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The Campaign Trail
U.S. Supreme Court To Hear Alabama Democrats' Redistricting Challenge PDF Print E-mail
The Campaign Trail
By Administrator   
Monday, 02 June 2014 16:34

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court said Monday it will consider whether Republican leaders in Alabama drew a new legislative map that illegally packed black voters into too few voting districts to limit minority political power.
 
The justices agreed to hear a pair of appeals from the Alabama Legislative Black Caucus and another group of Democratic lawmakers who contend the new map created in 2012 dilutes black voting strength and makes it harder to elect white Democrats outside the overwhelmingly majority-black districts.
 
Republican-led legislatures across the South have sought to increase the concentration of black voters in a few districts, which has led to the election of fewer white Democrats and more Republicans in other districts. Similar challenges are pending in Virginia and North Carolina. Overall, the National Conference of State Legislatures says there are currently 26 active redistricting lawsuits in eight states.
 
The Supreme Court allows the drawing of legislative districts for partisan purposes, but not on the basis of the race. The outcome of this case could come down to whether the justices believe partisan or racial interests predominate.
 
A panel of three federal judges had ruled 2-1 last year that the new districts were not discriminatory and did not violate the Voting Rights Act or the Constitution.
 
Like other states, the Alabama Legislature had to redraw political boundaries to reflect population shifts in the 2010 Census. The process can often lead to gerrymandering — the manipulation of district boundaries to gain a partisan advantage.
 
Joe Reed, chairman of the Alabama Democratic Conference, said the Republican-designed districts were contrived to reduce minority influence in surrounding, mostly white districts.
 
"They were doing their level best to wipe out white Democrats," he said. "They were trying their best to have a Legislature of white Republicans and black Democrats, and then they could ignore the black Democrats."
 
Alabama Republican Attorney General Luther Strange says in court filings that the new legislative districts are consistent with federal law.
 
Republican Alabama state Sen. Gerald Dial, co-chairman of the Legislature's Redistricting Committee, said the plan cleared the Justice Department and a three-judge panel without any problems, and he was surprised by the Supreme Court agreeing to review it.
 
"It's a total shock to me because we met all the guidelines that were in place at the time. But this is part of the process," he said.
 
Alabama Democrats contend that despite population shifts, the new map contains the same number of districts with majority black populations that were in a legislative redistricting plan produced a decade ago, when Democrats still controlled the Legislature. The plan has eight of the 35 Senate districts and 28 of the 105 House districts with a majority of black residents.
 
"Things can change in a way that a super-packed district comes to represent less power even if it keeps the same lines," said Justin Levitt, a law professor and redistricting expert at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. He said the high court could use the case to offer more guidance about the appropriate use of race in redistricting.
 
The three-judge panel rejected the claim about diluting black voter strength. In the majority decision, U.S. Circuit Judge Bill Pryor wrote that "the overwhelming evidence in the record suggests that black voters will have an equal opportunity to participate in the political process the same as everyone else." He was joined by U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins. Both are Republican appointees
 
The lone black judge on the panel, U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson, dissented. He is a Democratic appointee.
 
Tuesday's primary election will be the first to use the new districts. The Supreme Court will not hear arguments in the redistricting challenge until the court's new term begins in October, making it unlikely the case will be resolved before the general election on Nov. 4.
 
Reed, the state's Democratic Conference chairman, said he hopes the Supreme Court will order the Legislature to draw new districts and then Alabama will hold another legislative election. That occurred in 1983 when the plan drawn by the Legislature using the 1980 Census got struck down in court.
 
Alabama Republicans had similarly challenged the districts drawn by the Legislature's then-Democratic majority after the 2000 Census, but they also lost. Republicans gained control of the Legislature in the 2010 election.
 
Reed also said he's concerned the Supreme Court's review could go the other way, based on the court's ruling last year that wiped out a major provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. "I don't want the court to use this case to further undermine black representation," he said.
 
The cases are Alabama Legislative Black Caucus v. State of Alabama, 13-895, and Alabama Democratic Conference v. Alabama, 13-1138.
 
Political Donation Data Shows Doctors Align More With Democrats PDF Print E-mail
The Campaign Trail
By Administrator   
Monday, 02 June 2014 16:31

CHICAGO (AP) — Once strongly aligned with the GOP, American physicians are leaning more left, an analysis of campaign contributions over two decades shows.

 
The first rigorous look at donor doctors also finds they've become increasingly generous, with political contributions surging to almost $200 million in recent years.
 
An increase in female doctors — who more often than men donated to Democrats — and a decline in physicians working on their own or in small practices occurred during study years. Those changes likely contributed but reasons for the political shift are unclear, said study co-author David Rothman, a social medicine professor at Columbia University's medical school.
 
"We've got to stop thinking of physicians as a group as 'solidly Republican.' They are polarized, almost equally divided between Republicans and Democrats," Rothman said.
 
