Under new political district maps released Friday, Lodi and Galt would share state Assembly and Senate districts and San Joaquin County would comprise most of a new Congressional district.
The new maps reflect generally smaller, more compact areas, which would allow constituents to be closer to lawmakers and district offices. But the proposed boundaries have also shifted current borders, meaning current legislators and congressmen may have to relocate to fit into the newly-redrawn districts.
For the first time, Lodi will share a district with neighboring city Galt, but not with fellow San Joaquin County cities such as Stockton, Tracy and Manteca.
Lodi, now in the 9th Assembly district, is one of the largest cities in the proposed district. Only Elk Grove is larger, with a population of a little over 153,000. Galt and other cities in the South Sacramento area are also included in the newly redrawn district.
But this shift mixes a conservative Lodi into a district that is more blue, said Don Parsons, a political consultant.
"Consequently, I would put it that Lodi's conservative vote is diluted," he said. "This is a district that went for (President Barack Obama) and (Gov. Jerry Brown) by nearly 60 percent of the vote."
Though Lodi's roughly 66,000 population makes up about 12 percent of the district's overall population, the city will not be as significant in the polls as it would be if it were in its neighboring district, where cities such as Stockton and Tracy tended to have more of a voting balance between Republicans and Democrats, Parsons added.
Also, current Assemblywoman Alison Huber, D-El Dorado Hills, will have to relocate southwest should she wish to represent cities in San Joaquin County, which are now located in the 9th Assembly district.
Huber said in a statement that because the area she represented had "changed dramatically," she would withhold any decision regarding her future as of press time.
The state Senate
Also new in the changing state political landscape are the re-drawn Senate districts. Lodi would share the 5th Senate district with Galt, another new aspect of the redistricting plan.
Lodi will also share the district with other neighboring cities like Stockton and Lockeford.
According to Parsons, Lodi's conservative vote is slightly more advantageous in the senate district because the area showed more favor towards conservative candidates in the last election.
But Galt Mayor Barbara Payne was concerned that her city, one of the farthest north in the district, will not be sharing a senatorial representative with Elk Grove, despite the fact that the two cities will share the same assembly representatives.
Payne said it was a "detriment" to her city to be split from Elk Grove in the state Senate when the cities share common things such as a bus line and a fire department.
"We will just have to have one foot in each district and will have to make sure that both districts represent us well," she said. "We'll have to be familiar with both representatives in the Senate since we're not in same one with Elk Grove and, hopefully, our representatives will be accessible ..."
Lodi joins much of San Joaquin County in a more compact congressional district — which will force the current representative to relocate should they wish to continue to represent the county at the national level.
Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, who currently represents the 11th District, announced Thursday that he plans to re-run for Congress and that he will relocate from his home in Pleasanton to be able to represent the new San Joaquin County congressional district in the 2012 election. The district he currently represents now includes Lodi and cities as far south as Gilroy.
Where he will move to in San Joaquin County is still unknown, said McNerney's campaign spokesperson, Sarah Hersh.
McNerney's move will also put him up against Lodi resident Ricky Gill, a Republican who announced he will run for whichever congressional district Lodi falls into in 2012.
"These are the exact lines we were planning for all along and were hoping would be the result," Gill's campaign spokesperson Colin Hunter said. "While he was born and raised in Lodi, Stockton is the center of population in this new district. That is where we will have to pound the pavement."
Lodi Mayor Bob Johnson said he was pleased to see Lodi paired with neighboring cities such as Stockton and Galt in both the Senate and Congressional districts, though he said he wished the same cities could have also been encompassed for the assembly district as well.
"Right now a good portion of the Lodi appellation on the northeast side of town are in a different assembly district, and that area is the backbone of our economy," he said. "But if this is what it is going to be, then it will be."
The public now has the option to comment on the proposed district changes until Aug. 15 when the final vote to approve the changes will take place.
Contact reporter Katie Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org.