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Ohio Supreme Court Sends Redistricting Commission Back To The Drawing Board

Ohio Supreme Court chambers.
Dan Konik
Ohio Public Radio

In this week's episode of Snollygoster, Ohio's politics podcast from WOSU, hosts Mike Thompson and Steve Brown discuss the Ohio Supreme Court decision to reject the state's new legislative district maps. Catherine Turcer, the executive director of Common Cause Ohio, joins the show.

Gerrymander Fail

This week, the Ohio Supreme Court rejected the state legislative maps drawn by Republican leaders and the state’s Redistricting Commission.

It was a split decision with four justices deciding the maps for state legislators were invalid. Three justices dissented. Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor - a Republican - crossed that partisan line and voted with the Democrats.

The majority opinion said the commission failed to meet the constitutional mandate that they "attempt" to draw maps that are not overly partisan. Writing for the majority, Justice Melody Stewart rejected Republicans' argument that because statewide Republicans won 8 out of 10 times in the last decade, Republicans have an 80-20 advantage. Instead, Stewart looked at actual votes cast and found that Ohioans prefer Republicans by a 54-46 margin.

Dissenting justices said the court should not decide this issue and argued that by the letter of the constitution, the commission did its job.

The commission now has a week and a half to come up with new maps because candidates have to file by February 2nd.

Senate Candidates Pick Their Polls

New polling numbers offer different views of how the US Senate campaign is going – that's because these are mostly internal polls released by the candidate's supporters.

The Club For Growth, which supports Josh Mandel, has the former treasurer with a big lead at 26%. The poll has Former GOP Chair Jane Timken at 15 %, Mike Gibbons at 14%, and JD Vance at 10%.

Another poll released by Jane Timken’s campaign shows her doing much better. That poll shows Mandel at 18%, but leading Timken by just two points.

An independent poll done in mid-December showed Mandel at 21% followed by Vance at 15%, Gibbons at 12%, and Timken at 10%.

Snollygoster Of The Week

On Tuesday, Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser tweeted out details of the city’s new vaccine mandate for indoor venues. Whether or not you agree with those, it was a pretty innocuous tweet.

Well, southwest Ohio congressman Warren Davidson isn’t here for all of this public health nonsense. He retweeted Bowser along with a picture of Nazi registration papers and the words “This has been done before. #DoNotComply.”

The condemnation of Davidson's tweet was swift and damning. At the top of Davidson’s mentions was a tweet from the Auschwitz Memorial. It said comparing the Holocaust to public health policies during a global pandemic “is a sad symptom of moral and intellectual decay.”

Send questions and comments to snollygoster@wosu.org.