Another New Distirct Maps Shakes up Missouri Senate Lines, Throws GOPer Kraus into Dem Distirct

From the Independendce Examiner: (with a tip o’ cap to TKC)
A state judicial panel on Friday redrew the political landscape for the second time in 10 days, with notable changes for Eastern Jackson County.
“We’re in unprecedented territory,” said state Sen. Will Kraus, a Lee’s Summit Republican who suddenly finds himself living in a predominantly Kansas City district represented by a Democrat.
“I was surprised, yes,” Kraus said after the Missouri Appellate Apportionment Commission unexpectedly withdrew state Senate districts it released Nov. 30 and then put out a new map, with changes to about a dozen of the state’s 34 Senate districts. New House districts released Nov. 30 remain unchanged.
Districts are redrawn every 10 years to reflect shifts in population. Two bipartisan commissions – one for the House, one for the Senate – could not agree on new districts this year, so the issue fell to the courts. A six-judge panel met behind closed doors to draw the maps.
Concerns – but no formal challenge – had been raised over the Nov. 30 Senate map because it divided several counties. The judicial panel on Friday simply replaced the Nov. 30 map on its own.
“No one knows if they have the right to do that,” Kraus said.
Friday’s changes generally affect the Kansas City, St. Louis and Springfield areas.
For Eastern Jackson County, it’s a tale of three maps.
Currently Jackson County has four Senate districts, two in Kansas City and two in Eastern Jackson County that also pick up parts of Kansas City. The 11th has all but the southeast corner and some of northeast of Independence, plus Sugar Creek and Raytown. It’s represented by Independence Democrat Victor Callahan. The rest of Eastern Jackson County is in the 8th – Lee’s Summit east to Lone Jack, north to Blue Springs, Grain Valley and Buckner, then curling back west into the area north of U.S. 24 and east of Missouri 291. It’s represented by Kraus.
The Nov. 30 map consolidated things somewhat. The 11th, Callahan’s district, covered all of Independence and much of the northeastern part of the county, plus Raytown and Unity Village. The new 8th – essentially a Blue Springs/Lee’s Summit district, the one represented by Kraus – would now include all of those cities (even the part of Lee’s Summit in Cass County) plus Grain Valley and Buckner. The two Kansas City districts were changed slightly. And a fifth Senate district – the 31st, currently stretching from Warrensburg to Nevada – was substantially redrawn to take in southeastern Jackson County, including Lake Lotawana, Lone Jack and Oak Grove.
But the judges threw that out.
“I’m shocked,” Kraus said. “Obviously the court didn’t feel they had the right representation, so they made changes.”
Apparently one of the concerns is that Senate districts are, by law, supposed to cross as few county lines as practical. The idea is to keep what politicians call “communities of interest” together. For example, the Nov. 30 map did that with Independence.
So now comes a third map, once again with just four senators for the county. The 11th, the Indepenendence district, doesn’t change much, and neither does the 9th in Kansas City. But the 8th – represented by Kraus – has a whole new look. Now it’s all of Blue Springs, much of Lee’s Summit, plus Grain Valley, Oak Grove, Buckner and a chunk of Lafayette County that includes Odessa, Wellington and Napoleon.
Retoggling those lines also now cuts Lee’s Summit into three pieces: some in the 8th, a portion in Cass County in the 31st and the biggest portion in the 10th – a predominantly Kansas City district that will now run like a capital “L” from the River Market south through a corridor between Troost and the state line into Grandview, then east into Lee’s Summit, roughly as far as downtown. That district is represented by Kansas City Democrat Jolie Justus.
That’s also the part of Lee’s Summit where Kraus lives, but he has time to weigh his options.
He was elected to a four-year term last year in the current 8th District.
“I’m going to continue to represent the 8th,” he said.
He’s not up for re-election until 2014 and wouldn’t face Justus anyway; she’ll be out because of term limits. He could run in the 10th or move into the new 8th. He’ll have to sort that out down the line, he said.

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