Elbridge Gerry was born 273 years ago Monday, but Common Cause, the League of Women Voters and the Hogan administration don’t want Maryland to forget the long-dead governor of Massachusetts, who gave his name to partisan drawing of legislative lines. The good government groups, joined by Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford, celebrated their second Gerrymander Meander Sunday with a tame version of a pub crawl that took them to four restaurants into four different congressional districts along a 13-mile stretch of Baltimore City and County.
Professor Todd Eberly writes: In response to Gov. Hogan’s call for redistricting reform, Democratic members of Maryland’s congressional delegation have argued instead for national reform. Forgive me for not placing much stock in Maryland Democrats’ new found redistricting faith. Rather I think they are calling for national reform in an effort to provide cover for state Democrats who don’t want to give up the power to pick and choose their voters.
Reformers want to take partisan politics out of the redistricting equation. So does the governor. That may be Mission Impossible. Conservative Republican Gov. Larry Hogan Jr. has joined liberal reformers in this crusade. He’s positioned himself so it looks like those mean Democrats are defiantly standing in the way.
As usual, the situation is far more complicated than the cover story.
Sen. Paul Pinsky would like to see more liberals and progressives in Congress, but he’d also like to have congressional district lines drawn fairly and in a bipartisan way. He’s proposing a new bipartisan commission to draw the lines — if a matching Republican-controlled state will do the same thing.
In a state already dominated by Democrats, Maryland voters further consolidated the party’s power Tuesday.
The voters defeated the longest serving Republican congressman, clobbered congressional challengers to six Democratic incumbents, and approved all the ballot measures the great majority of Republican legislators had opposed, including same-sex marriage and expanded gambling.
When Del. Neil Parrott was gathering petition signatures to put congressional redistricting on the ballot so voters could overturn it, he found that all he needed to do was show people the map itself and they were ready to sign on.
That’s the same appalled reaction I found last week when I made a presentation on Question 5 to students and staff at the University of Maryland Baltimore. All they had to do was look at the map, particularly the lines for the 3rd Congressional District, to realize there was something very wrong.
Montgomery County “good government” Democrats are organizing their opposition against the “atrocious gerrymandering” in the congressional redistricting that is on the ballot for voter approval as Question 5.
UPDATE: In a short order signed by Chief Judge Robert Bell, the Maryland Court of Appeals on Friday morning affirmed the lower court ruling that allows the congressional redistricting to be challenged on the November ballot. Here is a report on yesterday’s hearing.
We’ve been told “Life is not fair,” but what’s “fair” when it comes to blogging and redistricting? In the case of blogging, David Moon at Maryland Juice has gotten into an online argument with lawyers for Patch.com, and Democratic Party Chair Yvette Lewis says congressional redistricting was “fair” and “transparent.”
Republicans are having a tough time getting enough petition signatures on a petition to bring to referendum the congressional redistricting plan passed by the legislature. The map redrew lines to make it possible for Democrats to pick up the 6th Congressional District seat of Rep. Roscoe Bartlett in western Maryland.