Dems' Maryland gerrymandering maps get F ratings from Princeton project

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Maps from the commission created by Maryland’s Democrat-controlled legislature got “F” ratings from the Princeton Gerrymandering Project as the state grapples with a redistricting process that could eliminate its lone GOP member of Congress. 

The Legislative Redistricting Advisory Commission published four maps last week. Two would put Maryland’s lone Republican member of Congress in a Democrat-majority district. Two would leave that Republican, Rep. Andy Harris, in a GOP majority district and preserve the current 8-1 Democrat-to-Republican split in the state’s congressional delegation. 

In this June 3, 2020, file photo, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan speaks during a news conference in Annapolis, Maryland. Hogan created a redistricting commission that drew a congressional map to compete with the maps drawn by the state legislature. (AP Photo/Brian Witte, file)

The Princeton Gerrymandering Project dinged all four maps for an alleged lack of partisan fairness and poor geographic features – meaning the districts are not compact and split counties in many cases. Meanwhile, it gave the lone map released by a “Citizens Redistricting Commission” created by GOP Gov. Larry Logan an “A.”

“You don’t have to be an expert to figure out the obvious: the people’s maps were drawn to fairly represent our state, while the partisan politician maps were drawn in a backroom to keep their own power and pick their own voters,” Hogan said in a statement to Fox News. 

A stock photo of the Maryland statehouse. Maryland’s Republican governor and its Democrat-controlled legislature may end up in court over dueling redistricting proposals. (iStock)

A representative for the Legislative Redistricting Advisory Commission did not respond to a request for comment sent Tuesday afternoon. 

The map drawn by Hogan’s commission would create seven Democrat-majority districts and two Republican-majority districts. It would keep Harris’ district majority Republican while returning the state’s 6th Congressional District, where Rep. David Trone, D-Md., sits, into a competitive 54-46 Republican-majority district. 

Former Democratic presidential candidate and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley speaks at a Netroots Nation town hall meeting on July 18, 2015. O’Malley was Maryland’s governor in 2010 when Democrats gerrymandered former Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., out of his congressional seat. 
(AP)

That district was a Republican district for a long time before 2010. After that census the Democrat-controlled legislature and then-Gov. Martin O’Malley drew parts of the populous liberal Montgomery County suburbs into what is primarily a rural district that stretches to the far-western part of the state, sharing long borders with West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

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The legislature is highly unlikely to take up Hogan’s map, and the governor is likely to veto maps from the legislature he dislikes. This means Maryland’s redistricting process is likely to drag into court proceedings ahead of the 2022 midterms. 

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