Congressonial redistricting | WYPR

Congressonial redistricting

Rachel Baye


When Democrat Kweisi Mfume won Tuesday’s special primary election to represent Maryland’s 7th Congressional District, he became the presumptive winner of the late Congressman Elijah Cummings’ seat — even though there’s also a Republican nominee for the seat and less than a fifth of the district’s voters cast a ballot. Political analysts say that’s in part because Maryland’s congressional districts are designed to give Democrats an outsized advantage. 

 

Creating a nonpartisan process for drawing the districts has been a priority for Gov. Larry Hogan since early on in his first term, but his continued calls for action appear likely to be ignored for yet another legislative session.

Maryland’s General Assembly heads into the last full week of its 90-day session with a number of issues yet to be resolved, including legislation that would strip trash incinerators of their “green energy” label and  bills to raise the legal smoking age to 21 and to forbid members of the University of Maryland Medical System’s board of directors from doing business with the system.

Gov. Larry Hogan introduced his bill to redraw the state’s Sixth and Eighth Congressional Districts Friday, but the Democratic leaders who drew the original districts don’t appear to be receptive to the Republican governor’s plan.

Much of the action in Annapolis this week moves to the floors of both chambers where agendas are frequently determined on a day to day basis. Lawmakers are working to beat the deadline known as cross-over day--March 18 this year--when bills must cross from one house to the other to be guaranteed full consideration.

In addition, legislative leaders are trying to get some of the more controversial bills, like the minimum wage increase, to Gov. Larry Hogan’s desk in time for a potential veto override vote before March 29. That’s the date Sen. Will Smith, a Montgomery County Democrat and Naval Reserve officer, leaves to deploy to Afghanistan.