interview, Leavitt attempted to distance himself from redistricting by saying it was primarily a legislative responsibility in which he did not try to "interfere."
He repeatedly deflected questions about the fairness of the new maps, saying only that they met his tests of being logical and legal.
"It's sad. He ignored what the majority of voters in Utah asked," said state Democratic Chairwoman Meghan Holbrook.
"The Republican Party is out of touch with Utahns," she said. "This is way over the line. It sends a message that this is a one-party state and that is not good in the long run."
Utah Republican Executive Director Scott Parker said the griping is limited to a few partisan Democrats.
"Everyone is pretty satisfied with the way it was handled," said Parker. "It was a good, fair plan and we'll move forward."
Parker insisted Salt Lake County will come out a winner, with the majority of its populace split between the districts of Republican Rep. Chris Cannon and Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson.
"With almost 40 percent of the population of this state," he said, "Salt Lake County deserves more than one voice in Congress."
This is a tale of two whips: Republican David Ure and Democrat Patrice Arent.
For Ure, majority whip of the Utah House, it is the best of times.
For Arent, whip of the minority party in the House, it is the worst.
During the Legislature's once-a-decade redistricting, the boundaries of Ure's House District 53 were contorted in a way that virtually assures his re-election, and keeps alive his aspirations to become House speaker.
But the new map probably consigns Arent to the political ash heap after a bright but short-lived stint in the Legislature.
The contrasting fates of the two whips vividly illustrate how personal motives and ambitions can dictate political geography. It shows how neighborhoods, cities and even counties get shredded by voting boundaries when it serves what some see as a higher interest -- the preservation of select elected officials and the annihilation of others.
All told, Democrats estimate they will lose six seats in the Legislature as a result of the new maps, and radically reshaped U.S. House voting boundaries put Democrat Rep. Jim Matheson at risk.
Republicans say that given their super-majority in the state, they were amazingly evenhanded. It could have been much worse for the minority, they say. The GOP controls the 104-seat Legislature by a 2-1 margin, holds four of the five congressional seats and all five statewide offices, including governor.
"We have done it according to the Constitution and state law and it has been as fair as I can make it," said Redistricting Committee House Chairman Gerry Adair, R-Roy. Population growth occurred mainly in Republican areas, so it is only natural that the GOP should pick up new seats, he said.
Adair and others are offended by news stories and editorials criticizing the GOP as greedy and unfair. Many Republicans are livid over Democrats' persistent complaints. It is the minority party, they say, that is to blame for the rancor and bitterness during the map-drawing legislative special session.
"They wanted it to be a divisive issue," said Adair. "They wanted it so they could beat up on us . . . so they could go to you and other media and keep it on fire."
Other Republicans point the finger directly at Arent, who served as a vocal proponent of the minority party on the Redistricting Committee.
"She stuck the finger in their eye every time she turned around," said Rep. Glenn Way, R-Spanish Fork. "Patrice wanted to turn this into a fight from the beginning, and that's what it's all about. She had no intent whatsoever to work things out."
Way claims that even if it weren't for the Republican maps, Arent's political demise was all but inevitable.
"If she could get elected again, she wouldn't be in leadership any more," charged the conservative Republican. "She didn't represent her caucus, didn't represent her party, she didn't represent constituents of the Democratic Party."
Arent is unquestionably one of the dynamos of the minority party in Utah, and not one to play the meek facilitator -- which is, she claims, what Republicans seemed to want.
"They kept telling us, 'You shouldn't complain. It could be worse,' " said Arent. "I was told to be quiet. I was told, 'Don't ask these questions.' "
An attorney and tireless advocate for her causes, she peppered Republican Redistricting Committee members with questions about the legality and the appropriateness of maps. Some saw it as laying the groundwork for a lawsuit.
Elected in 1996 by knocking off GOP incumbent Darlene Gubler, Arent held onto the seat through two elections, winning handily over tough Republican challengers. But that is history.
In next year's election, she teeters near the edge of a reconfigured House District 46 in southeastern Salt Lake County that bears little resemblance to her current District 41. Most of her constituents have been reshuffled to another representative. A block of neighborhoods containing about one-third of her old constituents has become an appendage welded onto the mostly intact district of Cottonwood Heights Democratic Rep. Karen Morgan.
Arent will have to decide next year to step down or challenge Morgan for the party's nomination -- the same choice facing five other Democrats placed in combined seats. Just two Republicans were merged into a single district, including Way, who announced prior to redistricting that he would be retiring after the current term.
"Patrice is a wonderful example of the type of person I want representing me," says Holladay-area resident Gary Oderda.
He said he is upset not only about being sliced out of Arent's district, but by the entire redistricting process.
"As a Democrat in Utah, I feel incredibly disenfranchised," said Oderda. "[Republicans] were acting like a bully who has two-thirds of the candy and doesn't want to share it. It was mean-spirited and meant to attack certain representatives."
