Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) and Democratic lawmakers are secretly negotiating two final options for congressional redistricting that could unseat one, and possibly both, of the state’s Republican congressmen, according to a Democratic Party official with knowledge of the behind-the-scenes talks.
Maps of the two options, obtained by The Washington Post, show that in either scenario, O’Malley intends to redraw the state’s 6th Congressional District to enable a Democrat to successfully challenge 10-term GOP Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett. O’Malley would accomplish that by driving Bartlett’s current Western Maryland district deep into Montgomery County, thereby picking up liberal voters along the I-270 corridor, in Gaithersburg and parts of Rockville.
The second, and more radical option, would also give former Rep. Frank M. Kratovil Jr. (D) a fighting chance in a rematch with freshmen Republican Rep. Andy Harris on the Eastern Shore. It would bring the currently rural district all the way into the Washington metropolitan area, encompassing part of northern Prince George’s County, and doubling its percentage of African American voters.
Neither option would turn the Republican-held districts into a “slam dunk” for a Democratic contender, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak candidly about private negotiations. But under either scenario, the percentage of voters in Bartlett’s district who went for President Obama in 2008 would jump from 40.5 percent to at least 54.5 percent. In the more ostentatiously partisan option, the percentage in Harris’s district who voted for Obama would jump from 40.3 percent to 52.9 percent.
In any scenario, it appears that the revamp from the 2010 Census will force hundreds of thousands in Washington’s Maryland suburbs to get used to having a new representative in Congress.