Maryland's Redistricting News
(October 28-December 19, 2001)

 

 Baltimore Sun: "Redistricting Plan Blasted by Legislators." December 19, 2001
 Baltimore Sun: "Influence Could Grow At Capital." December 19, 2001
 Baltimore Sun: "5th District Boundaries Stretched." December 19, 2001 
 Baltimore Sun: "Redrawn Electoral Districts Criticized." December 19, 2001
 Washington Post: "Minorities Lose Out In Md. Redistricting." December 19, 2001
 Washington Post: "Md. Redistricting Hurts Minorities Chances for Election." December 18, 2001
 Baltimore Sun: "Baltimore Region Set to Lose 2 Seats in Md. Assembly." December 18, 2001
 Washington Post: "Md. Assembly Redistricting Would Benefit Area Democrats." December 18, 2001
 Baltimore Sun: "Md. Political Remapping is Completed." December 15, 2001
 Washington Times: "Redistricting Panel Assailed for Secrecy." December 10, 2001
 Roll Call: "Between the Lines (excerpt)." December 3, 2001
 Baltimore Sun: "Leaders Unite Behind Lawsuit." December 2, 2001
 Baltimore Sun: "Rawlings Pledges Suit Over Districts." November 28, 2001
 Washington Post: "Redistricting Idea In Pr. George's Lures Surprise Contender." November 25, 2001
 Baltimore Sun: "Redistricting Soft at Center." November 6, 2001
 Washington Post: "Md. Races Emerge as Key to Gaining House Majority." November 5, 2001
 Baltimore Sun: "Minor District Changes Seen." October 29, 2001

 Baltimore Sun: "Democrats Busy Choosing Their Voters for 2002 Election." October 28, 2001

More Recent Maryland Redistricting News

More Maryland Redistricting News from March 16, 2001-October 18, 2001

 

Baltimore Sun
Redistricting Plan Blasted by Legislators; County's influence is diluted, members of both parties say; Voters split over 7 districts; Republicans also call changes an attempt to cut their numbers
By Rona Kobell
December 19, 2001

Anne Arundel County would be split into seven pieces, including four that are part of legislative districts in neighboring counties, under a redistricting proposal that has angered Democrats and Republicans alike.

Some Democrats complain that the redrawn lines - which, for example, lump Crofton into a district that is mostly in Prince George's County - would dilute Anne Arundel County's influence in the General Assembly.

Republicans agree - and go on to charge that the proposed redistricting map seems like an attempt to further erode the GOP's already limited power.

"I don't know why Anne Arundel County is always the whipping post," said Del. David G. Boschert, a Republican from Crownsville whose district includes Crofton. "I would like to keep the Anne Arundel family together, but we'll just have to live with it."

Del. Janet Greenip, a Crofton Republican, said the redrawn map makes her re-election bid more difficult, because she would have to introduce herself to thousands of Prince George's County voters who are unfamiliar with her record.

"I feel honored that they decided to get rid of me, that I'm that big a threat," she said of the Democrats in charge of the redistricting process.

The Governor's Redistricting Advisory Committee, made up of four Democrats and a Republican, released its preliminary recommendations this week.

Citizens can comment during a public hearing Friday in Annapolis.

The plan would drastically change the lines on Anne Arundel County's map. Currently, there are five districts in the county, and only one of them, District 27, includes areas in other counties.

That district, which Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller represents, includes parts of southern Anne Arundel County, along with areas of Prince George's and Calvert counties.

Under the committee's proposal, only Districts 30, 32, and 33 will be entirely within county borders. Nearly 20,000 Anne Arundel County voters from the communities north of Route 32 and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, including residents of Gambrills, Maryland City and Annapolis Junction, would fall into Howard County's District 13.

District 31, which encompasses parts of North Anne Arundel County, will now include 9,452 voters from Baltimore County. About 8,000 voters from three precincts in Crofton would move to Prince George's County's District 23.

Greenip, who has represented Crofton for eight years, said she has spoken with several outraged constituents about the proposal. She said it would be "a crime" for Crofton to be moved from a district that is entirely in Anne Arundel County.

County Councilman John J. Klocko III, a Crofton Republican, called the plan "an attempt to box out Republicans in the state" and said crossing county lines when redistricting creates problems.

"They don't share the same schools, the same geography, the same transportation issues - and all those things come into play," Klocko said.

Miller, who helped craft the plan, calls it fair toward Republicans. But he acknowledges that a district split between counties presents challenges for a legislator. He recalls working on Charles County transportation issues, while at the same time handling complaints from Prince George's constituents that those road improvements were encroaching on their subdivisions.

To some constituents in Calvert County, Miller said, he is a "big-city liberal"; others in the Washington suburbs call him a "country bumpkin" when he backs southern Anne Arundel County residents on anti-sprawl initiatives.

"You just have to balance the views of competing districts to do what you think is correct," Miller said.

But even Miller isn't enthusiastic about how the plan affects Baltimore and District 31. Sen. Philip C. Jimeno, a Baltimore County Democrat representing Brooklyn Park, had feared the redrawn map would remove part of his district and combine it with a Baltimore City district. To his surprise, the new proposal shows Jimeno inheriting voters from Edgemere in Baltimore County.

Sen. Norman R. Stone Jr., the legislature's longest-serving member and one of Jimeno's closest friends, currently represents that area. The proposed changes put Stone's house in Jimeno's district.

But Jimeno said the area, near Sparrows Point, shares many of Brooklyn Park's concerns, such as air and water quality. Jimeno said he and Stone have nearly identical voting records.

Secretary of State John T. Willis said the changes will bolster, not dilute, the influence of communities that straddle county borders.

"You haven't lost strength, you're gained strength," he said. "No one county by itself can get a law passed. You have to work with your neighbors."

Baltimore Sun
Influence Could Grow At Capital; Redistricting plan would add 4 to local delegation; Ties to 4 other subdivisions; Critics disparage proposal's confusion and Democratic tilt
By Larry Carson
December 19, 2001

Howard County's influence might grow in Annapolis under a proposed legislative redistricting plan, but one goal remains out of reach - a district for Howard to call its own.

The plan released this week by the Governor's Redistricting Advisory Committee - four Democrats and one Republican - would link Howard to Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll and Prince George's counties through shared districts while severing a decade-long tie to Montgomery County.

The proposal would bring four Prince George's County legislators from District 21 into Howard County, enlarging the county's delegation from three to four senators, and from eight to 11 delegates.

The plan, if left unchanged by Gov. Parris N. Glendening and the General Assembly, would try to ensure Democratic control of Howard's delegation through the next three elections using several devices. The governor is to reveal his version of the plan Jan. 9, and if the General Assembly cannot agree on changes within 45 days, it becomes law.

Despite Republican charges that the plan is a Democratic power play, Maryland Secretary of State John Willis, who headed the redistricting commission, denied the accusations.

"There are more Democrats in the state running against each other than there are Republicans. It is shared pain," Willis said.

Western Howard County appears to be drawn as a Republican preserve, party leaders said, while the other districts appear to give Democrats a decided edge.

First, the senator and three delegates elected to a new District 21 likely would all remain Democrats because that district has only 18,242 voters in Howard, compared with 90,536 in Prince George's.

Combined with a redrawn District 13 designed to help elect east Columbia Democrat C. Vernon Gray to the state Senate, the new District 21 would give Howard three Democratic state senators to one likely Republican - Robert H. Kittleman in a new western District 9 that is shared with Carroll County. District 13 would be dominated by Howard voters - 97,283 in Howard, compared with 19,605 in Anne Arundel.

To the east, Republican Del. Donald E. Murphy's home has been drawn into District 10, a majority Democratic, black district covering Woodlawn and the Liberty Road corridor.

Howard would continue to share District 12 with southwestern Baltimore County, but the two incumbents living there now are both Democrats, Dels. James E. Malone Jr. and Thomas E. Dewberry. Dewberry now represents a single-member district tied to Baltimore City.

Willis said Dewberry's current Baltimore City-linked district "basically disappeared" because of population loss. Murphy was placed in District 10, which would have only two incumbent delegates, Willis said.

Murphy said Democrats are trying to reverse the progress Republicans made in Baltimore's suburbs during the past 15 years.

"The Democrats went to great lengths. My house may be in the [10th District], but they can't make me live here. I can lease my house or an apartment somewhere. I'm painting my house now," Murphy said.

"What a disgraceful process this is. It's one of those 'If you can't beat 'em, redistrict 'em.'"