Freshman Rep. Scott Daniels, D-Salt Lake City, says Arent's geographic elimination will leave a hole in the Democratic caucus. "If she's not re-elected she's going to be a real loss to us. The reason she's so valuable to us is she considers being a legislator her full-time job."
Daniels will inherit a piece of Ure's old district -- a chunk of Summit County that was carved off to render Ure's seat safe for him.
The result is the single most bizarre-looking district in the state. A tiny protuberance hanging clumsily from one edge -- a sort of geographic dangling chad -- contains Park City, population center of Summit County, the fastest-growing in the state.
Despite the fact Summit County now contains the perfect number of residents for a stand-alone House district, nearly 9,000 residents in communities surrounding Park City -- Summit Park and Snyderville Basin among them -- have been surgically removed and grafted onto Daniels' Salt Lake County District 25. At the same time, Ure's district kept Morgan and Rich counties, and took a swath out of Wasatch County to make up the needed population.
The funky border jumping solved what one Republican called Ure's little "problem up there," which was that the conservative rancher from Kamas might easily lose an all-Summit County district in the next election.
Last November, Snyderville Democrat Becky Richards beat the powerful Republican 6,100 to 5,430 in Summit County, but Ure held onto the seat by overwhelming Richards by a more than 2-1 margin in rural Morgan and Rich counties. There will be no second chance. Richards' neighborhood -- roughly a mile from Park City -- was lopped off the edge of Ure's reconfigured district.
The move was calculated, Ure reasons, but not sinister.
"In the back of my mind, I knew she would be cut out," he said. "From the get-go everybody understood I was in trouble if Summit County was all mine. I had to have some help."
Ure has been fighting for his political life for two years. His climb to the GOP's top echelon was stalled by the intensely public fight over a bill he sponsored that critics said would have made it easier for Questar Gas Corp. to raise consumer rates. Ure ultimately acknowledged Questar's role in writing the legislation and then killed the law a year later in a tearful House speech.
Ure, though, is uncommonly frank and has endeared himself to many Summit County leaders, as well as the farmers and ranchers whose land surrounds the million-dollar trophy homes that border the ski slopes.
In one breath he explains why the GOP was motivated to manipulate his and Arent's districts. "Bottom line? Majority rules. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."
With his next breath, he negotiates the sale of a baby bull Holstein to a man who pulls up in a flatbed pickup.
Ure's new district is a mixed blessing for Park City Democrats. While Ure's anti-abortion, pro-gun sensibilities offend some residents of the resort community, local elected officials have grown accustomed to Ure's ability to deliver political pork. He pushed through funding for Soldier Hollow Lodge, fought to protect a Park City public radio station against perceived intrusions by stations in Salt Lake City and worked hard, though unsuccessfully, to pass a tax break for the owners of second homes and vacation cabins.
"He's an influential legislator and he has been attentive to our needs," said Park City Manager Toby Ross, a Democrat. "Many of our issues aren't really partisan."
Park City Mayor Brad Olch and Summit County Commissioner Eric Schifferli said they rely on Ure's political clout.
Partisan or not, Ure's tenacity and talents in the hallways and backrooms of Capitol Hill are an asset to the community, says Gordon Strachan, a Park City attorney.
"Dave's a hell of a legislator," Strachan said. "I don't know why I can't convince more Park City folks to vote for him."
For one thing, critics contend, Ure's vision is clouded by ambition.
"We should celebrate diversity, not annihilate it," says Summit County Commissioner Shauna Kerr, a Park City Democrat. "Dave could have been a real leader. He could have stepped forward and done the right thing. Instead, he carved his own domain and left the scraps to Salt Lake County."
The first redrawing of Ure's district stopped one street from Richards' doorstep, an obvious gerrymander that was later smoothed out by pulling the district edge south another mile or two.
Summit County Commissioner Patrick Cone says Ure's "done well for us -- been very responsive."
Still, Cone, an Oakley Democrat, predicts the very partisan, and bitter, redistricting process will backfire on Ure and the Republicans.
"It will come back to bite them," he said. "When everybody in this country is trying to come together and work toward the common good, our leaders are tearing us apart."
Rep. Jim Matheson actually thought that Utah GOP leaders would be "fair" to him in redistricting.
"Boy, were we wrong," says Alyson Heyrend, Matheson's press aide.
In the end, Republicans in a special legislative session did what they said all along they would do ó push Matheson's 2nd Congressional District from being wholly in Salt Lake County out into rural areas.
And in the process, they gave Matheson many more Republican voters.
How do we know this? The state Democratic and Republican parties keep track, voting district by voting district, of how Utahns cast their ballots every two years.
While the exact numbers between the two parties vary, because they use some different benchmarks, an analysis of how the GOP-dominated Utah Legislature redrew the state's three U.S. House seats shows Matheson will have a tough re-election next year.
But the data also shows notable changes in the 1st and 2nd Districts, held by Republican Reps. Jim Hansen and Chris Cannon.
