Additional Gerrymandering Thoughts

After my last post, I had some more thoughts on gerrymandering. The CA-44th is gerrymandered across counties. Most of the district lies in Riverside, with a slight (and new) Democratic registration advantage. That advantage is consumed by the Republican strength in the much smaller Orange County portion. The two are linked by a strip of the Cleveland National Forest.

One of the impacts of this gerrymander was that it was difficult to get Orange County press to cover the election. Ken Calvert is under investigation for a couple of significant ethical breaches, including the use of earmarks to fund development that increases the value of his property holdings. This was covered rather extensively in Riverside, but went largely unremarked in Orange County.

Likewise, the Hedrick campaign attempted to leverage his opposition to both the Foothill-South (CA-241) toll road extension and offshore drilling in Orange County. Neither got real coverage in the local media, this despite heavy coverage of the toll road extension debate itself.

There just isn’t enough of Orange County in the district to attract a lot of coverage from the Register and we’re well removed from Riverside’s papers. The LA Times doesn’t devote much coverage to Orange County as it is, and as best as I can remember and a search can tell me, the race was never mentioned at all, until it was over. As far as small local papers go, in San Clemente, at least, the two town papers didn’t discuss the race at all and one of them couldn’t be bothered to issue a correction when they misreported the Congressional election results by more than 15%.

I can only assume the issue was as significant for Judy Jones’s challenge in the 73rd Assembly District, split as it is between Orange County and Oceanside.

It is difficult enough for challengers to get media coverage. The problem is only compounded when the districts are gerrymandered across markets.