- ‘I Am Alive’ app gains popularity in terror-ravaged Lebanon
- Gun giveaways gain popularity among Republican candidates
- S.C. hospital worker slapped with $525 federal fine for refilling $0.89 soda
- Teen from ‘Jihad Jane’ plot becomes youngest ever to serve time on U.S. terror charges
- Iranian woman forgives son’s killer at the gallows
- Nebraska principal sorry for ‘don’t tattle’ flier
- Illinois readies to spend $100M for Obama museum in Chicago
- John Edwards back in court — this time as a lawyer for Va. boy’s malpractice case
- Covered California reports more than 200K in overtime Obamacare sign-ups
- Thanks, Chuck: Hagel says U.S. sending Ukraine sleeping mats, helmets
Maryland Democrats eye delicate redistricting balance
Maryland Democrats will likely set their sights on the state’s two Republican congressional districts during redistricting this year, but they could have trouble improving upon the favorable map they built a decade ago.
An advisory committee appointed by Gov. Martin O'Malley, Democrat, will meet Wednesday to begin the decennial process, in which the governor and state legislators remap Maryland’s eight congressional and 47 state legislative districts.
Majority Democrats are expected to push for a map that has more Democratic or fewer Republican voters in the Eastern Shore and Western Maryland districts held by GOP congressmen.
However, analysts say the majority party might be best served not to tinker with an existing map that has helped it seize a firm hold of six of eight congressional seats.
“The last round of redistricting pretty effectively limited Republicans to two districts,” said Todd Eberly, the coordinator of public-policy studies at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. “I think the smart thing they can do is just coast with what they’ve got.”
Rep. Andy Harris, a Republican, was elected last year to the 1st Congressional District seat on the Eastern Shore, and GOP Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, has held the District 6 seat in Western Maryland for 10 terms. Mr. Bartlett, 85, announced Tuesday he will seek another term in 2012.
The last redistricting in 2001 paid immediate dividends for Democrats, who were able to gain two congressional seats in the 2002 election. The result gave them the 6-to-2 advantage after 10 years of being deadlocked with Republicans at four seats apiece.
That year, redistricting in Montgomery County helped current 8th District Rep. Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat, oust eight-term incumbent Republican Connie Morella. Then-2nd District Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a Republican, left office that year to mount a successful run for governor, opening his seat to Rep. C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger, a Democrat.
This year’s redistricting might not yield as immediate turnover, as Mr. Harris and Mr. Bartlett notched comfortable victories last year. However, it could set up fierce battles over the next decade, especially whenever Mr. Bartlett chooses to leave office.
Officials have promised a transparent process — including Mr. O’Malley, who said the new districts should “accurately reflect the diversity of the state.”
However, Mr. Eberly said redistricting is understood in most states to be a partisan process.
He said Democrats could have success packing party voters into the most competitive state legislative districts, but that any serious effort to challenge for more congressional seats could compromise the six districts where they’ve built decided majorities.
“You can try to take Republicans and break them up and spread them out as much as you can,” he said. “But when you’ve got a Democratic incumbent, they don’t want their district to change.”
The five-member redistricting advisory committee will conduct public hearings this summer before recommending a new congressional map to Mr. O’Malley, who will then issue his proposal to the General Assembly.
The assembly will consider the proposal and adopt a final map during its special session beginning Oct. 17. It will tackle state legislative districts during its regular session in January.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
David Hill joined The Washington Times in February 2011 as a Maryland political reporter. He can be reached at email@example.com.
- Md. drivers could face eventual doubling of gas tax
- Federal appeals court restores Maryland's concealed carry law
- Md. bill would end student suspensions for mimicking gun behavior
- Maryland Senate passes bill decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana
- Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell assailed on transportation
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By Tammy Bruce
Team Obama's bizarre behavior helps Gitmo terrorists foil justice
- BOLTON: A 'three-state solution' for Middle East peace
- Obama taunts GOP, takes nationally televised victory lap on Obamacare
- Joe Biden's first Instagram pic mocked as shill for sunglass ad
- Jews being told to register in Ukraine: John Kerry
- Rand and Ron Paul ride to the rescue for Bundy in Nevada standoff with feds
- WEBER: Obamacare cuts home healthcare for millions of seniors
- IRS emails reveal discussion with Justice about suing nonprofits for election activities
- Cliven Bundy's Nevada ranch wrecked by retreating feds
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
- Brewer signs 1 of 4 pro-gun bills passed Wednesday
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.