"The political dynamics in all three (House seats) were changed by redistricting," said Joe Cannon, state GOP chairman and brother of Chris.
Democrats figure Matheson's district goes from being 53 percent Republican in voting preference to 59 percent GOP, based on 2000 election returns.
Republicans actually think the new 2nd District is even more Republican ó around 62 percent. In any case, exactly how Matheson will fare, with a new district that cuts out some of his Salt Lake County base and gives him 14 eastern and southern Utah counties, is still unclear.
"There's a lot of other factors" besides raw voting history numbers, says Todd Taylor, executive director of the state Democratic Party.
Who will be Matheson's GOP opponent? Will he or she be a good fund-raiser? How much outside money will come into the race? Will 2nd District voters be angry with Republicans for closing their 2002 primary election? Will voters still remember and hold a grudge over GOP redistricting in general? How will America's war against terrorism play out?
Matheson's future aside, how does the congressional redistricting affect the 1st and 3rd District races and hopes for Democrats there?
Some may remember the early 1990s, when Democrats Wayne Owens and Bill Orton held two of Utah's three U.S. House seats. Owens probably could have held on to his 2nd District House seat for years, even after the GOP-controlled 1991 redistricting made his seat more Republican. But Owens ran for the Senate in 1992 and lost. And it took a combination of President Bill Clinton slamming Utahns with creation of a national monument and a good, wealthy GOP candidate to knock Orton out in 1996.
In Republican-dominated Utah it's never wise for Democrats to count their eggs ó or votes ó beforehand.
But as Matheson is more vulnerable because GOP legislators this summer made his district about 5.7 percentage points more Republican, likewise there are new opportunities for Democratic opponents looking to challenge Hansen and Cannon.
For example, Hansen's 1st District will now include Salt Lake City's west side, Central City, Capitol Hill, even parts of the lower Avenues. While the district's population base will still be Davis and Weber counties, about 13 percent of its 744,390 people will be from those Salt Lake areas, some of the most Democratic neighborhoods in the state.
While Hansen's remodeled district is slightly more Democratic, overall residents there still vote around 60 percent of the time for Republicans, state Democratic voter-preference figures show.
Orton, who recently moved to the Federal Heights area of Salt Lake City ó which is in Matheson's new district, "is still keeping his Ogden home" and so could reside in Hansen's district should he decide to challenge him, said Meg Holbrook, state Democratic chairwoman. House candidates and members don't have to live in their districts, only live in their states. And Orton's Federal Heights house is just blocks from the 1st District's eastern border.
Orton has proven he can win in heavily Republican areas and actually took Salt Lake County in the 2000 governor's race.
Hansen said GOP legislators didn't do what he wanted.
"This is the third one (redistricting) I've been through, and the one thing you can count on is that you'll never be happy," Hansen said.
"I don't think it's best for Utah. But I think we can win" in the newly drawn 1st District. "It should make for a very spirited election. The (redistricting plan) I came up with was better, but we'll live with it. I'll work real hard," Hansen said.
For the first time in 20 years, Utah County won't be the population base of Cannon's 3rd District. Forty-nine percent of Cannon's population will be in southwestern Salt Lake County; 42 percent will be in Utah County, which gives up several northeastern cities to Matheson's 2nd District.
Cannon's district is still heavily Republican in its voting preferences, more than 65 percent, says Taylor. But the opportunity to have a viable Salt Lake County Democratic candidate make a real run at Cannon, using county residents as his base, is definitely increased.
"This means I've got a huge new base of people to represent," said Chris Cannon.
It's difficult to beat a GOP incumbent in Utah. But Hansen, 69, has already said that if the Republicans lose control of the House, he will retire. If Democrats sweep to dominance in the House in the 2002, Hansen could be out in 2004.
Cannon could look for greener political fields in 2004 as well, when Gov. Mike Leavitt's seat will be open. The new lines in the 1st and 3rd congressional districts could prove critical to Democrats in open races over the next eight years.
Cannon, who lives in Utah County, said after he's gone there is a real possibility of a Salt Lake County person winning the 3rd District, and Utah County losing its traditional congressman.
"No county owns a seat," the congressman said. "Certainly Utah County is not the dominant force in the 3rd District anymore."
As the dust settles on Utah's 2001 congressional and legislative redistricting, one thing is clear: Republicans overall were helped, Democrats hurt.
But it will take the 2002 elections to determine just how fairly Democratic incumbents were treated by the Republican-dominated Legislature, which approved the redistricting maps this week.
House Speaker Marty Stephens, R-Farr West, says compared with what happened to Democratic state House members in 1991 redistricting, they fared better this year.
Certainly, Democrats will lose some state House and Senate seats next year. They lose three House seats and one Senate seat automatically because six Democratic House incumbents and two Democratic senators were combined in the same districts.
