Maryland General Assembly awaits Governor Hogan veto of congressional maps

Maryland

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WDVM) — It’s a political exercise we experience every 10 years — redrawing congressional boundaries. Here at the State House in Annapolis, Maryland legislators got down to business at the start of the week to draw their lines for the next decade.

It is set by the Census and supposed to be impartial, but Republican Delegate Neil Parrot from Washington County thinks otherwise.

“Really what we have here is politicians picking the voters rather than allowing the voters to pick their politicians,” said Parrott.

Parrott believes that what we really have here is political hardball where each party tries to maximize its power. Federal courts generally stay out of such political fights unless racial or ethnic groups are discriminated against, though state courts are more apt to intervene. It’s no wonder that western Maryland counties floated the idea of leaving the state altogether, Parrott said.

“Unfortunately when you pass maps like this you know that’s when you get,” says Parrott. “People are very, very dissatisfied. You know, there was talk earlier about [western Maryland counties] going to West Virginia. Well, that’s partly why.”

Parrott says what the Democratic supermajority is really trying to do is weaken the support for Maryland’s lone Republican in the congressional delegation, Andy Harris, who represents the Eastern Shore.

“You’re looking at Democrats trying to punish the one Republican congressman,” Parrott declares.

Parrott has his eyes on the seat of incumbent Democratic Congressman David Trone, hoping to set up a rematch of their 2020 rivalry in which voters sent Trone back to Capitol Hill for another term. In testimony on the first day of the General Assembly’s special session, Holly Geddes from Kent County told lawmakers to just play it down the middle.

“The legislature’s map meets the needs of those currently in office,” Geddes testified at a Monday hearing. “The citizen’s commission map meets the needs of the citizens, of the people. I suggest that the legislature focus on the citizens and their needs rather than focus on getting themselves and their buddies reelected.”

The General Assembly should conclude their business by the end of the week. This week’s session in Annapolis is strictly for drawing lines for the eight congressional seats in Maryland. The 188 seats in the General Assembly will be drawn next month when the House and Senate convene. They will have 45 days to complete that exercise.

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