(KCPW News) Utah is becoming more Republican, according to a contributor with the political science analysis forum Utah Data Points, and that means trouble for House Democrats in the redistricting process. Adam Brown, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Brigham Young University, says because Democratic House Districts are growing at a slower rate than GOP districts, Democratic incumbents will have a hard road ahead. He says they’ll likely take losses, regardless of whether there’s gerrymandering.
“The population has become more Republican and because population has moved into areas that tend to be Republican dominant.” Brown says. “It’s moving into Lehi, it’s moving into Herriman and Draper. It’s moving out of Salt Lake City.”
Brown says it will be up to the legislature to decide whether they put two incumbents into the same district, or take an over populated district and move some of its population into an underpopulated one. He says the typical Democratic district has 4,750 too few people in it.
“That’s a lot.” He says. “But the typical Republican Utah House District has 1,400 too many people in it. Now this means there’s a real opportunity for the legislature if they chose to, to merge together two Democratic districts and leave two Democratic incumbents in one district. Force them to fight it out in a primary and in effect force one of them out of the Legislature.”
Democrats whose districts could be merged with another one in Salt Lake County include Representatives Brian King and Marie Poulson. Republicans include Derek Brown and LaVar Christensen. The Legislature is expected to complete the redistricting process in the fall.