Only two neighboring GOP House members were combined, and some were helped. One of those combined with another Republican was Rep. Glenn Way, R-Spanish Fork. But he had already announced before redistricting that he isn't seeking re-election next year. No GOP senators were combined.
Currently, Republicans control the House 51-24. They control the Senate 20-9.
"We were hurt," said Todd Taylor, state Democratic Party executive director and an expert on legislative politics. But Taylor said the 2002 election returns will tell just how badly Democrats were harmed. "Our goal now is to hang on" to the overall number of Democrats in the House and Senate, he said. "And considering what's happened, that is a realistic, but difficult, goal."
Legislative candidates aren't as well known as congressional office-seekers, and so party voting preference statistics ó compiled by both the Utah Democratic and Republican parties ó probably mean more in those often-anonymous contests.
Stephens says census numbers prove that most growth came in traditionally GOP-dominated bedroom communities in Salt Lake County and elsewhere. "Democrats had to lose two to four seats" in the 75-member House because of the numbers, Stephens said.
Democrats don't argue census numbers or population shifts. But they point to their own draft plans that combined one Democratic House incumbent with one GOP incumbent as an example of how five Democratic incumbents could have been saved if Republicans hadn't been so partisan.
In any case, an analysis of party voting preferences in the House and Senate shows who may ultimately benefit and who may not.
House Majority Whip Dave Ure, R-Kamas, for one, was probably saved. Ure had the western part of Summit County taken out of his district. Even though Ure, who lost the Summit County vote in his last three elections, keeps Democratic-leaning Park City in his new seat, his district will increase its GOP vote by more than 3 percentage points. His district is now around 55 percent Republican-voting, a change that should greatly help Ure win re-election in 2002.
Other Republican House incumbents who get significantly more GOP voters include Reps. Carl Saunders, R-Ogden; Doug Aagard, R-Kaysville; Peggy Wallace, R-West Jordan; Afton Bradshaw, R-Salt Lake; and Bryan Holladay, R-West Jordan.
Bradshaw is the lone Republican who holds a seat in Salt Lake City. And GOP leaders clearly wanted to help her in her University of Utah/east-side area. They increased her GOP voters by about 2 percentage points and pushed her district from slightly Democratic to slightly Republican. House Democrats dinged
Several House districts currently represented by Democrats were to give them considerably more Republicans. But that doesn't automatically mean they Democrats will lose next year.
Taylor says a key statistic is how close the 2000 election was. If the new district is more Republican by the same percent as the Democratic incumbent won by, then it means trouble.
Rep. Trish Beck, D-Sandy, is a prime example.
Beck's new district is 4 percentage points more Republican voting. In 2000, Beck defeated GOP challenger Dan Simons by about 6 percent. A shift of 3 percent of the voters from Beck to Simons would have cost Beck the election. Beck's old district was voting nearly 60 percent Republican, so she was already beating the odds. "We don't know if she can win there now," said Taylor.
Beck is challenging Sandy Mayor Tom Dolan this year, saying she feared the GOP Legislature would hurt her so badly in redistricting she'd try to serve constituents in a new forum.
Other Democratic House members who now have significantly more Republicans in their new districts include Reps. Carl Duckworth, D-Magna; Scott Daniels, D-Salt Lake; Eric Hutchings, D-Kearns; and Brad King, D-Price.
Daniels' district is still so Democratic, he's safe. Hutchings, however, was appointed to his seat this summer and so has never run a campaign or faced voters. In addition, his new district is 8 percentage points more Republican-voting ó the biggest shift in the House, making it 56 percent Republican. He clearly has an uphill fight next year, said Taylor.
King's district gained 5.5 percent more Republicans, changing it from a majority Democratic voting district to one that has a Republican majority. If a Republican takes District 69 next November it will be the first time anyone can remember that Carbon County, the district's historic home, would be represented by a GOP legislator.
Taylor says it's still unclear exactly whose district Rep. Max Young, D-Moab, is in. Republicans, apparently, lumped Young into King's district, although there's the possibility Young could move his mobile home in Moab into the geographically elongated district of Rep. Jack Seitz, R-Vernal. If he is in with Seitz, Young's district would go from being 54 percent Republican to 74 percent Republican. In any case, there's no way Young could beat Seitz next year or dislodge King as the Democratic nominee in King's Carbon County-based district. Senators quiet
Most media coverage of the redistricting special session focused on the Utah House and U.S. House. And the analysis numbers shows why ó only one incumbent senator was given a new district so changed in Republican vs. Democratic voters that she is in real jeopardy next year.
The West Valley district now held by Sen. Millie Peterson, a Democrat who had Sen. Ron Allen, D-Stansbury Park, lumped in with her, has been put at risk, Democrats say.
Peterson managed to win some tough re-elections in the 1990s, but her new district is nearly 3 percentage points more Republican than before. Her district was slightly Democratic and now is slightly Republican.
Democrats face a double-whammy here. If both run, either Allen or Peterson will be eliminated in an intraparty fight and then the Democratic nominee could lose to a Republican challenger in the final vote.
Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, gets a new district that is considerably more Republican. Stephenson gives up some north Utah County areas for southwest Salt Lake County areas and gains 3 percentage points on the GOP side.
Senators had a real battle over how to handle Sens. Mike Dmitrich, D-Price, and Leonard Blackham, R-Moroni. In the end, Dmitrich got his own Carbon County-based district, which is actually slightly more Democratic than his old seat.
Blackham's district now has 5 percent more Democrats. However, his central Utah district is still around 70 percent Republican, so he should have no trouble winning re-election.
Senate Majority Leader Steve Poulton, R-Sandy, has his eye on running for Senate president some day. His new district is 2 percentage points more Republican through redistricting. His new 54 percent Republican-voting area should help him win re-election.
Democrats in the Senate didn't complain like their House counterparts, and for good reason: Dmitrich was not lumped in with a GOP incumbent, which would have meant certain defeat.
Sen. Paula Julander, D-Salt Lake, in early GOP drafts, was redistricted out of office. But in the end she got her old Avenues district basically restored. It's slightly more Republican, but with 63 percent Democratic voters she should have no trouble in a re-election bid. And the district of Sen. Karen Hale, D-Salt Lake, is actually 4 percentage points more Democratic.
Many incumbent Utah lawmakers-Republicans and Democrats-emerge as either winners or losers in the legislative redistricting concluded this week in the wake of the 2000 U.S. Census.
Republican incumbents who will now have
significantly more GOP voters in their districts:
Democratic incumbents who now have
significantly more Democratic voters in their districts:
Democratic incumbents who were placed
in reworked districts with other Democratic incumbents; one of each pair
definitely will be out of office after 2002: Reps. David Litvack and Fred
Fife, both D-Salt Lake
Democratic incumbents whose new
districts are significantly more Republican:
Some Republican incumbents now find themselves in districts that have more Democratic voters. But the new districts are still so overwhelmingly Republican, additional Democrats should not put the GOP incumbents in re-election jeopardy. Of these, Reps. Glenn Way, R-Spanish Fork, and Matt Throckmorton, R-Springville, have been combined in a safe GOP district ó and Way has already said he's not seeking re-election.
Democrats are asking Gov. Mike Leavitt to veto redistricting bills passed during a special session of the Legislature.
Meghan Holbrook, chair of the Utah State Democratic Party, delivered a letter to Leavitt today asking that the redistricting bills for the state House, state Senate and Congress be rejected by the governor.
Holbrook told the governor the bills have "a number of problems" and are "illogical."
Her top concern, she said, is that the new redistricting maps unnecessarily divide large communities ó the congressional plan splits Salt Lake City and Juab County; the state Senate map splits Tooele County four ways and cuts the city of Tooele in half; and the state House plan divides small rural counties including Summit, Rich, Sanpete, Carbon and Grand "without necessity."
"There are ways to draw the maps that would have kept all of those communities together," Holbrook wrote. "There was no need to split any city in the state for congressional redistricting, which could have been accomplished merely by dividing Salt Lake County."
Holbrook said the Hispanic communities of Salt Lake County and Ogden were "possibly illegally fragmented." She said the maps also promote "general voter confusion."
Leavitt has already stated he sees no reason to veto any of the 11 bills approved by state lawmakers.
In the end, Utah House Democrats refused to yield and their Republican colleagues decided not to risk another public-relations setback.
So legislators adjourned a three-day special session Monday night -- without any more Democratic arm-twisting -- after accomplishing what they set out to do: redraw district lines for the U.S. House, Utah House and Senate and State School Board.
Now GOP Gov. Mike Leavitt will sign the redistricting bills and Democratic leaders will decide later whether to sue the state over what they call unfair persecution of the minority party.
Lawmakers adopted only six of the 13 other bills Leavitt sent them -- and reversed themselves Monday afternoon by killing a political-party bill that Leavitt and some moderate Republicans desired.
"Most of the bills that we had on the session were put there at the request of a legislator, and when things turned out to be a little bumpy on redistricting, I spoke with legislative leadership and told them what my priorities were," Leavitt said early Tuesday from Washington, D.C., where he will attend meetings on e-commerce and Olympic security this week. "They passed them, and I felt fine about what they did."
But the death of the so-called "closed primary bill" was a setback for the governor and a victory for conservative grass-roots Republicans. The bill's demise almost assures a closed GOP primary election next June.
Leavitt finally got two of three Olympic-related bills he wanted. But a bill that would increase the penalty for falsely reporting a bomb threat and causing a riot will have to wait for the 2002 general session.
"It would have been a good message to send, but it was not critical to our Olympic preparation," Leavitt said.
Monday's emotions showed it will take some time to heal the political and personal wounds of the 2001 redistricting -- a process that all described as brutal.