For the most part, said Dewberry, the plan returns him to the Catonsville, Arbutus, Baltimore Highlands and Lansdowne territory he represented before 1991, when District 12 was entirely in Baltimore County.

The plan does not appear to affect Sen. Edward J. Kasemeyer or Del. Elizabeth Bobo, both Democrats who live in west Columbia. District 12A would have 57,372 Baltimore County voters, compared with 21,897 in Howard, Willis said.

For some incumbents, such as District 13's Del. Shane Pendergrass, a Democrat, the first reaction at seeing the proposed map was confusion.

"Eek! What a lot of change there is in my district! That's my first reaction. I'm hoping to get over that," Pendergrass said.

Her District 13 now stretches southeast into Anne Arundel County, covering Maryland City and areas along the county's southern boundary with Prince George's, along with several North Laurel precincts.

"As of right now, I still don't know what my district is, because nobody can decipher the map," Malone said.

State Sen. Arthur Dorman, a 38-year veteran Democrat who represents District 21, said his district would cover only a few precincts in Howard County, but Howard residents should not be alarmed. "Although we've represented three precincts in Montgomery County for the past 10 years, we've always taken care of their constituent problems and worked with their delegations. I hope to set a precedent to be responsive to all the people," he said.

Del. John A. Giannetti Jr., a Prince George's Democrat who represents Laurel in both Howard and Prince George's counties, said under the new plan he would lose the three precincts of North Laurel he now represents.

The few precincts in Howard County south of Route 216 along the Patuxent River would be part of District 21 under the plan, but not the North Laurel precincts Giannetti now represents.

"My campaign last time was 'Put Laurel First,' to keep Laurel together," he said, adding that his current precincts are "a more natural fit" than those farther west along the river. Republicans generally blasted the Democrats for going too far for partisan purposes.

Baltimore Sun
5th District Boundaries Stretched; Local legislator to be shared with Baltimore County; 'A very fractured plan'; Southern area gets delegate, will share senator with Howard
By Childs Walker
December 19, 2001

South Carroll would get its own new delegate and incumbent members of the county's delegation would represent a large chunk of Baltimore County under a proposed legislative map released yesterday by a Maryland redistricting committee appointed by the governor.

Though most Carroll residents would be able to vote for their current representatives in the 2002 election, the new map would blend northern Carroll into a state Senate district with northern Baltimore County, and put South Carroll into a Senate district with Howard County.

Because a western sliver of the county shares a senator with Frederick County, an extreme scenario could see Carroll without a resident senator.

Under the current legislative map, most of the county is represented by Sen. Larry E. Haines and Dels. Carmen Amedori, Joseph M. Getty and Nancy R. Stocksdale, all Republicans, in a district contained entirely within Carroll County. Those four would be the only incumbents in the new 5th District, but the district would include all of northern Baltimore County above Reisterstown and Cockeysville. That portion of Baltimore County generally votes Republican, but the new territory could mean new competition, Carroll incumbents said.

The southern part of Carroll, including Eldersburg and Sykesville, would be in the new 9th District with Howard County. The Carroll County portion of the 9th District would be a subdistrict electing its own representative to the House of Delegates. The Howard County portion of the 9th District would elect two delegates. The Carroll and Howard county portions would share the 9th District senator.

Getty has long pushed for South Carroll to receive its own representation, and said he was gratified to see the suggestion followed.

"But that's about the only good thing in the plan," he said. "It's a terrible plan for Carroll. When you crack districts, the voice becomes fractured, and this is a very fractured plan for Carroll County."

The map was drawn by a committee of four Democrats and a Republican appointed by Gov. Parris N. Glendening. Although subject to revisions and lawsuits, the boundary lines unveiled Monday could form the districts used to elect members of the General Assembly -- 47 senators and 141 delegates -- in 2002.

The redistricting panel is charged with recommending to Glendening changes to the state's political map to reflect population changes in the 2000 census. Glendening is expected to make minor revisions before submitting a redistricting bill to the General Assembly on Jan. 9.

If the legislature does not alter the governor's map -- and changes are unlikely because of competing interests and the complexity of the matter -- it will become law 45 days after submission.

Because Carroll would share all of its representatives with other counties, the delegation's voice would be diluted, Getty and his colleagues said.

"The thing that disturbs me most is that Carroll will no longer be able to speak with one solid voice," Stocksdale said. "This plan just does a terrible disservice to people across the state."

No one criticized the creation of a new House district in South Carroll. Residents greeted that news warmly.

Many have complained that South Carroll has no voice in decisions that shape its destiny, said Nimrod Davis, vice chairman of the Freedom Area Citizens Council, an unofficial liaison between South Carroll residents and county government.

"This looks good for South Carroll," Davis said. "No matter who we get, the way I look at it we couldn't do any worse. The delegation we have now has done nothing for the county in the last four years but complain and criticize. Then they wonder why they don't bring any money home."

Davis said he could think of several possible candidates for the seat, but would not be specific. "I think a Democrat could help us the most," he said.

Democrats have expressed optimism that South Carroll would elect a delegate from their party.

"But we have some strong people down there to run," Stocksdale said.

None of Carroll's representatives seemed daunted by the plan's potential impact on their re-election chances. Stocksdale and Amedori both said they plan to run in the redrawn 5th District. Getty stopped short of such a promise, but gave no indication that he won't run.

"I'm not worried," Stocksdale said. "I was born in Baltimore County."

Becoming familiar to a new block of voters can be difficult, Amedori said. "But I have my connections in that neck of the woods. We'll just have to work that much harder to let the people in Baltimore County know who we are."

Carroll representatives bemoaned the extra workload they would face as representatives for two counties. Getty estimated that the delegation has met with at least 20 interest groups over the past month to prepare for the legislative session. That number would at least double with Baltimore County in the mix, he said.

Getty and Amedori also wondered if the Baltimore County delegation would give them a real say in that county's policy matters during the legislative session.

Legislators' workloads during the session would definitely increase, Getty said. "And that doesn't help our constituents on either side of the line." he said.

Getty said the map shows that Glendening has given up on Democratic hopes of regaining representation in Carroll. The plan consolidates Carroll's conservative voters with those in Howard County and northern Baltimore County, thus slicing conservative votes away from the Democratic power base around Baltimore.

"But we'll adjust," Getty said. "This may create a few good scenarios for Republicans that they didn't foresee when they drew this map."

Baltimore Sun
Redrawn Electoral Districts Criticized; Blacks, Baltimore and GOP are said to be shortchanged; Battle lines forming
By David Nitkin and Ivan Penn
December 19, 2001

Frustration over a proposed General Assembly redistricting plan spread yesterday, as critics complained that minorities, Republicans and the state's largest city would be shortchanged.

Baltimore officials began to grapple with the reality that population loss will soon translate into less representation and influence in Annapolis.

Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan said drafters failed to create districts that would lead to election of minorities -- who comprise nearly 40 percent of the residents in the state's most populous county but are all but absent from its legislative delegation.

Baltimore County leaders protested that they should not be losing a state senator, because the county gained in population.

And Anne Arundel residents were staring at a map that split the county into seven parts, with districts shared by four neighboring counties.

Still, the Democrat-dominated panel that drew the map insists that it did a good job on the redistricting proposal that will be submitted to Gov. Parris N. Glendening.

"I think that it comes out OK," said Montgomery County Councilman Isiah Leggett, a member of the Governor's Redistricting Advisory Committee. "It recognizes the population increases in Montgomery and Prince George's counties."

The outcry will likely reach a crescendo Friday, when the redistricting panel will conduct a public hearing in Annapolis. The governor can make changes before he submits the plan to the General Assembly on Jan. 9. The map will become law 45 days later, creating district boundaries for the 2002 state election -- unless lawmakers agree on an alternative.

"Everybody is not going to be happy," said Glendening spokesman Mike Morrill. "Today we are hearing from those who are the least happy. There are probably 41 of 47 Senate districts in the state where we are hearing nothing."

Because of population losses in Baltimore City and eastern Baltimore County, the metro region would lose two Senate districts and their delegates.

Montgomery and Prince George's counties would gain representation, with the latter's legislative boundaries redrawn so as to elect more blacks.

While some lawmakers are fighting loss of representation, others, such as Mayor Martin O'Malley, say change is unavoidable.

"People treat this as two opposing armies: the Baltimore-area army and the Washington-area army," O'Malley said. "We should not be all doom and gloom. Given the population loss, some sort of readjustment was inevitable."

Still, Baltimore's political leadership is under pressure to ensure that the city does not lose the battle for state dollars.

