What’s up with the Maryland Congressional District map? Here is where things stand in the case of redistricting. – Baltimore Sun
With a primary election scheduled for July 19, the boundary lines of Maryland’s eight congressional districts are in flux. A map adopted in December to account for demographic changes determined by the 2020 census was struck down by a judge on March 25 as too partisan. Now, the state Democratic lawmakers who endorsed it are waiting to see if a new map — their tentative solution — will respond to the court rally.
Even if approved by the court, their replacement card may be vetoed by Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, but Democrats hold veto-proof majorities in the US House of Delegates and Senate. ‘state and could cancel it.
To complicate matters further: the Attorney General of Maryland challenged the court order dismissing the first card. If that call succeeds, the original card — which Republicans hate even more than the second — would be back on the table.
Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday morning, Hogan declined to say whether he would veto the new map.
“I’ll try to convince them to drop the appeal and then maybe we can move on,” he told CNN’s Dana Bash.
Simultaneous legislative debates and legal wrangling have sown confusion among voters, elected officials and candidates just two weeks before the April 15 nomination deadline. Here are some questions and answers on the status of things:
Currently, the limits are the same as they have been for the past decade. Unless you have moved, who represents you in the United States House remains unchanged, as does your congressional constituency.
There will be new districts in effect ahead of the July 19 primary, but we don’t yet know what the new map will look like or when it will be finalized. District lines must be adjusted every 10 years after the US census. The Democratic-controlled General Assembly made its first attempt at a new map in December, but that version was challenged by Republicans and dismissed on March 25 by Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Judge Lynne Battaglia as too partisan. The lawmaker then redrew the map and sent it to Battaglia, which on Friday declined to accept or reject it. She said she couldn’t rule on the card, in part because Hogan hadn’t yet vetoed or signed.
Yes. For example, Dundalk and Essex would be separated. Dundalk would be represented by Democratic Representative Kweisi Mfume in the 7th Congressional District, while Essex would land in the 2nd Congressional District by Democratic Baltimore County Representative CA Dutch Ruppersberger.
Under the new lines, Ruppersberger would represent much of Carroll County for the first time, while Democratic Representative for the 8th Congressional District Jamie Raskin would no longer represent part of Carroll. The Ruppersberger District would also include part of the city of Baltimore, which would be primarily Mfume territory. But Mfume would lose part of his current district, which includes Howard County. This section would be part of Democratic Representative John Sarbanes’ new 3rd congressional district.
Yes, and it could slow down the recovery process. The appeals court had not released a schedule or briefing schedule for Thursday evening. Although the state did not file a stay motion to temporarily suspend the judge’s decision, Battaglia could not issue any final limits if an appeal was pending.
The new map will go into effect if the state’s appeal is denied or if the appeals court upholds Battaglia’s March 25 ruling. Democrats are also expected to override any vetoes of the map by the governor.
Battaglia said on Friday she would release “findings of fact” to help the appeals court assess the case.
The Democrats hold a 7-1 advantage over the GOP in the state’s eight seats in the US House. In a state where Democrats hold a 2-to-1 voter registration advantage, Republicans say they would likely win more seats if the district map was fairer.
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Maryland’s only Republican congressman, Andy Harris, represents the 1st congressional district, which includes the east coast. Analysts say Harris would continue to have the advantage under the new map, but Democratic Representative David Trone would have a harder time seeking re-election in his reconfigured Central and Western Maryland district.
“My racing has become much more competitive,” Trone said in an email to supporters on Thursday. “We don’t have confirmation yet of what the Sixth District will look like in this election, but we know we’ll have a lot less of an advantage than two years ago.”
The Circuit Court found that Attorney General Brian Frosh had the right to appeal directly to the Maryland Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court. Frosh and attorneys for the office filed a notice of appeal Wednesday with that court. They also filed in a second court – the Maryland Special Court of Appeals – to make sure their appeal will be heard in the right place.
Frosh’s office said Thursday that it would be premature to speculate on the state’s argument before filing his brief. But Battaglia’s decision was based in part on an interpretation of Maryland’s Constitution that the state can challenge.
A 1972 constitutional amendment established criteria for Maryland’s legislative districts, including that they must be “compact in shape” and respect natural boundaries and the boundaries of political subdivisions like counties and cities. In defending the first map, Frosh’s lawyers argued that the constitution does not specifically apply the same rules for congressional districts. But Republican plaintiffs, including elected officials and voters, said the constitution’s reference to “legislative districts” was meant to be generic and cover congressional districts as well as state legislative maps.
It could. The July 19 primary has already been pushed back once by the Maryland Court of Appeals because legal challenges were still unresolved. The election will include nominating races for all eight congressional districts as well as governor, a U.S. Senate seat and a number of state and local races. The deadline for submitting applications is approaching April 15.
Baltimore Sun reporter Christine Condon contributed to this article.