Districts that GOP Once Admitted Hurt Ohioans, Now Becoming Reality

Ohio House Democratic Leader Armond Budish (D-Beachwood) said  that congressional districts that Republican leaders once said would ‘hurt Ohioans’ are now becoming a reality under the GOP’s new congressional redistricting plan (HB 319). In an effort to defeat a non-partisan redistricting reform ballot measure in 2005, Republican leaders decried districts that snaked across the state and broke apart communities.

“By their own admission, the Republican’s new partisan gerrymandered congressional districts will hurt Ohioans,” said Budish.  “In 2005, Republican leaders said that districts that ‘snake’ from one end of the state to the other do not serve the interest of Ohio voters, yet that is exactly what they are creating in their new congressional districts.”

In an effort to defeat State Issue 4 in 2005, then-State Rep. Kevin DeWine published a map to demonstrate what could happen under the proposed redistricting reform plan. In a press release titled, “DeWine Explains it All: New Proposal Would Hurt Ohioans,” he said that the reform plan would “break apart communities and neighborhoods, dilute the voting power of minorities and disenfranchise voters all across the state.”

Under the new GOP redistricting plan (HB 319), the 9th Congressional District snakes from Toledo to Cleveland along a narrow stretch of land, and sometimes water.  DeWine mocked the possibility of such districts in 2005: “I don’t think districts that snake from one end of the state to another serve the interests of the voters of Ohio.” (Gongwer, 9/29/2005).

“The map that DeWine and Republicans devised six years ago to scare voters out of nonpartisan redistricting reform has a remarkable resemblance to the new redistricting map Republicans have produced.  It carves up communities and snakes districts all across the state, allowing politicians to choose their voters,” Budish said.

In 2005, Republicans made an all out effort to stop a non-partisan plan for redistricting supported by the League of Women Voters and a coalition of “good government” groups.  As part of their effort to protect partisan redistricting, they created a scare tactic map which sliced and diced political subdivisions around the state.  However, the new partisan gerrymandered congressional map (HB 319) MORE egregiously splits apart counties (68) compared to the current district maps (44).  The new gerrymander is closer to the county splits proposed (89) in the scare-tactic map used to defeat Reform Ohio Now.

DeWine is now the Ohio Republican Party chairman.  His 2005 press release can be seen here, and the scare-tactic map used to defeat Reform Ohio Now can be seen here.

Click here to see House Bill 319, the proposed GOP congressional redistricting map.

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