State lawmakers tasked with drawing the new boundaries of Maryland’s congressional districts on Tuesday night chose a final map proposal that would move the eastern part of Montgomery County towards the black majority 4e District.
This map, which would reconfigure all of Maryland’s congressional district boundaries, was slammed by Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican at odds with the Democratic-controlled state legislature over the redistribution.
“These gerrymandered maps drawn in secret by politicians are an absolute abomination,” Hogan wrote on Twitter Wednesday. “It was hard to imagine they could do any worse than the country’s worst designation on the current cards, but they did.”
The Maryland General Assembly will meet on December 6 for a special session to consider the new boundaries of congressional and legislative districts. A legislative committee worked on proposals, as did a separate committee created by Hogan.
The biggest change to Montgomery County in the Legislative Committee’s final proposal concerns part of the eastern part of the county, now represented by U.S. Representative John Sarbanes in the 3e District.
This zone would change to 4e District, which is now represented by Democrat Anthony Brown. Instead of running for re-election, Brown is running as state attorney general.
While District 3 is a predominantly white district, District 4 is a predominantly black district.
Another change to the representation of Montgomery County below the map is in the 8e District, currently represented by US Rep. Jamie Raskin.
The 8the The district would lose part of Montgomery County and gain more of Carroll County. That would make the 8e District “slightly more competitive,” said the Del. Eric Luedtke, member of the seven members Advisory committee on legislative redistribution responsible for developing new political maps in the state.
“(The Raskin District) keeps almost all of Montgomery County within the ring road, with the exception of a small portion of the Potomac,” Luedtke (D-Burtonsville) said in an interview.
Meanwhile, the 6e The district, now represented by U.S. Representative David Trone, would include more of Montgomery County outside the ring road and more of Frederick County.
The 6e The district was enlarged in the map proposed by the Legislative Commission because population growth in western Maryland was much slower than in other parts of the state.
The redistribution process was sparked by the results of the 2020 U.S. Census, which determined that there had been substantial demographic changes in the state over the past decade.
Maryland’s population has grown by about 7% since 2010 – to 6,177,224 at the 2020 census – and the state will retain its eight congressional districts. But the boundaries of these districts had to be adjusted to account for population shifts, growth, and increased diversity in the state.
The legislative redistribution panel issued four “concept maps” earlier this month. On Tuesday night he voted 4-2 to approve one that was very similar to the one titled “No. 2. “
Panel chair Karl Aro withdrew from the vote. The two dissenting voices came from Republican panel members Sen. Bryan Simonaire from Anne Arundel County and Congressman Jason Buckel from Allegany County.
They said the redrawn lines, based on the map of the state’s current congressional districts, continued to be “gerrymandered”.
While Aro said the redistribution panel was looking for “continuity” and to keep as many people as possible in their current congressional districts, Simonaire questioned that process, asking, “Why are we starting with the map la more gerrymandered from the United States? “
The panel’s map would keep seven of the state’s congressional districts safe for Democrats and make the 1st District – now represented by Republican Rep. Andy Harris and considered a GOP stronghold – more competitive as it would add part of Anne Arundel County to this east coast-based district.
Luedtke, the House majority leader, said “it is almost certain” that the General Assembly will approve the map voted by the legislature redistribution committee in next month’s special session.
Republican members of the redistribution panel said they supported an effort by a panel appointed by Hogan who drew a map this made two of the state’s eight congressional districts winnable for Republicans.
The state legislature, however, ignored the panel’s efforts, even though Hogan threatened to veto any other card. The General Assembly has Democratic majorities in the House and Senate that can override Hogan’s veto.
Meanwhile, Aro said “the next step” for the legislature redistribution panel is to establish new senate and state delegate districts. This new card will be examined during the regular session of the General Assembly which will begin in January.