"The stark reality is that the Baltimore area will not be able to muscle [legislation] through the General Assembly, because we don't have the votes," said Del. Alfred W. Redmer Jr., a Republican whose district includes part of the city and Baltimore County. "Those days are over."

Baltimore will rely more heavily than ever on Democrats in key positions, including Del. Howard P. Rawlings, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee; state Sen. Barbara A. Hoffman, chairwoman of the Senate Budget and Taxation panel; Sen. Clarence W. Blount, chairman of the Economic and Environmental Affairs Committee; and Sen. Thomas L. Bromwell, the Finance Committee chairman.

But some fear that with the shift of influence to the Washington suburbs, some of those legislative posts could rotate.

"Thank God that they're there, at least for the time being," said Sen. George W. Della Jr., a Democrat whose district includes the city and Baltimore County. "Ultimately, I would imagine that too would change." Della's future is in question because his 47th District would be eliminated under the redistricting proposal, creating a potential match-up against Sen. Clarence M. Mitchell IV.

Districts shared between the city and Baltimore County have helped Baltimore maintain strong representation in Annapolis during the past decade. Those districts would be extended in the new plan.

"The power's been shifting, but Baltimore is still the economic engine for Maryland," Hoffman said.

In Baltimore County, residents are unhappy about the proposed loss of representation in Dundalk. The blue-collar community could lose its state senator, Norman R. Stone Jr., and two delegates.

Stone is the longest-serving member of the General Assembly, and some thought that he was considering retirement. Under the redistricting proposal, his precinct and an adjacent one would be part of an oddly shaped district that lies mostly across the Patapsco River in Anne Arundel County.

"The district doesn't deserve this. The community doesn't deserve it," Stone said yesterday. "I guess I don't deserve it either, after 39 years."

Baltimore County Executive C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger said he would meet with county legislators to develop consensus on an alternative.

"From my point of view, it's important to keep established communities together as much as possible," Ruppersberger said.

While redistricting committee members said they believe that minority representation would increase under the plan, several observers said the panel could have done much more.

Duncan wrote Glendening yesterday, asking for the creation of subdistricts that would favor minority candidates.

"There was a real opportunity to do something good," the Montgomery County Democrat said. "We're supposed to be the party of inclusion."

Maryland Republican Chairman Michael S. Steele, who is black, said: "It's amazing to me how the Democratic Party in this state has snubbed its nose at minority populations. ... It's an embarrassment what they've done to Baltimore City."

State GOP leaders say top Democrats are looking to eliminate them wherever possible.

"This is a political map, pure and simple," Steele said. "The governor is exacting retribution on his political enemies and rewarding his political friends."

House Minority Leader Robert H. Kittleman of Howard County said Democrats "have gone out of their way to hurt Republicans," particularly in Frederick and Harford counties and on the Eastern Shore. "It is undoubtedly the most partisan map that has ever been produced in Maryland," he said.

But Leggett contended that more incumbent Democrats than Republicans would be forced to run in the same district if the plan is adopted.

"The level of partisanship is far, far less than almost anywhere else, given the number of Democrats in the legislature and in the population," the redistricting committee member said. "The cry that we are going to get is [that] we were not political enough."

Nowhere were divergent views on partisanship more apparent than in Harford County, where Sen. Nancy Jacobs said she feels as though she is under attack and fellow Republican J. Robert Hooper said he is comfortable with the proposed boundary changes.

"They see me as a threat," said Jacobs, who would see Democratic precincts added to her District 34. "I'm going to beat them at their own game."

But Hooper was satisfied with his neighboring District 35.

"At this point, I may have to say thank you to whoever gave me this," he said. "It should be a better run for me from the Republican side."

Washington Post
Minorities Lose Out In Md. Redistricting; Both Parties Rip Plan for Legislature
By Daniel LeDuc
December 19, 2001

Democrats and Republicans alike lined up yesterday to criticize a newly proposed map of Maryland legislative districts for failing to adequately provide minorities with better opportunities to run for the General Assembly.

Leaders in Montgomery County charged that the new proposal does nothing to increase the chances for blacks, Hispanics or Asians who run for the legislature. And Baltimore leaders were angry that blacks lost out in the city and complained that a new Prince George's County district, created to help minorities, meant only that African Americans would at best hold even in the General Assembly and have difficulty increasing their numbers.

"It was a golden opportunity to elect more minorities, to make sure our delegation more accurately reflects our county," said Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan (D). Instead, he said, the plan "doesn't help elect minorities. It's a missed opportunity."

Montgomery County's population is nearly 40 percent minority and includes half of all the Asians and Hispanics who live in Maryland. The current delegation from the county is all white, except for one member who is of Indian descent.

"That delegation, with one exception, mirrors the parliament of South Africa during the apartheid period," said Roscoe R. Nix, former president of the NAACP branch in Montgomery County. "As long as Democrats feel they have the minorities' vote in their pocket, they won't do a damn thing."

Duncan had urged a gubernatorial commission that developed the map to create smaller, single-member districts, rather than having three House delegates run in one large district as is now the case, to improve chances for minority candidates. It was a position that put the Democrat in an odd alliance with Maryland Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele, who also was urging single-member districts.

"There's no explanation why they couldn't create districts that were 60 percent Hispanic or 60 percent African American to allow those communities to send representatives" to Annapolis, said Steele, the only black state GOP chairman in the nation. He said Republicans would sue the governor over the plan.

Legislative district lines are redrawn every 10 years after the U.S. Census. The proposal, which was released late Monday, was developed by a gubernatorial commission and will form the basis for the final plan that Gov. Parris N. Glendening (D) will submit to the legislature next month. The five-member, Democratic-dominated commission was chaired by Secretary of State John T. Willis.

Maryland's legislature is among the least reflective of the diversity of the people it represents. Although about 27 percent of Maryland's voting-age population is African American, just 21 percent of state delegates and 19 percent of state senators are black.

Glendening spokesman Michael Morrill said the commission did try to increase minority representation in the legislature. He said that is difficult in Montgomery County, where minority populations are not concentrated in any single area.

Baltimore, which lost population over the past 10 years, lost two legislative districts. The commission tried to offset the loss of black legislators that resulted by developing a new minority district in Prince George's.

That loss in Baltimore angered black leaders, including House Appropriations Committee Chairman Howard P. Rawlings (D-Baltimore), one of the most influential African Americans in the legislature. He complained that three black delegates were forced into a district where two will have to retire or the three will have to compete, even as two white delegates in the city were given safe seats.

He said the plan would "ghetto-ize" the black delegates. "This is a case of taking us for granted," Rawlings said. "They're kicking us in the teeth . . . front and center, in the teeth. This is just outrageous."

Duncan also said that white legislators were accommodated in Montgomery County. House Environmental Matters Committee Chairman John A. Hurson, a Democrat, was switched to a district that Duncan said would have otherwise been a possible minority area. Duncan called it "egregious." Hurson did not return telephone messages.

"I think the Democratic Party is missing a great opportunity to put our money where our mouth is and be the party of inclusion," Duncan said.

Washington Post
Md. Redistricting Hurts Minorities Chances for Election
By Daniel LeDuc
December 18, 2001

Democrats and Republicans alike lined up today to criticize a newly proposed map of Maryland legislative districts for failing to adequately provide minorities with better opportunities to run for the General Assembly.

Leaders in Montgomery County charged the new proposal does nothing to increase the chances for blacks, Hispanics or Asians who run for the legislature. And Baltimore leaders were angry that blacks lost out in the city and complained that a new Prince George's County district, created to help minorities, meant only that African Americans would at best hold even in the General Assembly and have difficulty increasing their numbers.

"It was a golden opportunity to elect more minorities, to make sure our delegation more accurately reflects our county," said Montgomery County Executive Douglas Duncan (D). Instead, the plan "doesn't help elect minorities. It's a missed opportunity."

Montgomery County's population is nearly 40 percent minority and includes half of all the Asians and Hispanics who live in Maryland. The current delegation from the county is all white, except for one member who is of Indian descent.

"That delegation, with one exception, mirrors the Parliament of South Africa during the apartheid period," said Roscoe R. Nix, former president of the NAACP in Montgomery County. "As long as Democrats feel they have the minorities' vote in their pocket, they won't do a damn thing."

Duncan had urged a gubernatorial commission that developed the new legislative map to create smaller, single-member districts, rather than having three House delegates run in one large district as is now the case, to improve chances for minority candidates. It was a position that put the Democrat in an odd alliance with Maryland's Republican chairman Michael Steele, who also was urging single-member districts throughout the state.

