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How much did the prospect of redistricting in two years temper legislative Democrats this year?

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Few we talked to seemed to dispute it—turns out 2009 was partly about redistricting in 2011. That’s right, the Democrats’ failure to effect any real change to Nevada’s tax structure during the last session (i.e., business and mining tax reforms) was likely driven in part by a desire to piss off as few interests as possible and thus remain the majority power when it comes time to redraw jurisdictional lines. Everything will be up for change: state legislative districts, congressional districts—the whole magilla. The party controlling that process can ensure its strength well into the next decade. Most people declined to go on the record, but conservative activist Chuck Muth, president and CEO of Citizens Outreach, was pretty blunt: “I’d be shocked and disappointed if that wasn’t the case. In the Senate, there’s only two seats separating them from having the majority.” Add to that the wrinkle that 17 lawmakers fall victim to term limits next year—13 of them Democrats. Whether the Democrats’ hedging will prove to be worth it come 2011 is anybody’s guess. But even if they maintain their majority, and control redistricting, somehow we feel we’ll still be asking the same question: What’s your excuse this time, Dems?

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Ken Miller is Las Vegas Weekly's associate editor, having previously served as assistant features editor at the Las Vegas Sun ...

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