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GOP redistricting commissioners file their rebuttal to challenge over Ohio congressional map

 Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima)
Andy Chow
Statehouse News Bureau
Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima)

Members of the Ohio Redistricting Commission are laying out their arguments for why they supported or opposed the latest congressional district map.

Republican redistricting commissioners said the congressional map they adopted on March 2 complies with the Ohio Supreme Court's orders and creates a map that can be implemented in time for the primary.

In a court filing, the response from Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) and House Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima) argues that the sections of the constitution that prohibit drawing a map that unduly favors one party do not apply to the Ohio Redistricting Commission.

"These requirements expressly apply to the general assembly and are contained in the section describing the adoption of a plan by the general assembly by a simple majority vote," writes Phillip Strach, attorney for Huffman and Cupp.

The Ohio General Assembly had the first opportunity to redraw the congressional district map, but when that time-lapsed the responsibility turned over to the commission.

The response also argues that the Ohio Redistricting Commission is not a party in the lawsuit since the original challenge was against a bill, SB258, and it was Gov. Mike DeWine named in the filing as the defendant.

The congressional district map creates 10 Republican districts, three Democratic districts, and two competitive districts that lean in favor of Democratic candidates.

Ohio is losing one congressional seat next year due to the 2020 U.S. Census.

Opponents say the map still unduly favors Republicans in Ohio by creating a GOP advantage in 66% of the districts in a state that's about 54% Republican.

A previous congressional district map was passed by the Legislature in November 2021. That map, which was invalidated by the court in January, created 12 seats that heavily favored or leaned in favor of Republicans.
Copyright 2022 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.