"There's no explanation why they couldn't create districts that were 60 percent Hispanic or 60 percent African American to allow those communities to send representatives [to Annapolis,]" said Steele, the only black state GOP chairman in the nation. He said Republicans would sue the governor over the plan.

Legislative district lines are redrawn every 10 years, following the U.S. Census. The proposal, which was released late Monday, was developed by a gubernatorial commission and will inform the final plan that Gov. Parris N. Glendening (D) will submit to the legislature next month.

Maryland's state legislature is among the least reflective of the diversity of the people it represents. Although about 27 percent of Maryland's voting-age population is African American, just 21 percent of state delegates and 19 percent of state senators are black.

Glendening spokesman Michael Morrill said the plan did try to increase minority representation in the legislature. He said that is difficult in Montgomery County where minority populations are not concentrated in any single area.

Baltimore, which lost population during the past 10 years, lost two legislative districts. The commission tried to offset the loss of black legislators that resulted by developing a new minority district in Prince George's County.

That loss in Baltimore angered black leaders, including House Appropriations Committee chairman Howard "Pete" Rawlings (D-Baltimore), one of the most influential African Americans in the legislature. He complained that three black delegates were forced into a district where two will either have to retire or compete among themselves, even as two white delegates in the city were given safe seats.

He said the plan would "ghetto-ize" the black delegates. "This is a case of taking us for granted," Rawlings said. "They're kicking us in the teeth . . . front and center, in the teeth. This is just outrageous."

Duncan also said that white legislators were accommodated in Montgomery County. Environmental Matters Committee chairman John A. Hurson was switched to a district that Duncan said would have otherwise been a possible minority area. Duncan called it "egregious." Hurson did not return telephone messages.

"I think the Democratic Party is missing a great opportunity to put our money where our mouth is and be the party of inclusion," Duncan said.

Baltimore Sun
Baltimore Region Set to Lose 2 Seats in Md. Assembly; Two Senate districts would merge, pitting Mitchell against Della; GOP, city protests likely
By David Nitkin
December 18, 2001

Two Maryland legislative districts would be shifted from the Baltimore region to the burgeoning Washington suburbs under a political map released last night by a panel appointed by the governor.

The proposal from the Governor's Redistricting Advisory Committee would also attempt to boost the numbers of African-American lawmakers in the General Assembly, in part by creating a district in Prince George's County with a large minority population.

The committee, made up of four Democrats and a Republican, would improve the prospects of Democrats across the state. Two GOP state senators on the Eastern Shore have been placed in the same district, and Democratic voters have been added to the districts of three other Republican incumbents.

Although subject to revisions and lawsuits, the boundary lines unveiled last night could well form the districts used to elect each member of the General Assembly - 47 senators and 141 delegates - in 2002.

The redistricting panel is charged with recommending to Gov. Parris N. Glendening changes to the state's political map to reflect population changes captured by the 2000 census. Glendening is expected to make only minor revisions before submitting a redistricting bill to the General Assembly on Jan. 9.

If the legislature does not alter the governor's map - and changes are unlikely because of complexity and competing interests - it becomes law 45 days later.

"I don't think there's any way to do a massive overhaul at this point in the process; nor do I think there is any overhaul needed," said Mike Morrill, spokesman for Glendening.

A public hearing on the proposal, scheduled for Friday in Annapolis, is expected to attract heated complaints from Republicans and other groups.

"I can't go to a meeting or a public venue without someone telling me they are going to challenge," said Maryland Secretary of State John T. Willis, the panel's chairman. "I'll be very interested to see what kind of pragmatic suggestions we get."

The proposal would create major changes in Baltimore, which lost 84,860 residents between 1990 and 2000.

After the last redistricting process, the city contained five entire Senate districts, large parts of three others and small parts of two. Now, it would contain three entire Senate districts and parts of five others.

The city's 44th and 47th Senate districts would be merged, forcing Democratic Sens. Clarence M. Mitchell IV and George W. Della Jr. to run against each other in a district where 53 percent of residents would be African-American. Mitchell is black, and Della is white.

The newly configured 44th District would be divided into three subdistricts, two of which appear to protect white delegates. Democratic Del. Jacob J. Mohorovic could run as an incumbent in 44C, which would connect Dundalk and southern Baltimore across the Key Bridge. In District 44B, Democratic Del. Brian K. McHale could run as an incumbent. If they don't move or retire, three African-American delegates would be forced to run against each other for one seat in District 44A: Democrats Verna L. Jones, Jeffrey A. Paige and Ruth M. Kirk. That part of the plan is drawing the ire of some leading African-American lawmakers.

In the 46th District represented by Sen. Perry Sfikas, five incumbent delegates would run against each other for three seats if each sought re-election from their current residences: Democrats Carolyn J. Krysiak, Cornell N. Dypski and Peter A. Hammen of Baltimore and Democrats John S. Arnick and Joseph J. "Sonny" Minnick of Dundalk.

Democratic Sen. Nathaniel J. McFadden, chairman of the city Senate delegation, said he believes the governor and the commission have produced a good document, but it still will probably be challenged in court.

He said it was good to know that the commission created more opportunities for African-American representation. Of the General Assembly's 188 members, 38 are black.

"I don't think anything is going to avoid a lawsuit," McFadden said. "But it's not as bad as it could have been. The commission and the governor have done a very good job. It's a difficult job."

But Democratic Del. Howard P. Rawlings of the 40th District said the obliteration of the 44th District and the protection of two white incumbents - McHale and Mohorovic - was troublesome. Rawlings has threatened a lawsuit if Baltimore loses minority representation. He said last night that the potential loss of two African-American delegates could trigger that challenge.

"What they did was to do something that was unprecedented: They created three single-member districts, and in one of the single-member districts, they put three black incumbents," Rawlings said. The move will "undercut the main objective of increasing minority representation," he said.

Mitchell declined to comment last night, saying he had not seen the maps.

Baltimore County and other parts of the metropolitan area would also see significant changes:

Democratic Sen. Norman R. Stone Jr. of Dundalk, the legislature's longest-serving member, would be forced to run against Democratic Sen. Philip C. Jimeno of Anne Arundel if he seeks re-election. Jimeno's northern Arundel District 31 would extend into eastern Baltimore County to pick up two precincts, one of which includes Stone's home.

The 10th District represented by Democratic Sen. Delores G. Kelley would lose its city precincts and be entirely in western Baltimore County.

Much of northern Baltimore County would be included in the 5th District represented by Republican Sen. Larry E. Haines of Carroll County.

The growing south Carroll County area would get a new subdistrict for a delegate.

Howard County would get a new Columbia-dominated District 13 that appears tailor-made for Democratic County Councilman C. Vernon Gray to run for Senate.

Montgomery County gained enough residents in the past decade to warrant an additional district. The county picked up 116,314 residents, putting its population at 873,341. Under the proposal, Montgomery County would have eight Senate districts entirely within its borders, up from seven.

The plan throws the Eastern Shore's two Republican senators, J. Lowell Stoltzfus of Somerset County and Richard F. Colburn of Dorchester County, into a redrawn 37th District. Stoltzfus, who was recently elected minority leader, said he would move to the Salisbury area to run in the new 38th District, which no longer includes Somerset.

"I feel pretty comfortable I will win it," Stoltzfus said. "It'll be a pain, especially since I just moved to a new house three weeks ago." Stoltzfus denounced the new Shore map as an example of "raw partisan politics at its worst," particularly because it splits Somerset from the other counties of the Lower Shore. "It's typical of the political culture in Maryland, unfortunately. It's a one-party state," he said.

Other Republican senators who could face more difficult re-election bids because of Democratic voters added to their district include Alex X. Mooney of Frederick, Jean W. Roesser of Montgomery County and Nancy Jacobs of Harford County.

Washington Post
Md. Assembly Redistricting Would Benefit Area Democrats
By Daniel LeDuc and Matthew Mosk
December 18, 2001

The Washington suburbs would gain two state legislative districts under a plan released yesterday that would paint a new face for Maryland's General Assembly.

If adopted by Gov. Parris N. Glendening (D) and approved by the legislature during the General Assembly session that begins next month, the plan would establish the district boundaries that would be used in Maryland for the next decade.

The plan follows population shifts defined in the latest census, which determined that Baltimore continued to lose residents while Montgomery and Prince George's counties steadily grew.

"The center of gravity in the state has shifted from the Baltimore area. There had to be cuts there," Glendening spokesman Michael Morrill said.

A new legislative district proposed for Montgomery County stretches from the southeast corner of the county to the northeast. No incumbent senators live there, but two sitting Democratic delegates, Dana Lee Dembrow and Tod David Sher, are in the district and both are planning runs for the Senate.

