Well, the courts threw out that plan, created their own districts, and may have inadvertently delivered to the Republican Party its first opportunity to actually control the Georgia House of Representatives since Reconstruction.
So as the 180 members of the House of Representatives and 56 members of the Senate prepare for reelection to the Georgia General Assembly, a list of who is on the champions grandstand and who is on the fast train to Loserville follows.
The Republican Senate. Look for the current 30 Republicans-26 Democrats separation become even bigger as the Republican-led Senate picks up four to five additional seats.
State Senator Eric Johnson (R)-Savannah. His district becomes compact by bringing in the eastern Chatham County Islands, Pooler and Bloomingdale, Bryan County and a portion of Liberty County. The district is heavily Republican and Eric should cruise to a big victory in November, returning to the Senate as the President Pro Tem, and a Senate firmly in the control of the GOP.
State Senator Regina Thomas (D)-Savannah. Her district remains relatively unchanged and the popular incumbent will probably go unchallenged.
House Republicans. House Republicans, who served as the red-headed stepchildren of the House Democrats and former Speaker of the House Tom Murphy, have the first real opportunity to control the Georgia House. The House really has become about liberal big city white Democrats teaming up with the Legislative Black Caucus and driving the white Southern Democratic representatives into the Republican Party. Party switching will be the name of the game in April, and in November, the GOP will have a working coalition in which to govern.
State Representative Ron Stephens (R)-Savannah. Moves to his new home in Georgetown and moves into his new, heavily Republican district in South Chatham County, South Bryan County, and a portion of Liberty County. Stephens only concern is a GOP challenger, but the author of the most famous tax cutting bill in this area will easily prevail. Stephens-Day can both be tax relief and a celebration for the popular Representative.
State Representative Burke Day (R)-Tybee Island. Not much changed in Days district. Regained all of Tybee Island and kept Skidaway Island, he couldnt have drawn a better map. The other half of Stephens-Day most likely wont have an opponent in 2004.
State Representative Ann Purcell (R)-Rincon. Her district becomes less Effingham County-based, more Westside Chatham County-based and heavily GOP. Would have been on the losers list but switches party, gains support of Governor, Democrat Speaker of the House Terry Coleman, GOP leadership, and popular homeboy Rep. Ron Stephens.
State Representative Tom Bordeaux (D)-Savannah. Packs more African Americans into his district, making it more Democratic. Should be easily reelected if he isnt fired as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee and doesnt gain a well-funded black Democrat opponent.
State Representative Tom Bordeaux (D)-Savannah. Whoops, Bordeaux annoys the #$$&%* out of the House Democrat leadership, loses his chairmanship and gains a black female opponent who is well funded. Look for a retirement from Bordeaux, either self-imposed or voter forced.
State Representative Lester Jackson (D)-Savannah and State Representative Mickey Stephens (D)-Savannah. Redistricted together, the former friends now have more at stake than their growing dislike for each other. Hard to say who will win in this blood feud. They do offer insight for future state reps: Dont move your residence within a block of another state representative.
Senator Rene Kemp (D)-Hinesville. Drawn into the district of the popular King of the Senate, Eric Johnson. Johnson will lead Kemp in organization, money, and most importantly, voters. Look for an early retirement strategy to be employed by Kemp.
Democratic Representatives and Senators. Your days as the majority party are gone. Learn to live in the minority and pray that the Republicans dont treat you like you spent the past century treating them.
David Simons is a political consultant for several of the legislators mentioned in this column and serves as a political analyst on WBMQ radio, WJCL/ABC & WTGS/FOX TV, and various print media.