Maryland Gets New Congressional District Map
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Republican Gov. Larry Hogan put an end to more than six months of political and legal wrangling Monday by giving his approval to a new Congressional district map drafted by General Assembly Democrats.
Hogan said at a news conference Monday that he decided to approve the latest version of the map after the state attorney general agreed to drop an appeal of state Judge Lynne Battaglia’s decision to throw out the original map.
Battaglia had declared the map an unlawful political gerrymander.
“This is a huge win for democracy and for improvement in the process,” Hogan said during the news conference.
“I think gerrymandering is a cancer on our democracy, no matter which party does it,” he said.
Despite Hogan’s endorsement of the new map, Republicans in Maryland are still likely to be unhappy with the results.
The new map will most likely result in a congressional delegation that will look a lot like the current one.
Democrats are favored to win six districts under the new map, and Republicans to win one, with an eighth district considered competitive, according to an analysis by Fair Maps Maryland, an anti-gerrymandering organization.
The state is currently represented by seven Democrats and one Republican.
The map rejected by Battaglia would have created seven safe Democratic districts and one competitive district, cutting out the likely Republican seat.
In her March 25 ruling, Battaglia, who was appointed by former Gov. Parris Glendening, a Democrat, said the earlier map had “constitutional failings” and did not follow such redistricting precepts as keeping districts relatively compact while preserving “communities of interest.”
The legal challenges over the map led the Maryland Court of Appeals to move the state’s primary election from June 28 to July 19.
Of course, this isn’t the end of disputes over redistricting in Maryland. Republican lawmakers are continuing to challenge the Democrat-drawn General Assembly districts in the Maryland Court of Appeals.
But that case too, may be close to a resolution. On Monday, Alan Wilner, a retired Court of Appeals judge appointed to present findings in the case, recommended the case be dismissed for lack of evidence.