New Congressional Map to Get Maryland Governor’s Approval


ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan will approve a new congressional map on Monday, his office said, after a judge invalidated a previous map and supporters of the original withdrew their appeals of this decision.

“In light of this development, this afternoon Governor Hogan will sign the new map of Congress,” the governor’s office said.

Attorney General Brian Frosh, a Democrat, said the case was settled over the weekend.

“Both parties have agreed to deny their appeals, and our state can proceed to the primary election,” Frosh said in a statement.

Democrats, who control Maryland’s General Assembly, approved a quickly redrawn map of Congress on Wednesday, five days after a judge struck down one that lawmakers approved in December as unconstitutional for watering down Republican votes. It was the first map of Congress drawn by Democrats to be undone by this round of redistricting.

Last week, a judge declared unconstitutional the new maps of Congress and legislative districts drawn by New York Democrats. Courts have already stepped in to block cards they found to be GOP gerrymanders in North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

In Maryland, where Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-1, Democrats hold a 7-1 edge over the GOP in US House seats.

The initial Democratic-approved map over Hogan’s veto made the only Republican-held district held by Rep. Andy Harris more competitive. The new map removes a portion that stretched from the east coast across the Chesapeake Bay into an area with more Democrats.

Republicans have long criticized the Congressional map with its long, twisted lines as one of the most gerrymandered in the country.

The new map for Maryland’s eight United States House seats makes the districts more compact.

In her 94-page decision, Lynne Battaglia described the initial map as a “product of extreme partisan gerrymandering”. She concluded that this violated the state’s constitutional requirement that legislative districts consist of contiguous territory and have a compact form, with due regard for natural boundaries and political subdivisions. It also violated free elections, freedom of speech and equal protection clauses in the state constitution, she said.

Maryland’s top court had previously delayed the state’s primary in a big election year from June 28 to July 19. Voters will decide the 188 seats in the state legislature, open statewide offices such as governor, attorney general and comptroller, one U.S. Senate seat and all eight congressional seats.


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