Prince George's County would get a new district stretching from Langley Park, along the Montgomery County line to the District and out to Cheverly, in a C-shape. It would be 60 percent African American and also have a large Latino population. No members of the legislature live in the proposed district.

Plotters of the new lines created the district to make up for the loss of voters in inner-city Baltimore and to help maintain minority representation in the General Assembly, said Secretary of State John T. Willis, who headed the panel that developed the plan.

No lawmakers saw their own fortunes hurt by the creation of a new district, and many backed the effort to increase minority representation.

"One of our goals was trying to make sure African Americans don't lose representation through this process," said Sen. Paul G. Pinsky (D-Prince George's). "The new district recognizes that goal."

It also, he said, reflects the concern that despite a rapidly expanding Latino community in such neighborhoods as Langley Park, Adelphi, Bladensburg and Riverdale, there are no Latino lawmakers in Annapolis.

"Among our colleagues, we have discussed increasing diversity, and we're not just talking one race," he said. "Our hope is that the Latino population will become a more potent political force."

Glendening will hold a public hearing on the plan in Annapolis on Friday morning. He'll then submit his final plan to the legislature when the General Assembly opens its annual session Jan. 9. If lawmakers don't change the plan, it automatically becomes law 45 days later.

A separate plan to redraw the lines for Maryland's eight Congressional seats is being developed and will be debated during the General Assembly session. Maryland has four Democratic members of Congress and four Republicans. Most analysts expect a tilt to make it easier to elect one or two more Democrats.

Republicans attacked the plan yesterday and accused the Democratic-dominated panel of playing pure politics with the redrawing of the lines.

"Of course we expected it, but this was totally partisan," said Senate Minority Leader J. Lowell Stoltzfus (Somerset), who was put in a district with another Eastern Shore GOP senator, Richard Colburn (Dorchester). Stoltzfus said he would move to avoid a head-to-head fight with a fellow Republican.

The legislative redistricting has focused the minds of incumbent lawmakers like little else in recent months, and yesterday offered them the first glimpse of their political futures.

"Unless something emerges . . . I don't think there will be substantial changes," Willis said.

Morrill said the governor has been informed of the proposals the commission has considered over the past few months. His goal was to ensure that geographic, racial, gender and voting histories of regions of the state were respected.

"There wouldn't be a major overhaul," he said. Glendening "will submit this plan or something similar to it in January."

Sen. Norman R. Stone Jr. (D-Baltimore County), who is the longest-serving member of the Senate and represents a gritty section of Dundalk, is expected to retire. The panel sliced up his district to help Democrats around him.

Stone had been placed in a district that pitted him against incumbent Anne Arundel County Democrat Philip C. Jimeno. Two other sitting Democratic senators also were lumped in the same district, Clarence Mitchell IV (Baltimore), one of the most active African Americans in the General Assembly, and veteran lawmaker George W. Della Jr. (Baltimore), who is white.

Although the plan creates some internal fights between Democrats, it also gives Democrats help challenging several incumbent Republicans because the districts have been redrawn to include more Democratic voters.

A Harford County district was redrawn to make it easier for Democratic Del. Mary Dulany-James to challenge GOP Sen. Nancy Jacobs. And a Frederick County district now has more Democratic voters to help Del. Sue Hecht challenge Republican Alexander X. Mooney.

Baltimore Sun
Md. Political Remapping is Completed; Details to be given Monday; Shift seen to suburbs of D.C.; Public hearing Friday; Baltimore City, county and GOP threaten lawsuits
By David Nitkin
December 15, 2001

A panel appointed by the governor largely completed the sensitive task of redrawing state legislative boundaries yesterday, setting the stage for expected lawsuits and cries of outrage from Baltimore City and county residents and Republicans.

While officials say maps will not be made public until Monday, Secretary of State John T. Willis said yesterday that, as expected, the proposal will shift a Senate district from shrinking Baltimore to Maryland's growing suburban Washington areas.

Baltimore County, too, is expected to lose representation, according to sources close to the process. The loss will almost certainly be on the county's east side.

"It's by far the hardest part," said Willis, chairman of the Governor's Redistricting Advisory Committee, speaking of drawing districts in the Baltimore region. "Contraction is difficult. I hope we make a little more progress than professional baseball has."

Willis also predicted that statewide, the number of African-Americans in elected office will grow. "I think minority representation is likely to be increased in the General Assembly after the 2002 elections," he said.

Although their political futures hang in the balance, lawmakers contacted last night had little knowledge of the final proposal - which is subject to change by Gov. Parris N. Glendening and the General Assembly.

Sources familiar with the proposed map say that joint city-county districts in Baltimore, a creation of the last redistricting process a decade ago to help preserve the region's influence, will grow in sometimes odd shapes.

The prospect did not disturb Sen. Nathaniel J. McFadden, chairman of the city Senate delegation, who has not seen the boundaries. "We have a metropolitan map, and we will have a metropolitan map," McFadden said. "That's the current situation."

The five-member advisory panel - four Democrats and a Republican - completed much of its work behind closed doors yesterday afternoon. The committee has scheduled a public hearing on its proposal for Friday.

The panel's recommendation will be forwarded to Glendening, who could make changes before presenting a redistricting bill to the General Assembly on Jan. 9. Observers say lobbying from legislators most affected will be intense.

"No matter how hard you try, you end up hurting incumbent office-holders," said House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr. of Allegany County, a member of the panel.

The timing of the public hearing has drawn complaints from Republicans, who say few will attend during the height of the holiday season.

The advisory group's Republican member, Worcester County Commissioner Louise L. Guylas, has complained that she had not been shown proposals that had been circulating for weeks.

"What are they trying to hide? Why have they waited until the 11th hour to produce their maps?" said state GOP Executive Director Paul Ellington in a prepared statement. "The skids are greased, and Marylanders are going to get this rammed down their throats, and even worse they won't even know it's happening."

Some groups are talking about suing the state to change boundaries if their fears are realized.

"I have a meeting with [an attorney] Monday to discuss our options," said Del. Joseph J. Minnick of Dundalk, head of the Baltimore County House delegation.

Del. Howard P. Rawlings of Baltimore has also said he would help organize a lawsuit if the city loses a black state senator through redistricting.

Rawlings said last night he did not know which of two options the advisory panel had decided on. "I do know one proposal eliminates a majority African-American district in Baltimore City, the 44th," he said. "Another maintains the full complement [of black lawmakers]."

Republicans have proposed a redistricting plan that creates three districts for delegates within each of 47 Senate districts. Most delegates now represent the entire Senate district. The GOP, too, is expected to sue to promote the so-called single-member district plan.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, also an advisory group member, said there was probably no way to avoid legal action.

"There's going to be as many disgruntled persons as persons who feel satisfied," said Miller of the process. "No one is happy. There's no gloating on the part of any one. It's shared pain."

Sun staff writers Greg Garland and Ivan Penn contributed to this article.

Washington Times
Redistricting Panel Assailed for Secrecy
By Tom Stuckey
December 10, 2001

The committee drafting state legislative districts is doing its work in secret, drawing complaints from Republicans that the public has been locked out of decisions that will help determine the makeup of the General Assembly for the next 10 years.

The one Republican on the five-member committee created by Gov. Parris N. Glendening, a Democrat, says even she is being kept in the dark by her Democratic colleagues.

"I hear about all these maps being handed around. I never see the maps," said Louise Gulyas, a Republican county commissioner from Worcester County.

Secretary of State John Willis, chairman of the committee, said members hold meetings and telephone conversations all the time as they try to draft proposed districts for the 47 senators and 141 House members.

The committee includes Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, House Speaker Casper Taylor and Isiah Leggett, a Montgomery County councilman. "It's a daily consensus-building process," Mr. Willis said.

"The process is not really a voting process because our charge is to give recommendations to the governor. The governor's map that he submits on the first day of the session is really the official map," he said.

Mr. Willis said the committee will try to wrap up work in the next 10 days or so and have a public hearing on its proposal by Dec. 21.

Mr. Glendening will make the final decision on the plan, which will become law unless the legislature adopts its own map by the 45th day of the session that begins Jan. 9.

House Minority Leader Robert Kittleman, Howard Republican, said even the timing of the public hearing, just before Christmas, is suspect.

"You talk about getting it in under the radar," he said. "Who's going to pay much attention to the plans" that close to Christmas? Mr. Kittleman said. "They have really cut the public out of it."

The attorney general's office advised the committee that it was not covered by the state open meetings law because it was created by the governor through a letter, not an executive order, and because all of its members were on the public payroll.