As vote after vote on the state House redistricting plan took place over the three days, fewer and fewer Democrats voted for a take-it-or-leave-it GOP plan that would cost House Democrats three seats next year by combining pairs of Democratic incumbents in new districts.
Some six out of the 24 House Democrats could be gone after the 2002 elections through combining and losing in districts that are now more Republican, minority party leaders say.
House Republicans combined two of their own -- Reps. Glenn Way, R-Spanish Fork, and Matt Throckmorton, R-Springville. But Way has already said he won't run again for the House, and Republicans created an open House seat in southern Utah County that almost assuredly will be won by a GOP candidate. So Republicans shouldn't lose any members through redistricting.
Maps of the state House and Senate districts, Congress and school board can be viewed on the Legislature's Web site at: www.le.state.ut.us.
Last week, House and Senate members decided that Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Matheson's 2nd District -- now all in Salt Lake County -- would include less of Salt Lake City and east-side areas and will gain 14 rural counties that run from the Uintah Basin to St. George and Cedar City.
As the session wound down Monday afternoon, Meg Holbrook, state Democratic chairwoman, said: "This (GOP redistricting) sends a message that we are a closed, intolerant, insensitive state. This is what you get when you speak with one voice."
GOP state chairman Joe Cannon disagreed, saying Utahns will be well-served by having three U.S. congressmen who have significant sections of Salt Lake County. "Now, in the U.S. House you basically have one person looking after Salt Lake County interests. Now you will have three -- regardless of whether they are Democrats or Republicans."
Lawmakers also approved an alternate four-member U.S. House plan that would be implemented only if the state wins its lawsuit against the U.S. Census Bureau. The state is challenging population totals that left Utah with its current three congressional seats and gave an extra seat to North Carolina.
Rep. Afton Bradhsaw, R-Salt Lake City, led an effort Monday to recall the four-member plan from the Senate so that House districts 2 and 3 could be revamped to include more of Salt Lake City -- including the residences of Matheson's mother and other relatives -- in Matheson's 2nd district. But the Senate refused to allow the four-member plan to be reconsidered.
Sen. Michael Waddoups, R-Taylorsville, said there was not enough support in the Senate GOP caucus to reconsider the four-member plan to accommodate the Mathesons, particularly given "all the bad press" generated by the Matheson and Democratic camps, he said. Only two Republican senators said they'd even think about making that change, Waddoups said.
But Bradshaw said her concern was not to redraw lines for the Mathesons but to shift 55,000 people so that all of Salt Lake City would be in one congressional district.
The state House and Senate plans -- drawn with state GOP help -- reflect the growing populations in Republican-dominated bedroom communities along the Wasatch Front, Cannon said. "If a machine drew these lines, some Democrats" in the House and Senate would end up combined or out of their districts because of population shifts, Cannon said.
House Minority Leader Ralph Becker, D-Salt Lake, saw his small caucus fractured over whether to accept the Republicans' "best deal," which saved one Democratic seat for sure, or giving in to "extortion" and providing more Democratic votes for the House redistricting plan. In the end, the Democrats didn't yield.
Only five Democrats -- Reps. Pat Jones and Karen Morgan, both D-Cottonwood Heights; Neal Hendrickson, D-West Valley; Eric Hutchings, D-Kearns; and Ty McCartney, D-Salt Lake; voted for the House plan, which passed 54-20 with the only GOP negative vote coming from Rep. Wayne Harper, R-West Jordan.
In an earlier vote, nine House Democrats voted aye on the final bill, more on various GOP-demanded amendments. And after one vote failed to pass at all, House Republicans caucused for 45 minutes to debate privately whether they should try to force more Democrats to vote with them -- or face a more GOP-friendly redistricting map.
"We decided to just vote for this (the more Democratic-friendly) plan and go home," said House Majority Assistant Whip Greg Curtis, R-Sandy.
Republicans "offered proposals that have been ugly for us as a group and for different individuals," Becker said. "None of the proposals put forward were fair."
Nonsense, said Rep. Morgan Philpot, R-Sandy. Redistricting is done by political parties, which by their nature are partisan factions. "It amazes me, astounds me" to sit and listen to one party say it is more fair than another, Philpot said.
The final House vote will allow Republicans to say it was a bipartisan plan, but there was nowhere near the good feelings and support Senate Democrats gave to the Senate redistricting plan.
That plan only combined two Democrats -- Sen. Ron Allen, D-Stansbury Park, and Millie Peterson, D-West Valley. No Republicans were combined and, in the end, Republicans accommodated Sen. Paula Julander, D-Salt Lake, by not combining her with another incumbent and giving her back her Avenues base. The Senate passed its own redistricting plan by a 23-3 margin with three Democrats opposing it.
"I think this indicates we did the right thing," Waddoups said after the vote. While angry over the outcome, Holbrook and Democratic executive director Todd Taylor both said it may be the Democrats who get the last laugh.
Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Utah, now gets most of the population of Salt Lake City, including its heavily Democratic west side, as well as his traditional Davis and Weber county base.
