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.
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.