House Minority Whip Robert Flanagan, Howard Republican, did not quarrel with the attorney general's advice, but said that "just because there's a loophole doesn't mean they should be doing it."

"It's unconscionable that they are affecting the value of people's votes by gerrymandering legislative and congressional districts in secret," he said.

The committee held meetings around the state to get input on how to draw districts for the 188 legislators and the eight members of the House of Representatives.

Mr. Willis said anyone who wants districts drawn differently will have time to make recommendations and have them considered before the governor introduces his plan.

Mr. Miller described drawing new legislative districts "as one of the most difficult undertakings that anyone can be asked to do."

The committee is dealing with issues involving sex, geography and equal representation for minorities, he said.

There will be hearings "in the House and Senate and people will have the opportunity to come forward and make their views known."

"It's not something being done behind closed doors," Mr. Miller said.

Roll Call
Between the Lines (excerpt)
By John Mercurio
December 3, 2001

Maryland Dreaming

Trying to gain two seats in one of the nation's most Democratic states, party leaders in Maryland have decided to target GOP Reps. Connie Morella and Bob Ehrlich in the hope of emerging with a 6-2 majority in the House delegation.

Redistricting insiders in Annapolis and Washington say Democratic leaders and Gov. Parris Glendening (D), who will introduce a map in January, have rejected a move to split Montgomery County into three districts.

Instead, sources said, they plan to move the northern portion of Rep. Al Wynn's (D) majority-minority seat into Morella's 8th district and shift some of the Democratic-rich suburbs now held by Rep. Benjamin Cardin (D) into Ehrlich's 2nd district. State Del. Mark Shriver (D) and state Sen. Christopher Van Hollen (D) are vying to challenge Morella, who won re-election last year by just 6 points, her closest margin ever.

The redistricting move could further encourage Ehrlich to run for governor. But Democrats said they hope he instead will opt to challenge Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (R) in the new 1st district, which is likely to remain a GOP stronghold based on the state's Eastern Shore.

Baltimore Sun
Leaders Unite Behind Lawsuit; Plan is to save state Senate seat in mostly black area; 'We can't allow the loss'
By Gady A. Epstein
December 2, 2001

About 20 African-American members of Baltimore's State House delegation and the City Council met yesterday and united behind Del. Howard P. Rawlings' plans to sue if Gov. Parris N. Glendening eliminates one of the city's majority African-American legislative districts in a redistricting proposal he is due to issue next month.

The city is virtually certain to lose one district -- all or parts of 10 districts represent the city -- as a result of population loss since the last time district lines were drawn a decade ago. But black legislators note that the white population has declined in far greater numbers than has the black population.

"We can't allow the loss of a minority representative," said Del. Talmadge Branch, an East Baltimore Democrat and chairman of the legislative Black Caucus.

Rawlings said he called the closed-door meeting, held over lunch at Britton's Bar and Grill on North Howard Street, as it became apparent that Glendening and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller would like to erase the 44th Senate district represented by Sen. Clarence M. Mitchell IV, a West Baltimore Democrat who has at times been at odds with the governor and Miller. Glendening, Miller and some others in Annapolis may also be concerned, Rawlings said, that former Sen. Larry Young, who was expelled from the Senate in 1998 for ethical violations, might try to run for the seat.

According to participants in the meeting, an attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund briefed delegates, council members, Deputy Mayor Jeanne D. Hitchcock and city elections board President Marvin L. "Doc" Cheatham on the legal grounds for a lawsuit under the federal Voting Rights Act.

Rawlings said legislators and council members in the room unanimously supported moving ahead with a lawsuit if necessary, and that participants agreed they'd have no problem raising the money to pay an expected $20,000 to $50,000 in legal fees.

Rawlings is no ally of Mitchell's -- he called him "the most despicable senator we have" at one recent public meeting on redistricting -- but he said his interest is in maintaining African-American representation.

Legislative redistricting battles across the nation are often marked by blunt displays of power and retribution, but Rawlings said personal feelings should not dictate how district lines are drawn.

"I think it's outrageous that the governor or the president of the Senate is upset with Clarence Mitchell or Larry Young, and is going to penalize black voters in their district because of their pique," Rawlings said. "I think it's the arrogance of power, and that's why we had such a strong turnout at this meeting today."

Glendening spokesman Michael Morrill said recently that the governor is sensitive to the issue of minority representation as one of many factors "to make sure that Marylanders are fairly represented."

Five majority African-American Senate districts are mostly or completely within city lines. Most of the delegates representing those districts were at the meeting. The legislative Black Caucus has proposed preserving Mitchell's district as majority African-American by merging it with that of a white senator, southern Baltimore Democrat George W. Della Jr. The Maryland branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People backs a similar plan.

By law, the governor must submit a bill in January that creates districts for all 188 General Assembly members.

Baltimore Sun
Rawlings Pledges Suit Over Districts; Meeting to discuss action if plan drops majority-black area
By David Nitkin
November 28, 2001

A prominent Baltimore legislator is threatening to sue the state if Gov. Parris N. Glendening's legislative redistricting plan eliminates an African American-majority district in the city.

Del. Howard P. Rawlings, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, has called for a meeting Saturday of black city delegates and the Baltimore City Council to discuss legal options if a much-discussed redistricting proposal becomes reality. An attorney with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's Legal and Educational Defense Fund will also attend.

"If we lose an African-American district in Baltimore City, I will be leading the charge, along with my colleagues, and with the help of the NAACP legal defense fund, to bring suit against the state," Rawlings said yesterday.

The meeting's topic and timing reflect heightened tension in Annapolis as the once-a-decade process of redrawing political boundaries nears completion. Many careers hang in the balance.

Baltimore's population decline should translate into the loss of at least one state Senate district and its accompanying delegates. The city now contains five districts in their entirety; five others include some city neighborhoods and extend into Baltimore County.

The Baltimore City House delegation has endorsed a plan that would preserve the districts of six African-American senators and force two white senators, George W. Della Jr. and Perry Sfikas, to run against each other. But since then, talk has persisted that Glendening would prefer to eliminate the district of Sen. Clarence M. Mitchell IV, who is black.

By law, the governor must submit a bill in January that creates districts for all 188 General Assembly members. Because of competing interests and the complexity of the map, the governor's bill is expected to become law without significant changes.

Glendening spokesman Michael Morrill said final redistricting decisions have not been made. A five-member advisory committee has not finished its work, he said.

"People are staking out territory right now," Morrill said. "That's part of the process you go through in redistricting."

While Glendening is sensitive to issues of minority representation, Morrill said, "it's one of the many different things that go into the calculation to make sure that Marylanders are fairly represented."

Rawlings said that he and Del. Talmadge Branch, the Baltimore Democrat who heads the legislative black caucus, met with Glendening two weeks ago "and reminded him he won two elections with strong African-American support in Baltimore City."

"He said he would take it into consideration," Branch said yesterday. "I haven't seen any maps at this point that actually eliminate anybody. We may be talking about something that may not even happen."

Despite speculation that Glendening might create a majority-black district in Prince George's County, Branch said he would feel compelled to join a legal challenge. "The sentiment in the city is that people who left the city are not African-Americans, so why are we losing an African-American district?" he said.

Civil rights activists have made good on similar threats in the past. A lawsuit forced the creation of a single-member House district on the Eastern Shore, which led to the election of Del. Rudolph C. Cane, who is black.

Washington Post
Redistricting Idea In Pr. George's Lures Surprise Contender; Broadwater Finding Little Support
By Paul Schwartzman
November 25, 2001

Maryland lawmakers are seeking to create a new Senate district in Prince George's County to elect an African American whose style and politics resonate with the county's newest arrivals, young black professionals.

They envision someone with polish and sophistication, someone like Del. Rushern L. Baker III (D), 43, a lawyer and the head of the county's House delegation.

But the only person publicly expressing interest in the office is a voice from the past: Tommie Broadwater Jr., 59, a bail bondsman and former state senator who lost his seat in the early 1980s after he was convicted of food stamp fraud.

Broadwater's desire to launch another campaign has surprised state lawmakers, including some who considered trying to thwart his comeback.

Sen. Paul G. Pinsky (D), head of the county's Senate delegation, said that Broadwater's name never came up among those conceiving of the new seat over the past nine months.

"I didn't even think Tommie was involved in politics," Pinsky said.

Sen. Ulysses Currie (D-Prince George's) said the only people whom lawmakers have touted for the seat are Baker and Bladensburg Mayor David C. Harrington, both of whom say they're interested in other offices.

