Why Connie Morella lost in 2002: Redistricting, not rage at the GOP

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I agree with columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. ["Who's 'us' to the GOP?," op-ed, Oct. 21] that the Republican Party is getting smaller, and I wholeheartedly agree that it is the GOP's own fault. But Mr. Dionne asserted that former representative Connie Morella (R-Md.) was "thrown out of office" because she came to be seen as an enabler of right-wing Republicans. Actually, Mrs. Morella was the victim of that old bipartisan tradition of gerrymandering.

Since I first voted in 1976, I have lived in Mrs. Morella's 8th Congressional District. Even though Mrs. Morella was a Republican, she consistently and handily won elections in this heavily Democratic district because of her liberal voting record and outstanding constituent service.

However, in time for the 2002 election, the Democrat-controlled state legislature and Democratic governor redrew her district. Although she did carry the precincts of her original district in 2002, the newly added residents gave her opponent, Chris Van Hollen, enough votes to win the seat.

Bernie Mihm Jr., Dickerson, Md.

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