And Matheson, the son of the late Gov. Scott M. Matheson, is a well-known name in his new rural counties.
"We already have a lot of interest among Democrats wanting to challenge" the 20-year-veteran Hansen, Holbrook said.
And Taylor says that previous Democratic candidates in the rural Utah counties Matheson now inherits "have done pretty well" in recent congressional elections. "This district can be won by Matheson," Taylor said.
The Republican-controlled Legislature has mapped out a 10-year plan for Utah politics that is likely to mean fewer elected Democrats.
Minority Democrats count six of their members in the Legislature who are doomed by the once-in-a-decade redistricting completed Monday -- the final installment of a three-day legislative special session that was the most rancorous in memory.
The Senate claimed, with some justification, that majority Republicans took the high road in drawing new voting districts that favor the GOP without annihilating Democrats. Two minority-party senators were combined in a Tooele-Salt Lake County hybrid that will cost either Sen. Millie Peterson, D-West Valley City, or Ron Allen, D-Stansbury Park, a seat.
But in the House it was a different story.
Democrats say five of their 24 members will be eliminated with the new maps approved on a mostly party line vote.
Among the expected victims: Minority Whip Patrice Arent, D-Holladay. Her district was erased from under her and her neighborhood was attached to the district of fellow Democratic Rep. Karen Morgan, Cottonwood Heights. Also combined are Salt Lake City Democrats David Litvack and Fred Fife; and Price Democrat Brad King's district is stretched to include Rep. Max Young, D-Moab. Additionally, Rep. Trish Beck, D-Sandy, and Eric Hutchings, D-Kearns, have been redistricted into mostly Republican areas.
Just five Democrats sided with Republicans in passing the bill 54-20.
"I vote no on the whole mess," an angry Lou Shurtliff, D-Ogden, said in a grim caucus meeting. "I sat on the Redistricting Committee, and I know what went on. It was not fair."
House Speaker Marty Stephens, R-Farr West, did not try to claim bipartisan support for the House plan, as he did last week when nine Democrats joined Republicans for preliminary approval.
"Both parties can spin this any way they want," Stephens said, estimating that four Democrats were likely to lose seats in the House as a result of redistricting. "We were fair in the process. Part of the problem was what the partisan Democrats kept saying in the press. It infuriated my people."
Democrats said Republicans earned the bully reputation -- and more.
Rep. Neil Hansen, D-Ogden, denounced the heavy pressure brought to bear on Democrats to deliver a block of votes for the preliminary House plan. "Why aren't we telling the press that Republicans are extorting us to get what they want?"
Republicans control the House 51-24 and the Senate 20-9, or by a two-thirds majority. The maps probably will boost that to a three-fourths majority.
Lawmakers also drew new U.S. House maps. As previously reported, Republicans reworked voting districts so that Utah's lone Democrat in Congress, Rep. Jim Matheson, will run for re-election in a district that contains a huge piece of rural Utah and a higher percentage of Republicans. Salt Lake City is split between Matheson's 2nd District and Republican Rep. Jim Hansen's 1st District. Republican Rep. Chris Cannon gets 41 percent of Salt Lake County in his reshaped 3rd District.
In an alternative four-member map approved as a contingency should Utah win its federal lawsuit against the U.S. Census Bureau and end up with a fourth U.S. House seat, Salt Lake City also would be split. An east-side slab of the capital city placed in Cannon's district would include the neighborhoods of several of Matheson's relatives, including his mother, former first lady Norma Matheson, and his brother, Scott Matheson Jr.
The residences of the Matheson family were discussed in a closed-door Republican Senate caucus, acknowledged Majority Leader Steve Poulton, R-Holladay. But he insisted it was the district's political makeup, not the Mathesons' presence, that led to the caucus' stand.
Republican senators were far more conciliatory in shelving a proposal to run a Davis County state Senate district over the mountain to scoop up most of Salt Lake City's Avenues neighborhood. The concession was touted by all sides as a victory for bipartisanship. Senate President Al Mansell, R-Sandy, used the compromise to say the Senate does not need an independent commission to draw political boundaries without gerrymandering special interests.
"I'm convinced nobody else could have done that. . . . You needed senators who were intimately involved," he said. "The Senate plan is a good plan that can serve the state for the next 10 years."
Sen. Paula Julander, D-Salt Lake City, who represents the Avenues, agreed. "In this case, the political process worked and we worked out a good-faith compromise," she said.
But not all was flowers and valentines in the Senate.
"How can you say we got a fair shake?" asked Peterson, whose district was merged with another Democrat's. "I can't. I'm sorry. Did they listen to the people who said they didn't want urban-rural congressional districts? No. Did they have to put Democrats together? No. People feel this is wrong."
Democrats weren't the only ones upset. House Republicans from Utah County ripped Senate maps that they said unfairly sheered away large chunks of their communities.
