September 30, 2011

“Speaker” Andy Harris, Gov. O’Malley to meet on redistricting

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Rep. Andy Harris

Rep. Andy Harris

U.S. House Speaker-for-a-Day Andy Harris said he’s scheduled to meet with Gov. Martin O’Malley Friday afternoon about congressional redistricting.

He’s not expecting the governor to ask him what he’d like his 1st Congressional District to look like, but instead to be told what it’s going to be. The governor gets to propose congressional district lines, and has set up an advisory committee for that purpose.

Freshman Republican Harris kept the federal government going through the weekend by presiding Thursday at one of those odd “pro-forma” sessions of the U.S. House of Representatives that allows the lawmakers to pass legislation without actually being in Washington. He figured they authorized the government to spend about $40 billion during that time.

We’re at the point where the political chatter intensifies as only a few insiders are privy to the congressional map that O’Malley will submit to the General Assembly for the special session he has yet to officially call for Oct. 17.

Harris assumes, as do both other Republicans and Democrats, that he’s no longer the target for extinction so that Democrats can pick up one more seat in addition to the six they already hold in Maryland. He thinks the map published here 11 days ago might be something close to the final version, showing a heavily reconfigured 6th Congressional District held for 10 terms by Republican Rep. Roscoe Bartlett. (Maryland Juice enhanced the map to a more readable form.)

But Harris has heard that his district might even pick up part of Carroll County, rather than have the entire Republican county become part of Rep. Elijah Cumming’s 7th Congressional District. That was apparently a little much for the Baltimore congressman.

The targeting of Bartlett was foreshadowed Wednesday by a press release from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee as reported by the Sun’s John Fritze.

There are even maps floating around on the left-leaning Daily Kos that redraw Maryland’s lines so that all eight congressional districts could be won by Democrats. One posted Wednesday is described by its author as “a callous piece of gerrymandering that would spark a torrent of criticism from any good government group.” This is a kind of parlor game made possible by the wide availability of mapping software.

Sign of the times: The first sighted bumper sticker for Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Sign of the times: The first sighted bumper sticker for Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Today, Sept. 30, is the final day of fundraising for the third quarter, and all the campaigns, from President Obama’s to Sen. Ben Cardin’s and his challengers, are pelting supporters with e-mails to score boasting rights by building up their campaign coffers. If Bartlett continues to show lackluster fundraising, it will fuel further speculation that the 85-year-old lawmaker might actually retire in the face of the potential shift in his district.

—Len Lazarick
Len@MarylandReporter.com

  • Anonymous

    We got gerrymandered into Cumming’ district the last time around which has resulted in our having no representation in Washington since he has no interest in our zip code.  Taxation without representation indeed!

  • Brad

    I hope that Democrats are foolishing enough to pursue an 8-0 because then the it’ll end up 5-3–mark my words.  However, Mike Miller is smart enough to realize this possibility as well and will counsel a 7-1 pickup with an 8-0 10yr plan. 

  • Anonymous

    As an Independent & resident of the 1st district, I surely hope that I will retain some small shred of representation. If the Democrats could gerrymander every district to into Smurfland without protest,  I have little doubt that they would smugly do so. The voters will be watching to see if the Dems can prove that they care for “the little people” & not solely their political careers when the new map is revealed. I can’t say that I have any good vibes about the upcoming news. Taxation without representation is tyranny. 

  • Guest

    Andy Harris does not know what the eastern shore needs or wants. He gripes about the wait for his health ins. He is a Dr. I think if he was a good one he would know about any new job not providing medical ins. from day one! He has squandered our money on flyers and robo calls. His health care is free, as a retired nurse for the state of md. my drug ins went up over $20 a month and my deductible increased from $700 to $2500. When I went to work for the state it was for less money than the private sector but we were promised we would have a stable pension when we retired so we made less and provided quality patient care for thousands of patients it appears my pension is now $1800 less a year! Where was Andy Harris when that slipped through the cracks! Don’t tell me to be glad i have health care….I paid for that for 30 years and now that money is being used for other things like instate tuition for illegals. WOW and to think i paid tuition for my girls too! Guess i didn’t know how to work the systym like Harris has. PLEASE GET RID OF HIM If we want a republican or democrat in office he or she needs to be from the Shore.