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Maryland Democrats Approve New Congressional Map

March 31, 2022 by Dan McCue
Maryland Democrats Approve New Congressional Map
Amanda SubbaRao holds a sign calling for "Fair Maps" during a rally in Annapolis, Md., on Dec. 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Brian Witte, file)

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The Democrat-controlled Maryland General Assembly on Wednesday night approved a new congressional district just five days after a state court judge ruled their previous attempt at a map violated the voting rights of Republicans.

The redrawn map now goes to the desk of Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, who has been a leading critic of the redistricting process. 

As reported by The Well News last week, Hogan called Senior Judge Lynne Battaglia’s decision to strike down the previous map “a monumental victory for every Marylander who cares about protecting our democracy.”

“This is a historic milestone in our fight to clean up the political process in our state, and ensure that the voices of the people we are elected to serve are finally heard,” he added on March 25.

Battaglia, who presides in the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County, has scheduled a hearing for Friday to consider the new plan.

Democrats said Wednesday the new map features more compact versions of the state’s House districts, but Republicans continued to complain that the map was hopelessly gerrymandered to preserve the 7-1 advantage Democrats hold in the state’s congressional delegation.

According to the state board of education, in 2020 Democrats outnumbered Republicans in the state roughly 2-1, or 2,262,797 registered Democrats to 1,015,812 registered Republicans.

Prior to the vote approving the new map, Del. Neil Parrott tried to get the chamber to consider a map supported by Hogan. After that proposal was rejected, things quickly went downhill as far as the Republicans were concerned.

“This map barely gives lip service to Judge Battaglia’s ruling,” Del. Kathy Szeliga told reporters.

But there is one significant difference between the new map and the one rejected by the judge.

The old map had taken the one district Republicans could reasonably be assured of winning — Maryland’s 1st Congressional District, represented by Republican Rep. Andy Harris — and made it far more competitive.

The new map breaks off the piece of Harris’ district that had been extended into an area where Democratic voters were more plentiful and restored the district line to something approximating its current shape.

Del. Eric Luedtke, the Democratic House majority leader, told reporters Wednesday that he has confidence the map will pass muster.

“This map makes every effort to meet the judge’s requirements in the order,” Luedtke said.

Dan can be reached at dan@thewellnews.com and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue

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