Two Baltimore County Senators Attempt to Slay a Gerrymander

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An adaptation of the nineteenth century political cartoon that coined the term "gerrymander."

While it seems nothing much is happening with Maryland’s embarrassing Congressional gerrymander, two Baltimore County senators are challenging the state’s less-hyped legislative one. Democratic Sens. Delores Kelley and James Brochin are so dissatisfied with their new districts that they’ve taken the issue to the Court of Appeals, asking that the whole map be invalidated.

Some of Kelley’s Baltimore County district has been tacked onto a district otherwise representing only Baltimore City, while Brochin’s new district has become “heavily Republican.”

Assistant Attorney General Dan Friedman has responded to the suit, saying, “The plan is constitutionally and legally sufficient, and we look forward to defending it.” But he’s probably just breathing a sigh of relief that he’s not being asked to defend the Congressional map.
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Why have we heard a bunch about Congressional redistricting but almost nothing about the legislative redistricting? iSolon.org’s Jim Snider explained it well on Patch.com:

“A primary difference between the Congressional and legislative gerrymanders is that the former was primarily a partisan gerrymander whereas the latter was primarily a pro-incumbent gerrymander.  The different political goals of the Congressional and legislative gerrymanders can largely be explained because if you already have a safe partisan majority, as was the case with the Democratic Party at the Maryland but not national levels of government, protecting incumbents becomes the higher priority.”

The point is, in the Congressional redistricting Republicans were the big losers. And they raised a stink. In the legislative redistricting, the loser was, in Snider’s words, “the Maryland citizenry.”

So it’s interesting that only two of our state senators seem to much care about the whole thing.



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