"We're looking at future leaders, developing leaders," Currie said. "I'm not into Tommie."

Broadwater, whose bail bond business is at the same Fairmont Heights address as his barbecue rib restaurant, nightclub and liquor store, touts himself as a bridge between the past and the present in Prince George's.

"I understand the new guys and the old guys," he said. "Matter of fact, most of the players were there when I was there. And I ain't that old yet. The point is to elect someone who's going to do something for the people. I know how to get things done."

Adding a Senate seat in Prince George's is among many plans being reviewed by the state redistricting commission, which in the next month will recommend a new political map to Gov. Parris N. Glendening (D). The governor must submit a plan to the General Assembly by Jan. 9.

The idea of creating a new black majority seat in Prince George's has broad appeal among the county's senators, including Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D), a member of the redistricting commission.

Currently, blacks hold three of the county's eight Senate seats, a number that does not reflect the ratio of blacks to whites in Prince George's. African Americans account for 62 percent of the county's population.

"We want more of a balance of black and white senators," Currie said.

Theproposed district was drawn around Cheverly and Bladensburg, a decision based on a number of factors, including the belief that adjacent districts could afford to lose population.

Lawmakers believed the seat would provide a steppingstone for Baker, who lives in Cheverly. But Baker has brushed off numerous entreaties to run for the seat, including one that he said recently came from Miller. Baker insists that he's only interested in running for county executive, even though his war chest is paltry compared with the leading contender's.

"There's a desire to see young, progressive African Americans run for the Senate," Baker said. "But I've never had intentions to run for it. For me, the timing is off."

Harrington, who said Pinsky and Currie approached him about the seat, said he's leaning toward a campaign for a spot on the County Council.

Once Broadwater publicly declared interest, some lawmakers discussed drawing the district's lines to exclude his properties in Glenarden and Chapel Oaks, according to a state official with knowledge of the process.

But that plan was dropped after Broadwater proclaimed that he would move to the new district if he had to.

In 1974, Broadwater became the first black in Prince George's elected to the Maryland Senate. At the peak of his power, he was known as the "Godfather," a man whose blessing blacks needed to get patronage jobs in county government.

Broadwater was an energetic street campaigner. But after his 1984 conviction for committing $70,000 in food stamp fraud -- for which he served four months in federal prison -- he lost three comeback bids, including one for Congress and two for his old Senate seat.

Nevertheless, Broadwater retains considerable clout, serving as an informal adviser to a host of politicians, including County Executive Wayne K. Curry (D).

In recent weeks, Broadwater has been traveling the county's political circuit, telling people of his plans. Interest seems muted.

"Don't get me into that," said Sen. Leo E. Green (D).

Only Sen. Nathaniel Exum (D), a longtime friend, expressed enthusiasm. "He's my mentor and my man," Exum said. "I think he'd stand a heck of a chance."

It's unclear if Broadwater can connect with Prince George's voters, many of whom were not around when he was famous among his constituents for cruising the county in his orange Cadillac.

"He's a tremendous personable campaigner," said John McDonough, counsel to the county's Democratic Central Committee. "The downside for him is that his past could be a turnoff for some voters who have been around, or for new voters if his opponent tries to use his past against him."

Broadwater says he served his time and that it is his political know-how that's important.

"I'm just as strong as the next person," he said.

Baltimore Sun
Redistricting Soft at Center
By David Nitkin
November 6, 2001

Task: Determining Maryland's new political districts has been relatively painless around the edges of the state, but more difficult in Baltimore and Baltimore County.

From the Forrest Gump school of food analogies ("Life is like a box of chocolates," remember?) comes this morsel: Legislative redistricting is like a bowl of Jell-O in the refrigerator.

The edges harden first, while the middle remains squishy for a while.

The political folks drawing the map for 47 state Senate districts and the House districts within them are nearing the end of their once-a-decade task. The job was fairly easy at the edges; there won't be much outcry from Western Maryland or the Eastern Shore.

But a few squishy spots remain -- primarily in Baltimore and Baltimore County -- and that's where things will get exciting.

Baltimore lost enough population over the past two decades to justify two fewer districts than the eight city-centered districts it now has. (Two other districts include parts of the city, but have many more voters in Baltimore County.)

As part of an effort to preserve the city's dwindling influence, Baltimore will probably lose only one state senator (and the district's three accompanying delegates) when maps are released this year. Many versions of redistricting plans have Sen. Clarence M. Mitchell IV's 44th District disappearing.

But preserving seats for Baltimore could come at Baltimore County's expense. While the county added population during the last decade, it could find itself with less legislative influence on the east side.

To protect the political career of a city incumbent, the 47th District of Sen. George W. Della Jr. could be extended into the eastern Baltimore County neighborhood of Dundalk and surrounding areas -- essentially eliminating the 7th District represented by Sen. Norman R. Stone Jr., a 34-year veteran. City and county neighborhoods in the district would be linked only by the Key Bridge.

"That's a rumor at this point," Stone said yesterday. "I have not seen a plan that does that."

But talk is loud enough to send Stone scrambling. He has asked staffers to draw an alternative plan that keeps both his and Della's districts intact. After offering his thoughts to Sen. President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Stone said Miller "asked me to do a statewide plan" that incorporated his ideas for the east side.

"I don't believe the county should lose a senator," Stone said, adding that Dundalk residents "would be outraged" to be included in a city district.

Del. Joseph J. Minnick, the leader of the Baltimore County House delegation who is from the 7th District, said a redistricting plan that alienates politically active Dundalk could have repercussions in the governor's race.

"We told [Lt. Gov.] Kathleen [Kennedy Townsend] if that plan goes into effect, you can kiss Dundalk goodbye," Minnick said. "We won't have any control over what the people say."

Talk that Stone might be retiring from the legislature has fueled speculation that his home base could become expendable. But the senator said he'd like to stay in office. "If I have a district, I'm running again," Stone said.

Any districts removed from Baltimore and Baltimore County would almost certainly be transferred to voter-rich Prince George's and Montgomery counties, other areas of the state where plans are slightly squishy. State political leaders are under pressure to create more districts with African-American majorities, and one would go to Prince George's.

A redistricting advisory committee named by Gov. Parris N. Glendening is expected to release its proposal in about a month. By then, the Jell-O will have fully hardened: The governor is likely to accept most if not all of the committee's recommendations. And it's doubtful the General Assembly will do much to change his plan.

Washington Post
Md. Races Emerge as Key to Gaining House Majority; Redistricting Democrats Grapple With Leveraging Liberal Vote
By Jo Becker and Spencer S. Hsu
November 5, 2001

Maryland Democrats in charge of congressional redistricting are under intense pressure to deliver big for their party this year, as uncertainty over a far-off court case and GOP advantages elsewhere raise the stakes in the state-by-state struggle to influence the composition of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Democrats hold an almost 2 to 1 registration advantage over Republicans in Maryland, yet the party controls only half of the state's eight House seats.

While a plan has yet to be formalized, the state is seen as key to the Democratic Party's strategies, and party officials who control the redistricting process have settled on an aggressive goal of redrawing political boundaries to maximize their chances of picking up two seats.

"I've been told that it's very doable," said a top national Democratic redistricting strategist. "This is a state where one party has an advantage, and we'll try to press that advantage to gain as much as we can."

Every 10 years, the political boundaries of districts are redrawn to reflect population shifts. Districts must be roughly equal in population to ensure equal representation.

But figuring out which voters to pack into what district is a high-stakes political battle that can determine which people stay in power and who gets to vote for them.

For Democrats, the pressure is particularly intense: To reach a majority of 218 in the House, Democrats must gain six seats. To do that, they must win 31 of the 50 competitive races in 2002, a difficult task.

In states such as Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, Republicans are pulling out all the stops to design districts they can win. Democrats, for their part, have fought to maximize their advantage in states they control, recently winning a crucial victory in Georgia, where the party could pick up as many as four additional House seats.

In Texas, a plan that could have resulted in the loss of as many as nine Democratic seats was scrapped amid legal wrangling, and redistricting is now in the hands of a three-member panel of federal judges.

With two of the three members of the panel appointed by a Democratic president, the national party is less worried than it was initially. But the outcome is uncertain, which adds to the pressure that Maryland Democrats face.

"We have heard a lot from Democrats who say, 'Remember the Alamo, remember Texas,' said Isiah Leggett (D-At Large), a Montgomery County Council member who is part of a five-member redistricting task force appointed by Gov. Parris Glendening (D).

Even apart from pressure from the national party, most of Maryland's congressional Democrats have concluded on their own to push for a map with six Democratic districts.

