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GOP Lawmakers Try to Get Some Democratic Buy-in for Their Congressional Redistricting Plan

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Jo Ingles
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Statehouse News Bureau

An Ohio Senate committee is set to consider a plan Tuesday devised by legislative leaders to change the way Ohio’s Congressional district map is drawn. Some key lawmakers have been behind closed doors trying to hammer out an agreement with minority Democrats to get enough of their buy-in to make passage viable.                        

photo of current Ohio Congressional map
Credit FiveThirtyEight
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FIVETHIRTYEIGHT
Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight shows Just two of Ohio's 16 districts are even theoretically competitive.

Democrats are opposed to the plan offered by Republicans in the Senate, because they say it would still allow gerrymandering.

While Republicans could pass the plan with a simple majority and put it on the May ballot, they could run into trouble trying to get voters to pass it, especially since some citizens’ groups are collecting signatures to put their own redistricting amendment on the ballot in November.

Some Democrats say they like the citizen activists’ proposal.

Talks are ongoing with all these groups to try to come up with one proposal, not two, to put before voters.

Nate Silver hypothetical map
Credit FiveThirtyEight
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FiveThirtyEight
Nate Silver, the political oddsmaker, says a congressional map that focuses on keeping counties largely together and all district compacts would give Ohio eight highly competitive races.

Meanwhile, Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted has suggested that the plan require maps to get bipartisan approval and that counties can’t be split until the entire population has been used up to draw a district. 

The see more configurations of Ohio Congressional maps, and the likelihood of competition, go to The Atlas of Redistricting.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment. Jo started her career in Louisville, Kentucky in the mid 80’s when she helped produce a televised presidential debate for ABC News, worked for a creative services company and served as a general assignment report for a commercial radio station. In 1989, she returned back to her native Ohio to work at the WOSU Stations in Columbus where she began a long resume in public radio.