Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Breaking: Ohio House reaches deal on new Ohio congressional map, single primary

The Columbus Dispatch reports that Ohio House Republicans have reached a deal with enough Democrats to put aside the pending Democrat-initiated referendum. The GOP controls the House but needs 66 votes (out of 99) to do so.
Democratic and Republican House leaders have apparently worked out a deal today on a new congressional map and a single 2012 primary on March 6, instead of the current split primary that moves presidential and congressional races to June.

Speaker William G. Batchelder, R-Medina, said the new map would contain at least two changes to an updated congressional map that Republicans offered about two months ago. He said the changes are “not major.”
A 2/3 vote is also needed in the Senate, but that is not an issue because the GOP already has a 23-10 majority.

As a refresher, here is the history of the map saga of 2011.

First, the existing map of Ohio's 18 congressional districts.

Here is the new map, with 2 fewer districts, that was passed by the legislature and signed by the governor. This is the one we wrote about here and what prompted sore-loser Democrats into starting another referendum drive.

As a result of the petition drive, Republicans were forced to split Ohio's primary into 2 dates, so that Congrssional primaries could be moved further out to give more time to come to an agreement. In November, they offered HB369. The bill included a compromise map aimed at bringing some Democrats on board to get to 66 votes. It failed. That proposed map is shown below:

The new map that has reportedly been agreed upon is described as a tweek of this map. As of 4:10 PM it has not yet been made public.

The good news here is that the primary would be moved back to March, so that Ohio voters would have a say in the GOP nomination process. We will update this post when we can obtain the map.

Update (4:45):  It was assumed that presidential candidates would have more time to file, since the plan was to have the congressional and presidential primary in June.  If this deal goes through, only the candidates who filed last week for the usual March deadline will be on the ballot.  Out of the 8 republican candidates vying for the nomination, only 3 made the deadline: Romney, Gingrich and Perry.

That's a pretty big deal. Not that the remaining 5 really had a chance of winning anyway, but where does their support go? Who do the Paulbots vote for? Do Santorum and Bachmann supporters move their support to the most conservative of the three, who would arguably be Rick Perry? What a weird ride this has been. No map yet, but according to some Twitter reports, it will be introduced in committee shortly. It could be long night at the House.

UPDATE: See the finalized map in this post.

UPDATE: ODP Chairman Redfern blasts the DCCC for not helping him buy more signatures.

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