Rep. Sanders drawn out of his own district

Looking for a nice four-bedroom home near I-430 in Little Rock? Rep. David Sanders has had his on the market since April.

Sanders started hearing rumors during the session that he likely would be drawn out of his district by the Board of Apportionment, the three-person panel made up of the governor, attorney general and secretary of state that is redrawing districts based on 2010 census data.

Two of the panelists, Gov. Mike Beebe and Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, are Democrats. The third, Secretary of State Mark Martin, is a Republican.

Under maps produced by the majority Democrats, Sanders’ precinct was bumped from his existing district, District 31, which encompasses parts of west Little Rock, Pulaski County, and Saline County, for District 33, which encompasses central and southwest Little Rock.

Unless your name is Nick Wilson, you have to live in the district you represent, so Sanders would have to run in his new district if the maps are finalized.

District 31 is represented by Rep. Fred Allen, a term-limited Democrat. It’s a majority-minority district and not one where Sanders, a conservative Republican, would be likely to win.

“There’s a certain principle of continuity of constituency,” Sanders said. “The people who voted overwhelmingly for me to be their representative are the people of my home district, 31, and so that’s my district. I still represent that district and will continue to represent that district.”

Sanders had five children and said he needed a bigger house anyway.

There’s no love lost between Gov. Beebe and Sanders, a young and energetic House Republican finance chairman who opposed Beebe’s prison reform in the last session.

Along with Sanders, other GOP legislators drawn into substantially new districts are Sens. Jason Rapert of Bigelow, Jonathan Dismang of Beebe and Eddie Joe Williams of Cabot. Republican Reps. Gary Stubblefield of Branch and Jon Eubanks of Paris would be in District 84 and would have to run against each other.

Two incumbent Democrats, Rep. Garry Smith of Camden and David Fielding of Magnolia, would be in the 5th District and would have to run against each other.

Sanders sponsored and passed a bill in the last legislative session that required a “cooling off” period where regulators cannot work in the industries that they regulate for one year after leaving government. Other bills restricted the activities of sports agents and made student participation in Junior ROTC programs count as health credits.

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