Friday, December 02, 2022

Missouri’s US house map in limbo as candidate deadline expires

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. ( Associated Press) – With a deadline to make their candidacy imminent, Missouri congressional hopefuls still do not know exactly who they will represent in this year’s election.

The Missouri House on Monday took no action on a Senate-approved bill that re-signed the state’s eight U.S. House districts, and a top House official said no decision had been made on whether the card must be put to the vote before the deadline of Tuesday at 17:00 for candidates to file for office.

“We are aware of the time,” House Majority Leader Dean Plocher told The Associated Press. But “this is not a term paper, it is not the final exam that has to be written by 5 o’clock tomorrow. We have to put our minds into it. ”

Although the House approved a redistribution plan in January, Senate Republicans came to a standstill for months amid internal divisions over how aggressively to gerrymander the card in their favor. The Senate finally adopts a plan Thursday, but because of the changes, it needs House approval to go to Republican Gov. Mike Parson.

If new districts based on the 2020 census are not passed before the deadline for the submission of candidates, the districts established after the 2010 census will remain in place. But a number of lawsuits have already been filed arguing that the old districts no longer offer equal representation and that the courts are being asked to intervene and adopt a new congressional card.

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The Legislature can continue to work on congressional districts until mid-May end of its legislative session. But if lawmakers wait until Tuesday, they may have to consider changing state legislation to temporarily reopen the filing period so candidates can change their plans.

Missouri is one of only a few states that have not completed redistribution. Florida’s Republican-led legislature and governor have yet to agree on a plan. New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, a Republican, and Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, both vetoed plans passed by their Republican-led lawmakers.

Some other states are still locked up in court battles. A Maryland judge deleted a congressional card last week enacted by the state’s Democratic-led General Assembly, calling it a “product of extreme partisan gerrymandering.” In Ohio, the latest Republican-signed redistribution plan awaits a ruling by the state Supreme Court, which scrapped its initial version for the unnecessary favoring of Republicans.

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Democrats and Republicans in many states drove aggressively by drawing voting districts to try to give their candidates a head start in future elections.

Missouri is currently represented by six Republicans and two Democrats – one each from St. Louis. Louis and Kansas City. The card passed by the Senate is expected to continue to do so, while Republican performance is boosted by 2 to 4 percentage points in the only rival district, the suburban St. Louis 2nd District led by GOP Rep. Ann Wagner is held.

Although some Republicans wanted to manipulate district lines to give the IDP a chance to win seven seats, IDP legislators feared it would spread Republican voters too thin and make them vulnerable to losses in good Democratic election years.

The Senate version has a slightly stronger bending in the 2nd District than the original House version. But that does not divide Democratic voters in Kansas City, as some Republicans who have called for a more aggressive rhymer have sought.

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