Up until a month ago, Representative Steve Stivers and his wife lived on 2nd Avenue in the Victorian Village neighborhood of Columbus. According to the Franklin County auditor’s site, the couple bought a new house (for $535,000!) a few miles down the road in Upper Arlington on September 2nd, 2011.
Stivers currently represents Ohio’s 15th district in Congress and, under the current congressional district map, both of his homes would be included in the 15th district. But as we mentioned earlier today, the 15th is one of the districts that has been completely redrawn under the new redistricting plan.
Here’s a picture of the existing 15th district:
And here’s a picture of the new district:
As you can see from the close up view below, Stiver’s old house falls in the new 3rd District – which contains mostly Democrats – and his new house falls in the new 15th district, which has been specifically arranged to contain mostly Republican voters.
It’s hard to believe this is a mere coincidence.
The new home – in the new district – was purchased on September 2nd – which means the search for a new house and all of the associated activities must have been going on for many weeks, if not months in advance.
But the bill defining the new district maps (HB139) wasn’t introduced until September 13th, over 10 days later.
Democrats in the House, and the public, only had a day to review the bill and the complicated new districts it defined before Republicans voted it out of the House and sent it to the Senate.
But based on his property records, it seems that Steve Stivers had weeks, if not months, of advance notice about the redistricting plan.
It’s just more proof that Republicans had been planning these unfair, gerrymandered districts for months. And instead of sharing the plan with the public, they kept it behind closed doors, sharing only with a select few other Republicans who would be impacted by the changes, avoiding feedback from Ohio’s citizens, and secretively keeping the plan hidden from the people of the state most directly impacted by the changes.