By Ray Stern Arizona Republic
As the five-member Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission began reviewing ideas for the first drafts of high-stakes political maps Monday, all eyes are on the independent chair who will break any ties between Republicans and Democrats.
Erika Neuberg, who was appointed to that position in January, is for the next few months perhaps the most politically powerful person in the state.
The draft-map process this month will give Arizonans a glimpse of how the state’s legislative and congressional districts may look for the next 10 years.
Republicans hope to flip a Congressional seat from blue to red and add power to their ranks in the state Legislature. Democrats want to see GOP strongholds get more competitive for their candidates while enhancing the political power of the state’s growing minority population.
Democrats have publicly raised concerns that the process is gamed to marginalize them. But whether the five commission members find unity in the coming draft plans or tilt in favor of Republicans depends largely on how Neuberg votes.
In an interview with The Arizona Republic, Neuberg talked about that perception of bias and what success by the commission might look like.