ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Two out of three registered voters in Maryland are Democrats, yet Democrats hold seven of the state’s eight congressional seats.
Governor Larry Hogan created a nonpartisan panel, which held three dozen public meetings and heard from more than 400 citizens in a bid to return fairness to the congressional district boundaries.
“We were responsive to public reaction and even revamped our maps in the areas of Southeast Baltimore County, St. Mary’s County, the Towson area, southern Montgomery County and others in response to public requests,” Redistricting Commission Co-Chair Judge Alexander Williams, Jr., a Democrat, told us at a news conference last month.
The state’s General Assembly will ultimately have to vote on the final product, and it has since come up with its own commission to redraw the lines.
Democratic leaders maintain they have come up with a map, which gives Republican candidates a better chance in districts where they’ve had no success in the past, but still mathematically sets them at a disadvantage.
“I think their intent is to continue to do some of the worse gerrymandering in the country,” said Gov. Larry Hogan on Wednesday. “And we’re trying to convince them that does not make sense and they should follow the Citizens Redistricting Commission.”
The governor says in a meeting with Senate President Bill Ferguson this week, Ferguson assured him that in addition to the legislative version, he would bring the citizens commission map up for a vote.
“You know in the past a lot of our stuff has been stuck in a drawer and never acted upon, but they will introduce it and will do a hearing on both bills,” said Hogan. “The good one that the citizens drew and the bad one that the politicians drew in the back room.”
Democrats could easily override the governor’s veto once a map is submitted, and Hogan has said going into the session that if that happens, the issue will probably end of in the courts.