Uncertainty mounts as Missouri stalls on new US House seats

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri’s nomination period for Congress ended Tuesday with no new electoral districts in place, as the state’s Republican-led Legislature remained mired in disagreements .

Missouri is the only state where a congressional redistricting plan has yet to pass or at least pass lawmakers based on the 2020 census, though uncertainty remains in several other states due to vetoes in the legislature. governor and legal challenges.

A total of 68 people have shown up to run for the U.S. House before Tuesday’s deadline to appear in Missouri’s primary ballot in August. Each candidate specified a particular district, although the boundaries of those seats remained unclear.

The US Constitution requires members of Congress to live in the state they represent, but does not require them to reside in their particular district. However, candidates generally live in the district for which they are running.

Republicans hold large majorities in the Missouri House and Senate, but were unable to agree on how aggressively to draw maps in their favor and which communities to divide into precincts.

The House passed a redistricting plan in January that was to maintain the current representation of six Republicans and two Democrats in Congress. But work stalled for weeks in the Senate as a coalition of conservative Republicans pushed for a more ambitious Gerrymander who could give the GOP a shot at seven seats. GOP legislative leaders feared it would scatter their party’s voters too thinly, leaving seats open to Democratic wins.

The Senate finally adopted a map last Thursday, which it presented as a compromise. It should result in a 6-2 Republican advantage, but would boost the GOP’s performance by several percentage points over the House version in suburban St. Louis’ 2nd District, which is the only politically competitive district. To do this, the Senate map expands the 2nd district south into rural areas.

House members said Tuesday that the contortion would connect communities that do not have common interests.

“District 2 looks like gerrymandering on steroids,” said Republican State Rep. Mike McGirl, whose rural Washington County home would be paired with suburban St. Louis under the Senate map.

House Redistricting Committee Chairman Dan Shaul suggested that lawmakers should continue to work on the redistricting rather than rush to pass a map before the end of nominations. The House voted 115 to 19 to ask the Senate to reverse its plan or grant a conference to negotiate a compromise.

But some senators have vowed to oppose further negotiations. Republican Senator Bob Onder said it would be “counterproductive.”

“I would vote to bring that pile of paper back to the House and leave it there,” he said, referring to the redistricting bill.

Lawmakers could wait until their session ends in mid-May to pass a redistricting plan for Congress. They could also change state law to temporarily reopen the application period.

Until a new map is agreed, the districts adopted after the 2010 census will remain in place. But a lawsuit in Cole County Circuit Court argues it’s unconstitutional to use the old districts because of unequal populations. This lawsuit is asking a judge to step in and enact new districts.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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