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Dems pick new legislator — for a district that may disappear

Published July 16, 2011 7:58 am

Redistricting • Democrats would eliminate district once represented by Biskupski.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Democrats have some bad news for Brian Doughty, who was elected Saturday by state convention delegates to replace former Rep. Jackie Biskupski: that seat may not last for long.

House Democrats unveiled a redistricting plan Friday that would pit Doughty against a Democratic incumbent next year.

The proposal would split Doughty's House District 30 among five other Democrat-held districts, said Rep. Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, a member of the Redistricting Committee.

That means that Doughty could face a tough intraparty challenge in 2012 in an area that would contain little of the current district.

"We didn't want to wait until after delegates had chosen the replacement to release this," King said. "We wanted to draw this map independently of who is chosen and let them know what we are doing."

The proposed Democratic map is much more friendly to Democratic House incumbents than one raised earlier this week by Republicans. The GOP map would cost Democrats three or four seats in Salt Lake County, while the Democratic map would eliminate only one or two.

Slow population growth is expected to force officials within Utah's most-populous county to cut the number of House seats from 30 to 28. That growth was slower in Democratic areas than in GOP strongholds.

The Republican plan would pit six incumbent Democrats against each other and force a seventh to run against a Republican. No Republican incumbents would have to challenge each other in Salt Lake County.

The Democratic map would put only two Democratic incumbents in the same district — Biskupski's replacement and the incumbent in the district he is moved into.

The plan also would force one Republican and one Democrat to run against each other (Reps. Janice Fisher, D-West Valley City, and Fred Cox, R-West Valley City) and require two Republicans to square off (Reps. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, and Wayne Harper, R-West Jordan).

Democrats face an uphill battle to get their plan approved. They are outnumbered 14-5 on the Redistricting Committee. However, Republicans have said they may allow Democrats to redraw boundaries in Democratic areas if they agree to cut seats.

ldavidson@sltrib.com