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Congressional map heads to governor’s desk

Senators gather for a special session
Joel McCord/WYPR
The Maryland Senate

The state Senate overwhelmingly approved a new Congressional district map Wednesday and sent it to Gov. Larry Hogan’s desk.

Hogan has vowed to veto the map.

Democrats beat back Republican objections to the map, which was created by a commission of legislative leaders and was approved Tuesday in the House of Delegates, to give it the final stamp of approval.

Republicans have repeatedly charged that the map is badly gerrymandered to maintain the Democratic hold on at least seven of Maryland’s eight seats and threaten the electoral future of Andy Harris, the lone Republican in Maryland’s delegation.

The map cuts off Harris’s mostly Eastern Shore First District near the top of Chesapeake Bay rather than run it down into Baltimore County as it does now. It takes the district across the Bay Bridge into Anne Arundel County and stretches it almost to the Prince Georges line near Laurel, picking up more registered Democrats.

It also starts the eighth district in a corner of Montgomery County and runs it through Carroll County to the Pennsylvania line. Sen. Haven Shoemaker, a Carroll County Republican, argued that residents in the rural, northern end of the district have little in common with those who live near the Washington, D.C. line.

“If you can make the argument that Lineboro, up here in extreme, northern Carroll County, on the Pennsylvania line is a community of interest with Potomac down here, if you can make that with a straight face, then you're a better person than I am,” Shoemaker said.

But Melony Griffith, a Prince George’s Democrat who served on the commission, said the map “allows this incredible state to respect and honor the intent of the Voting Rights Act by allowing not just minority voters to elect their preferred candidate, but every voter in the state of Maryland the opportunity to elect their preferred candidate.”

Joel McCord is a trumpet player who learned early in life that that’s no way to make a living.
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