"I think we recognize that everyone among the four [Democratic] incumbents will have to make some sacrifices to accommodate that goal," said U.S. Rep. Albert R. Wynn (D-Md). "We are going to do that."

A spokeswoman for Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, dean of Maryland's Democratic delegation, said members were closing in on a plan.

Target number one for Maryland Democrats is U.S. Rep. Constance A. Morella, an eight-term Republican who represents most of Montgomery County.

Significantly increasing the number of Democrats in Morella's 8th District would be easy, if that were all the party wanted to accomplish. But picking up two seats without hurting Democratic incumbents is difficult, because there are only so many Democratic voters to go around. Political mapmakers run the risk of maintaining the 4 to 4 status quo if the districts aren't drawn with strongly Democratic majorities.

One plan would increase the number of Democrats in Morella's district, while attempting to convert the district currently represented by U.S. Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R-Md.) into the Democratic column by centering it in the Baltimore County area.

The idea is to design a district where Baltimore County Executive C.A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger could mount a competitive challenge. But the plan could also persuade Ehrlich to enter the governor's race against one of the Democrat's rising national stars, Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.

The other plan involves splitting Montgomery County's 8th District into two Montgomery-centric and Democratic-leaning districts, while continuing to give Wynn a small slice of the liberal jurisdiction. That plan has the benefit of avoiding a bruising Democratic primary fight between Del. Mark K. Shriver (Montgomery) and state Sen. Christopher Van Hollen Jr. (Montgomery), two party up-and-comers who are vying to challenge Morella. One could challenge the Republican incumbent in a rejiggered, more heavily Democratic district, and one would get a free shot at an open seat.

But to pack both districts with enough Democrats, map drawers would probably have to snake one of them up to liberal Columbia, which is currently represented by U.S. Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.).

Cardin might not want to lose those Columbia liberals.

"I think it would be extremely difficult for Maryland Democrats to pick up two seats," he said, refusing to comment on specific plans.

The redistricting panel is expected to submit a draft plan within a few weeks, and Glendening must make a final decision by January.

Baltimore Sun
Minor District Changes Seen; Lawmakers expect a few alterations in political boundaries
By Childs Walker
October 29, 2001

Only a few months from their first gander at the governor's political redistricting plan, Carroll County representatives say they are not expecting catastrophic changes. But one or more of the six Republicans in the county delegation could have their districts altered, members said.

Though Carroll's population growth has been steady in the past 10 years, it hasn't been enough to force major redistricting changes, said Manchester Del. Joseph M. Getty. The county's population grew from 123,000 in 1990 to 151,000 in 2000. According to the state formula, that means Carroll should have four delegates, a senator and share a senator, the same slate it has now.

Maryland's government redraws the state's legislative districts every 10 years so each district has a roughly equal number of voters. The redrawing often represents an opportunity for the party in power to possibly eliminate representatives from the party out of power.

With a few subtle shifts of boundary lines, Democratic Gov. Parris N. Glendening could force Carroll incumbents to move or run against each other. The process, called packing, could end the careers of one or two Carroll representatives in the Maryland General Assembly.

In a second scenario, the governor could shift Hampstead and Manchester into a Baltimore County-dominated district, forcing Getty to move or run against three Baltimore County incumbents.

Either shift would be part of an overall plan to create a surplus of GOP incumbents in already-Republican districts, opening seats for Democrats to seek office.

State Sen. Timothy R. Ferguson said he fully expects Democrats to dump his home base, Taylorsville, into Sen. Larry E. Haines' district, but he'll thwart the shift by moving, he said.

"I know the governor can't resist the temptation to tweak the noses of me and Senator Haines because he doesn't like us personally," Ferguson said. "But it won't hurt either of us or the party."

New Windsor Del. Donald B. Elliott, who could be forced into competition with Carroll's three other incumbent Republicans, said he hasn't worried about redistricting.

"The big decisions all get made at the last minute anyway," he said, recalling his redistricting experience 10 years ago. "I look at it this way: I don't think no matter how they draw my district they can make it too liberal that I wouldn't have a chance to win."

Elliott said he will not move and has no plans to leave politics.

Glendening will submit his final redistricting plan Jan. 9, the first day of the 2002 General Assembly session. A five-member advisory committee has held public hearings on redistricting and hashed out details of the plan since spring.

At a hearing in July, Getty asked the committee to divide the county into four subdistricts - each with one delegate - including one for perpetually underrepresented South Carroll. But Getty and his colleagues acknowledged that because they're in the minority party, their wishes will have little bearing on the final product.

On the congressional level, the state formula says Republican Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett's district has too many people. Though most of Carroll probably will remain in Bartlett's district, Getty said, parts could be shifted into the underpopulated districts of Baltimore Reps. Elijah E. Cummings and Benjamin L. Cardin, both Democrats.

Baltimore Sun
Democrats Busy Choosing Their Voters for 2002 Election
By C. Fraser Smith
October 28, 2001

There they go again.

This time they're stealing the 2002 election. Okay, maybe it's not exactly stealing. Would you consider rigging?

They call it redistricting, but it's really re-rigging - re-doing the rigging they did after the Census 10 years ago.

If the word (redistricting) sends you screaming into the street, think of it as hijacking.

It's all very legal. They're doing it because the state constitution and the U.S. Supreme Court say they must.

"They" in this case are the Democrats. The party in power controls redistricting. In Maryland, that would be the Democrats. Our governor is a Democrat. So are most state legislators, both U.S. senators and four of eight members of Congress.

"We'd be doing the same thing," a GOP legislator said last week.

So, if you ventured out to the public hearings over the last few months, you saw feverish politicians, numbers-crunchers and a few civic-minded gluttons for punishment with maps and statistical analyses of voting in Maryland precinct by precinct.

What they were looking for was the data needed to achieve the legal requirement of balanced districts: one person, one vote. Pure democracy. The high court has ruled that democracy prevails only when roughly the same number of people live in each congressional or legislative district.

But that important decision has led to mischief. Ruling parties want election districts in which their candidates have won before the first campaign lawn sign is planted.

Experience shows they're likely to succeed, according to Nate Persily, who teaches at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

"The process of drawing district lines has a greater effect on the democracy than the actual casting of ballots," he says. "Often we think of democracy as voters choosing their representatives. In the redistricting process, politicians choose their voters.

"The decisions made throughout that process almost always predetermine election outcomes," he says. For decades, perhaps.

Funnily enough, though, since most of the participants in Maryland are Democrats, some of the sharp elbow jostling is intramural.

This year, for example, black congressmen may be asked to give up some of their prime voter real estate to help another Democrat beat a Republican. One borrows from the politically rich to help the relative poor.

There are many subplots:

Democrats would like to have congressional districts in which six of their stalwarts can be assured of victory. The current split of four Democrats, four Republicans would become 6-2 for the Dems.

In service to this goal of 6-2 and to enhance the prospects of two young Democrats, we may see two largely Montgomery County districts looping into adjacent territories to grab the needed Democratic muscle.

Pending the outcome of redistricting, state Sen. Chris Van Hollen is running against Kennedy family member Mark Shriver, a member of the House of Delegates. To help both - and to avoid a race in which one of them has to lose - they'll try to give each his own personal district.

Mr. Shriver, having paid his dues in community service and in the General Assembly, hopes to defeat Rep. Connie Morella, a Republican who has withstood many challenges. Because she is so strong, the district makers want to give him all the help they can.

You may find these exertions extraordinary. You should: Sometimes votes on important legislation are cast in exchange for protection during redistricting.

Extraordinary, but not unprecedented.

In 1992, then-Gov. William Donald Schaefer wanted a hospitable district for his Republican friend Helen Delich Bentley.

In that year, too, the federal courts seemed to say Maryland needed another minority district. That requirement and other factors created a domino effect tumbling then-congressman Tom McMillen into an Eastern Shore-Anne Arundel district with Republican Wayne T. Gilchrest. Shoreman Gilchrest, ensconced in the political catbird seat, won.

Penn's Professor Persily says all of this exotic back-scratching can backfire if Democrats get greedy and spread their numbers too thin, diluting their strength.

Good feeling about President Bush, should it continue, could help GOP candidates overturn decisions now being pre-voted in a smoke-free room near you.

C. Fraser Smith is an editorial writer for The Sun.

 



top 
             of 
  
 
 
 page

______________________________________________________________________
Copyright 2001 The Center for Voting and Democracy
6930 Carroll Ave. Suite 901    Takoma Park, MD  20912
(301) 270-4616 ____  [email protected]