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Dispute rages over how big of a role redistricting played on Election Day

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MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - How much of a factor was redistricting in this week’s elections?

Senate Democrat Tim Cullen of Janesville said the GOP’s secret mapping process – plus big money – were huge in helping Republicans regain control of both houses.

UW-Madison professor Ken Mayer said the new districts were one factor, but there were others. He said the partisan makeup of the Legislature never changes dramatically, unless there’s a big swing in the statewide races. And he said the 53 percent max that Democrats achieved in the presidential and U.S. Senate contests was not enough.

The GOP gained two Senate seats, and maintained about a 20 vote majority in the Assembly.

The party in power normally tweaks redistricting to its advantage when it comes up every 10 years. But Republicans made it an art form after winning full control of the Legislature and governor’s office.

A three-judge federal panel condemned the GOP’s secrecy of the process, even though it ruled that all but two Assembly districts met the constitutional requirements.

Court records showed that Republicans staged public hearings and tried to shut out Hispanics – the latter of which was shut down by the courts when two Assembly districts in Milwaukee had to be redrawn.

Racine County Republican Robin Vos, who’s expected to be the next Assembly speaker, downplayed the impact of the redistricting. He said voters appreciated the GOP’s ability to balance the budget without raising taxes. 

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