MO Statehouse
4:36 pm
Mon May 16, 2011

Political aspirations fueled redistricting animosity, says UMSL professor

One political expert is blaming some of the animosity between Missouri’s Republican legislative leaders during the just-ended 2011 session on political aspirations.

The battle over which redistricting map would be adopted got downright ugly at times between House and Senate negotiators.

David Robertson, a political Science professor at the University of Missouri – St. Louis, says much of that had to do with how the redrawn map would benefit current state legislators who may want to run for Congress someday.

“Absolutely...the future ambitions of the members of the legislature figured very prominently on the way the House seats would be redrawn," Robertson said.

None of the House or Senate Redistricting Committee members have announced any plans to run for Congress, although one member, State Senator Jason Crowell (R, Cape Girardeau), will be barred from seeking re-election due to term limits.  He would be a potential candidate to someday replace 8th District Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson (R).   

“Individual members of the legislature had different ideas about how the map would best lay out to provide a future path for different political careers,” Robertson said.

So far, the only current state lawmaker considering a run for Congress is State Senator Jane Cunningham (R, Chesterfield), who may jump into the 2nd District race.  Cunningham, though, was not a redistricting committee member.