The study focused on donations of $200 or more to presidential and congressional candidates or political organizations from 1991 through 2012. At the beginning, almost 3 percent of U.S. doctors made contributions, rising to almost 10 percent by the end of the study.
 
Doctor donations to Republican candidates peaked in the mid-1990s, when almost 75 percent of all MD contributions went to the GOP. Those donations mostly declined after that, to about 50 percent in 2011-12. The exception was in 2009-10 during emergence of the Affordable Care Act, when Republican donations briefly increased.
 
Donations from non-physicians also increased and tilted more Democratic during the study, but the authors say the MD findings are remarkable for two reasons: they defy the historical image of doctors as a conservative, right-leaning bunch, and political contributions from doctors increased at a greater rate than among the general public.
 
Political alliances also differed by medical specialty: Surgeons, dominated by men, were the strongest GOP supporters while pediatricians — more than half of whom are women — were most likely to contribute to Democrats.
 
By the end of the study, 24 percent of women who donated gave to GOP candidates versus 52 percent of the men.
 
Women comprise almost one-third of the nation's 1 million physicians and almost half of medical school graduates, according to 2012-13 data from the Association of American Medical Colleges.
 
The study was published Monday in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine. The researchers analyzed data from the Federal Election Commission; a political contributions database created by Stanford political scientist Adam Bonica, the lead author; and health-care provider directories.
 
Doctors' right-leaning reputation dates back at least as far as 1965, when the American Medical Association strongly opposed the passage of Medicare, the study authors say.
 
The AMA has since lost sway — less than one-third of U.S. physicians are members — but it remains the nation's largest doctor group and a powerful lobbying presence in Washington. It also has moved more to the center, including voicing support for the Affordable Care Act.
 
In 2012, during the most recent presidential campaign, the AMA's political contributions totaled $2 million, with recipients including the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Republican National Committee and Barack Obama, according to the nonpartisan Center For Responsive Politics.
 
A journal editorial says the study provides an unprecedented, though largely predictable description of doctors' campaign contributions. The author, Dr. Arnold Relman, a professor emeritus at Harvard's Brigham and Women's Hospital, also questioned whether the study represents all physicians since contributions totaling less than $200 weren't included.
 
Rothman said it's unlikely the smaller contributions would have changed the results.
Last Updated on Monday, 02 June 2014 16:32
 
N.C. GOP: Sen. Richard Burr and Rep. Richard Hudson To Co-Chair GOTV Effort PDF Print E-mail
The Campaign Trail
By Administrator   
Monday, 02 June 2014 16:04

RALEIGH, (SGRToday.com) - As Republicans eye control of the U.S. Senate, North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr and his U.S. House colleague, Rep. Richard Hudson, are set to co-chair “Boots on the Ground,” a voter contact program jointly formed by the North Carolina Republican Party and Republican National Committee.

 
The N.C. Republican Party made the announcement. 
 
“Boots on the Ground” will be the strongest statewide Republican get-out-the-vote effort in North Carolina’s history, according to the state party's news release. The program focuses on neighbor-to-neighbor interactions to identify and turnout supporters, and utilizes state-of-the-art mobile app technology to allow for easier access and transmission of data. 
 
“Boots on the Ground” is also making unprecedented engagement and outreach with minority communities across the state, according to the state party. 
 
Field staffers have been organizing and recruiting precinct leaders for the past year with offices currently open in Asheville, Charlotte, Fayetteville, Greensboro, Greenville, Wilmington, and Winston-Salem. 
Last Updated on Monday, 02 June 2014 16:04
 
7th District Congressional Candidate David Rouzer Releases Statement On VA Scandal PDF Print E-mail
The Campaign Trail
By Administrator   
Friday, 23 May 2014 11:25

RALEIGH, (SGRToday.com) - David Rouzer is weighing in on the scandal that has enveloped the Veteran's Administration over allegations of treatment delays that contributed to the deaths of some veterans. 

 
The Republican nominee for the 7th District seat in the U.S. Congress released the statement below. Rouzer faces Democrat Jonathan Barfield in the fall. 
 
A whistleblower in the Phoenix VA office revealed the information that has led to congressional calls for the ouster of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki. President Obama has so far expressed support for Shinseki.
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David Rouzer statement:
 
"The Veteran's Affairs Administration has shown an abhorrent lack of regard for our nation's men and women in uniform, and the President should not waste one more second in making the changes necessary to restore faith in the VA system. It is absolutely horrific to learn that the VA would allow our veterans, who were courageous on the battlefield and in service of our country, to die prematurely because of neglect.  
 
"As a candidate for Congress and a voice for the 7th District, I am committed to doing everything I can to help ensure that our veterans are provided with the best care possible and urge Congress to do its part to help remedy these tragic failures. 
 
"These efforts are particularly important as we approach Memorial Day and honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for each of us. We recognize their sacrifice to defend and protect our country and our values with humility, gratitude and respect. We shall be forever grateful."
Last Updated on Friday, 23 May 2014 11:26
 
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