Tuesday, February 7, 2012

When the Going Gets Tough, N.C. Congressman Heath Shuler Goes Home

Couldn't Someone Make a Lot of Money Trademarking the “I want to spend more time with my family” Excuse

When Republicans took control of the North Carolina legislature one of their goals was to remake the state’s congressional delegation.  It is safe to say that North Carolina is divided about 50 – 50 between Democrats and Republicans, and the state has 13 Congressional Districts.  So the logical makeup of its delegation would be a division of 7 and 6 between Republicans and Democrats.

But with the acquiescence of the Supreme Court, politicians don’t have to think that way.  Whichever party is in power at the state level uses that power to rig the system in their favor through carefully constructing Congressional Districts that give them a disproportionate advantage.  Democrats do this and Republicans do this, except Republicans do it really well.

In North Carolina the Republicans have changed the Districts so that they will elect 10 House members and the Democrats 3 House members.  Obviously they would like to have to 13 to 0, but there was just no way to do that.  One of the victims of the re-districting was North Carolina Congressman Heath Shuler. 

The Republican-controlled N.C. General Assembly last year dramatically redrew the 11th Congressional District, shifting most of dependably-Democratic Asheville into the neighboring 10th District and adding several more Republican-leaning northeastern mountain counties.

Now in his prior life Mr. Shuler was a pretty tough customer. 

A former NFL quarterback and real estate developer, Shuler grew up in Swain County, where he was a high school football star.

and one would think that someone who faced NFL defenses could certainly take on the hostile voters in his new district.  But Mr. Shuler chose to punt.

Facing an uphill battle in a redrawn district, U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler announced Thursday he will not seek re-election to a fourth term.

The Waynesville Democrat said in a statement he came to the decision because he wants to spend more time with family. He made no mention of the redistricting or increased competition.

First elected in 2006, Shuler handily won re-election in 2008 and 2010.
“Last week I spent a lot of time at home with my family discussing the possibility of running for governor of North Carolina,” Shuler said, referring to Gov. Bev Perdue’s decision last week not to seek re-election.

Of course, like every other former politician who wants to spend more time with his family, look for Mr. Shuler to spend a lot of time leveraging his brief political career into other areas, many of which will not involve spending time with his family.  And since he didn’t mention the impact of the changed district, well, that must not have been a factor in his decision.

No comments:

Post a Comment