Maryland redistricting fight officially over

Maryland’s redistricting battles are over. Really. Finally. Over.

The state’s high court on Friday upheld a new blueprint for state lawmakers’ districts, the lesser known of two maps that critics challenged unsuccessfully this year in court and at the ballot-box as gerrymandered.

Voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly endorsed the state’s congressional map, which carved up surging minority populations in the Washington suburbs to help Democrats unseat Rep. Roscoe P. Bartlett, the state’s senior Republican

On Friday, Maryland’s Court of Appeals ruled against several challenges to the map rewriting state lawmakers’ districts – including one lodged by Democratic lawmakers who saw their districts changed significantly.

In that case, Sen. James Brochin, a Baltimore County Democrat, argued the new map crafted by Gov. Martin O’Malley’s (D), went too far in protecting representation for the city of Baltimore.


Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley speaks at a news conference before the opening of a special session on congressional redistricting in Annapolis, Md., Monday, Oct. 17, 2011. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) (Patrick Semansky/PATRICK SEMANSKY)

The continued population decline in the city, which O’Malley led as mayor, could have reduced the city’s number of senators by one. But O’Malley’s redistricting commission found a way to maintain six seats connected to the city by funneling one district far to the west in Baltimore County.

Sen. Delores G. Kelley (D-Baltimore County) lost a significant share of her district’s minority population. Brochin’s district was extended all the way to the Pennsylvania border.

The court issued a short order, upholding the map. It said a full opinion would follow.

Under the state’s legislative map, several districts around the Washington area would change too.

African Americans will become a majority in two Prince George’s County state Senate districts now held by white lawmakers. A combination of Hispanics, Asians and blacks would also make up 50 percent or more of two Montgomery County districts now represented by white state senators.

Statewide, the number of African American majority districts will increase from 10 to 12, and majority minority districts would double from two to four. The House of Delegates would also gain the first single-member majority Hispanic district along the border of Montgomery and Prince George’s.

Aaron Davis covers D.C. government and politics for The Post and wants to hear your story about how D.C. works — or how it doesn’t.
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