State House Republicans were able to pick off just enough Democratic votes to nab the two-thirds majority required to override the Nixon veto, and the state Senate, where Republicans hold more than two-thirds of the seats, is set to complete the override this afternoon.
(Update 4:45 p.m.: the state Senate has now voted to override the veto.)
The new map will, as expected, displace Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-Mo.), putting him into the same St. Louis-area district as Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-Mo.) in a matchup Carnahan isn’t likely to win. (Missouri is losing a congressional seat because it grew slower than the rest of the country.)
Rep. Todd Akin’s (R-Mo.) suburban St. Louis will pick up much of the rest of Carnahan’s territory, and Carnahan could run for that seat, which is expected to be open with Akin likely to run for Senate. But the district will lean toward Republicans.
There has been some speculation that Carnahan could run statewide instead, perhaps for lieutenant governor, but he has not indicated any such plans publicly.
Because of the elimination of Carnahan’s Democratic-leaning district, Republicans were not able to do much to shore up their members of the delegation. They currently hold six of nine congressional districts and aim to hold six of eight after the 2012 election.
Holding Akin’s district could be the most difficult, given the demographic trends in the area and the new territory it is taking on.
Those close to the process say Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) was instrumental in securing Democratic support in the state House for the map.
Republicans control 105 seats in the state House and needed 109 votes to override the veto. They had three Democratic votes when the bill initially passed and needed to get one more.
The vote wound up being state Rep. Jonas Hughes (D), who was reportedly in tears after the vote and said he voted to override the veto “because my congressman asked me to.” Hughes represents part of Cleaver’s district.
Sources say Cleaver liked his district as it was drawn and didn’t want the map to go to the courts.
State Rep. John Diehl (R-Mo.), who headed the redistricting efforts for House Republicans, said the GOP deserves credit for including Democrats in the process.
“Despite conventional wisdom, we did include many Democrats in our process of drawing the map,” Diehl said. “At the end of that day, I think that paid off, knowing they were treated in a fair manner.”
Even Clay suggested he was OK with the proposal, emphasizing that he felt confident he could beat Carnahan in a one-on-one matchup.
Carnahan has yet to weigh in on the proposal.