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Wednesday, November 7, 2012 - 12:03pm

State GOP Supermajority Within Reach

Following Tuesday’s election, Republicans expect to gain a supermajority in the state Senate and are one seat shy of one in the state House.

The GOP now controls 37 seats in the state Senate. The party is expected to win a 38th seat after a special election in January, and that would hand it a super majority.

In the state House, the party has 119 seats. Independent Rusty Kidd of Milledgeville holds the 120th seat. He often votes with the GOP and may switch party affiliation.

Tom Crawford edits the Georgia Report. He says with more or less a supermajority in both houses, the GOP would be in a powerful position because:

“If the Republicans want to, they can usually pass any bill, any resolution, any constitutional amendment," he said. "Or if you want to look at it this way, they could also override a veto by the Governor.”

Republicans may resurrect a personhood bill from last session that would give fertilized eggs the same rights as a person.

The State GOP is closing in on supermajorities in both houses of the Legislature largely because of how redistricting works.

Following the 2010 census, the party redrew political districts last year and shored up the number of safe Republican seats. GOP officials said the Democrats did the same thing when they held the majority for decades.

Experts say gerrymandering by both parties has almost completely eliminated competitive races.

William Perry is with Common Cause Georgia. He says many incumbents face no opposition, assuring victory.

“For state level races, really the General Election in Georgia has become a formality," he said. "If you look at the state Senate where we have 56 districts across the state, there were 43 uncontested races.”

Perry says elected officials should hand over control of redistricting to nonpartisan community groups.

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