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House adopts redistricting map

Joel McCord
The House of Delegates

Maryland’s House of Delegates gave final approval Thursday to a legislative redistricting map the Senate approved last week, but not before thwarting Republican efforts to redraw the districts.

First, Republicans lost an effort to substitute a map drafted by a commission appointed by Gov. Larry Hogan on a party line vote. Later, they offered a map that substituted single member House districts for the current three member districts.

Del. Haven Shoemaker, the Republican whip, argued three member districts violate the requirements of one person one vote.

“Why does Maryland insist on adhering to this anachronistic, patchwork hodgepodge of one, two and three delegate districts,” he asked. “It makes no sense. It completely stands on its head the notion of one person one vote.”

Republicans argued the map won’t stand up to a court challenge, but Del. CT Wilson, a Charles County Democrat, compared the map passed to one drawn after a suit in 2002.

“The fact is, this map, so very similar to the map that was drawn at the court’s demand in 2002, is and will remain legally sufficient,” he said.

In debate on the first amendment Thursday morning, Del. Jason Buckel, the House minority leader, argued that the map drafted by a citizens’ commission the governor appointed, would increase minority representation more than the Legislative Redistricting Advisory Commission, or LRAC, map.

“There will be more districts that are majority African American, there will be more districts that are majority Hispanic than what there is under the LRAC map,” he said.

But Wilson, who is Black, scoffed at that argument. He said it drives him crazy when people tell him “what’s best for me.”

“I know what’s best for me. I do it every day,” he said.

He said he didn’t like being told, “We’ve given you guys a few more districts.”

“I don't want the crumbs. I want the whole cake. I don't need to be in a minority district to win. I just need a voice. This map gives us all that voice.”

Under the new plan, Baltimore City, which has lost population over the last decade, loses a Senator. The five Senate districts fully contained in the city will shrink to four and the fifth district will stretch into Baltimore County.

The map also creates a single member majority Black House of Delegates district around Owings Mills. It combines parts of Howard and northern Montgomery counties into one district, removing the section of Carroll County that had been in that district.

The district that cuts across the central part of Anne Arundel County has been divided into three single-member House districts and shifted south to take in more Democratic voters.

This post has been updated.

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