Updated: Redistricting Shuffles University City State Representatives
University City is divided into three districts rather than four, but five current state representatives are in those three districts.
Updated information is below the subhead "Two legislators, one district."
A newly redrawn district map has given University City parts of three state representative districts and five state representatives.
Rep. Rory Ellinger (D-University City) is the only current representative in the newly formed 86th District, which includes all of University City north of Delmar Boulevard and east of Interstate 170, plus a sliver of University City just west of I-170 off Delmar.
Ellinger’s district extends north to St. Charles Rock Road and includes Pagedale and Wellston. He also picked up a few new communities: Vinita Park, Vinita Terrace and Hanley Hills
“I have a relatively solid, compact district,” said Ellinger, whose district will be renumbered from 72 to 86.
He also picked up the area near Young Israel Synagogue. The area had been part of newly elected Rep. Tracy McCreery’s 83rd District.
McCreery, also a Democrat, just won a special election to the state House in November after Jake Zimmermann resigned from his seat following his win in the St. Louis County auditor’s race. McCreery’s new district would be the 88th.
However, Rep. Jill Schupp (D-Creve Coeur) also was placed in the new 88th District. Schupp’s district extended east from Creve Coeur and includes most of Olivette and a small, but heavily populated piece of University City just west of I-170, Ellinger said.
“Tracy has said that she will not oppose Jill,” Ellinger said. “I think Jill is going to be one of the leaders in the Democratic Party in the near future.”
Two legislators, one district
The section of University City south of Delmar (including the south half of Delmar) changes districts. It currently is split between the 83rd and 64th districts.
Rep. Sue Carlson (D-St. Louis), who lives near Washington University, represents the 64th District. With the reappropriation, her district, which had encompassed Forest Park, will shift from the 64th to the 87th, and she loses most of the City of St. Louis.
Carlson is joined in the newly formed 87th District by Rep. Stacey Newman, (D-Richmond Heights).
Carlson and Newman have been discussing their plans for re-election.
“We’re still working on this right now,” said Carlson. “It’s looking like I will run in the U City, Clayton and Ladue district, but we’re still having talks and looking at the numbers.”
All of the House representatives will be up for re-election in 2012.
Carlson acknowledged she’s not thrilled about the re-apportionment.
“If I could have drawn the map, I would have done it differently,” she said.
Not only is Carlson now in a completely new district, but her old district was split up into five or six districts, she said.
“Every 10 years we do this,” Carlson said. “I know there’s moves by Republicans and Democrats to see if we can’t adopt a different system for the future. There’s a bipartisan effort to change this. People on both sides are not happy with the way things turned out.”
The 87th District includes University City south of Delmar, as well as Clayton and part of Richmond Heights. The district extends southwest of Ladue to South Warson Road.
Ellinger said he believes University City and all the current representatives are good fits.
“I find it interesting that all of them (Schupp, Carlson, Newman, McCreery and Ellinger) are Democrats of a progressive nature, which is suitable for University City,” he said.
So many state representatives were placed in districts with other current legislators that Patch Political Potpourri columnist Jason Rosenbaum quoted Buddy Hardin, a political activist from St. Charles, as saying the biggest winners were "U-Haul, Ryder, Mayflower, and United Van Lines.”
Both sides frowning
Ellinger said that much criticism of the courts’ redrawn map is misplaced. He said he agrees that the process of drawing up the maps should be open to the public. However, he doesn’t think there’s cause to question the results.
“They clearly did not try to favor Republicans or Democrats,” Ellinger said. “I give the courts high marks for fairness.”
Ellinger said the courts put two progressive Democrat women, Carlson and Newman, in the same district, but also put three Republican leaders—Rick Stream, John Diehl and Cole McNary—in the same district.
He joked that if both sides of the aisle are unhappy, the courts must have done a good job.
“It’s like in a divorce. If one lawyer comes out smiling and the other comes out frowning, the one frowning didn’t do his job,” said Ellinger, an attorney. “It should be they’re both frowning.”
During the first cycle of elections following the redrawn districts, the state representatives are not required to live in their districts. However, if they wish to run for a second term in those districts, they must live within the boundaries.