Republican Senate leaders "threatened many of us that if we didn't vote for it, we would be retaliated against," Rep. Jeff Alexander, R-Lindon, charged on the House floor. "We now have people who have no representation in Utah County, and that is not right."
Rep. Jim Gowans, D-Tooele, said nothing was as bad as his county's four-way split into different Senate districts, including a split carving the city of Tooele in half.
But Redistricting Committee House Chairman Gerry Adair, R-Roy, fended off the complaints, pointing to the four-way split of his hometown. The people of Roy "are not disenfranchised," he argued. "They've got four votes" in the Legislature.
Republican Gov. Mike Leavitt has the final say. He already has hinted he will approve the U.S. House redistricting maps.
Before legislators went home they passed several other bills.
They approved by large margins a resolution sponsored by Rep. David Litvack, D-Salt Lake City, condemning retaliation against Islamic and Arab communities in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Lawmakers at first balked at a bill aimed at granting arrest powers to federal and out-of-state law officers coming to Utah for the Olympics. But lobbying by Leavitt's staff and state Olympic Officer Lane Beattie, a former state Senate president, persuaded legislators to reconsider and pass the bill.
They also approved a measure extending workers' compensation insurance to those out-of-state officers coming in for the Games.
The Utah Four
Betting that Utah will win a court battle with North Carolina for a fourth House seat, the western state's GOP-controlled Legislature overwhelmingly approved a map last week that would create an urban, Republican-leaning district.
Meanwhile, preparing for the more likely scenario that the courts will deny Utah's request, the state's Republican-controlled House approved a plan to partition Salt Lake County into thirds and combine each section with the rural parts of Utah. State House Democrats, outnumbered 3-1, tried to amend the plans to create one urban district in Salt Lake County, but Republicans shot this idea down.
Under the four-Member plan, Rep. Jim Hansen's (R) 1st district would include most Salt Lake City voters. The top target of the plan is Rep. Jim Matheson (D) whose 2nd district gets pushed to the east edge of Salt Lake City and then stretched to the bottom of the state, making it mostly rural and even more Republican.
Utah lawmakers redrew political districts Monday after three days of partisan bickering and party infighting.
It's a task the Legislature does every 10 years with new U.S. Census population figures, with members of each party scrambling to protect their districts from wholesale changes.
Republicans and Democrats came to the special legislative session that began last week with their own versions of political boundaries for legislative, congressional and state school board districts.
Democrats, outnumbered by 2-to-1 in the Legislature, saw their proposals largely ignored. They complained that the new boundaries hurt their re-election chances.
The congressional redistricting plan approved by the Legislature splits Salt Lake County among Utah's three U.S. House districts, diluting the Democratic concentration in Rep. Jim Matheson's 2nd District. The plan awaits Gov. Mike Leavitt's signature.
Republicans maintain the split balances rural and urban interests in Utah.
Most of the special session was taken up by meetings of party caucuses, which the GOP holds behind closed doors.
One of the most divisive votes of the special session came Monday when the Utah House defeated the GOP redistricting plan by a single vote. The lawmakers rushed into caucuses, returning to finally approve the plan 54-20 with the support of five Democrats.
``This has been an exceptionally difficult process for all of us. And our emotions are high and our patience is thin,'' said Rep. Ralph Becker, D-Salt Lake City. ``We have felt as a minority caucus that we have been handled in a way that puts us in an exceptionally difficult situation. ... None of the proposals that have been put forward are proposals we consider fair.''
When Senate President Al Mansell, R-Sandy, explained the House's conduct by saying, ``It's a group that might eat their own.'' The Senate had already passed the House plans 22-4. Leavitt also threw in about a dozen other bills for the lawmakers' consideration.
One of the measures that was approved extended arrest authority to federal and out-of-state law enforcement during the 2002 Winter Olympics. Despite their strength of numbers, Republicans on the House floor were far from unified.
When debating the Senate's redistricting plans, Rep. Jeff Alexander, R-Lindon, said he felt threatened by senators to approve the changes. He voted against the new Senate borders because he said Utah County deserved a fifth senator.
``I guess if you vote against it, we can stay here as long as you want. I have a great deal of patience,'' said Rep. Gerry Adair, R-Roy.
However, he urged his fellow representatives, ``Let's get on with the business at hand and go home.''
The House did approve the plan by a slim 42-32 vote, which the Senate also passed by a vote of 23-3.
In addition, the House reversed course on a previously approved bill that would have given Utah Republicans a chance to reverse a decision to close the party's primaries.
Last week the House approved the bill by a vote of 57-11 in the Senate and 21-6 in the Senate. However, after an outcry from conservative party members, the Utah House killed the measure Monday afternoon by a vote of 48-25.
The bill would have pushed back the deadline to declare the need for a primary election from March 1 to May 13.
That would have, in theory, given delegates time to change their minds on the closed primaries during their state convention. The state GOP convention must be held each year by May 10.