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Politics is big in these parts, and we’ve got it covered. John Arthur Hutchison and other staff writers will offer their inside information on the events, big news and little moments of the local political scene in Lake, Geauga and eastern Cuyahoga counties.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Redistricting battle may get nasty

New maps were unveiled this week to shrink the number of congressional districts in Ohio to 16 from 18.

The redistricting issue is not without controversy as Republicans want to approve the maps quickly and are poised to do so shortly, in part, so potential candidates know what the districts will look like.

With a majority in both chambers of the Ohio General Assembly, the GOP, which essentially is in charge of the redistricting process, doesn’t necessarily need Democrat support.

Democrats are not happy with the proposed maps and they say their party voters are crammed into four districts, meaning there would be 12 districts that strongly lean Republican. But it was voters who in 2010 essentially put Republicans in charge of redistricting as GOP Ohio General Assembly members rode a wave of support.

Ohio House Republicans also say the maps are constitutional and comply with federal voting rights.

One point of fairness that might get lost in the bickering is Democrats and Republicans each are likely to lose a congressional member because potential incumbents might have to face each other in new district.

An example: longtime Democratic U.S. Reps. Dennis Kucinich and Marcy Kaptur in a primary in the Cleveland area.

Using what leverage they feel they have, Democrats pledged to withdraw support for a potential emergency bill that would move the primary election from March to May. As many as seven votes from Ohio House Democrats would be needed to achieve a two-thirds majority to pass the bill on an emergency basis despite an election reform law that passed this summer that contained language to move the primary date to May. 

Emergency legislation could be needed because there is a strong possibility of a referendum vote of the election reform law and that means it wouldn’t take effect unless voters approved it in November 2012.

If that bargaining chip fails, the state Democratic Party could also consider gathering signatures for a referendum vote on the redistricting bill itself, Ohio House Bill 319.

In the meantime, new maps unveiled Tuesday showed the 14th Congressional District, now represented by U.S. Rep. Steven C. LaTourette, R-Bainbridge Township, would still consist of Lake, Geauga and Ashtabula counties, plus portions of Cuyahoga, Summit, Trumbull and Portage counties.

Preliminary maps show that the 14th District would gain territory in Cuyahoga and Trumbull counties and a tiny portion of Portage County.

Communities in Cuyahoga County added to the district are Lyndhurst, Independence, Brecksville, Valley View and Walton Hills.

The 11th Congressional District represented by U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Warrensville Heights, would also expand beyond Cuyahoga County to include parts of Summit County.

GOP mapmakers have indicated they wanted to increase that territory further south to keep the district as one with a majority of the residents who are of the minority population.


n Hors d’oeuvres fundraiser for Geauga County Recorder Sharon C. Gingerich from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Cleats Club Seat Grille in Chardon. See Michele Lane.

n Tim Snyder, candidate for Chardon Municipal Court Judge, hosts a clambake at 2 p.m. Saturday at Pine View Lake in Munson Township. See Tiffany J. Holzheimer.

n Lake County Democratic Women’s club hosts annual fall luncheon with Commissioner Robert E. Aufuldish and local author Mildred Dennis at noon Saturday at Cappelli’s in Mentor.

n John Murphy, candidate for Ward 4 Painesville Council, meet the candidate with complimentary buffet from 5 to 9 p.m. Sept. 29 at Rider’s Inn in Painesville. See Murphy.

n Lake County Commissioner Daniel P. Troy will host Fall Classic golf outing and clam bake with 12:30 p.m. shotgun start Sept. 30 at Madison Country Club in Madison Township. See Troy or Kip Molenaar.

n Geauga County Republican Party Steak Roast, featured guests Ohio Auditor Dave Yost and LaTourette. Social hour begins at 2 p.m. Oct. 2 at Troy Township Pavilion. See Frank and Bernadette Gliha.

n Tammy Gibson, Willoughby Municipal Court candidate, hosts a fundraiser from 6 to 10 p.m. Oct. 8 at the Lake County Yacht Club in Eastlake. See Elyssa Georgian.
Twitter: @newsheraldjah


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