A Republican state delegate from Washington County, Md., is considering a run in 2020 for the state’s yet-to-be-redrawn 6th Congressional District.
Del. Neil C. Parrott said Friday he is forming an exploratory committee as he weighs the decision.
Parrott is the first person to announce a possible run for the seat since federal judges threw out the current map on Wednesday and ordered political leaders to redraw it for the 2020 elections.
The ruling was the result of a lawsuit that says the 6th District was unconstitutionally gerrymandered at the expense of Republicans following the 2010 Census. The seat is currently held by Rep. John Delaney, a Democrat who defeated Republican incumbent Rep. Roscoe Bartlett in 2012, after redistricting moved a large swath of Democrats into the district.
Delaney is leaving Congress at the end of the year. On Tuesday, Democrat David Trone defeated Republican Amie Hoeber by a wide margin to fill the seat. Although most of the district lies in Western Maryland, Trone, Hoeber and Delaney all live in Montgomery County.
Parrott said with the court’s ruling and Republicans losing control of the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday, he “felt now is the time to form the committee.”
“We’ve had Delaney, and now David Trone; they both live in Potomac,” Parrott said. “Many people have said they don’t have representation at all in Congress for rural Maryland.”
Parrott, who has served in the state legislature since 2010, is a tea party leader from Hagerstown known for forcing statewide votes on several pieces of landmark legislation in recent years.
In his freshman year in the General Assembly, he developed a website to collect the signatures that are required to petition laws to the ballot, a process that means legislation that has been passed does not take effect unless it is also approved by a popular vote.
Parrot led efforts to place on the ballot legislation allowing same-sex marriage and the Dream Act, which allows undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition. Both were subsequently approved.
A 2014 campaign to force a public vote on legislation to extend anti-discrimination protections to transgender people did not succeed in collecting enough signatures.
The lawsuit challenging Maryland’s congressional map was filed by seven Republicans who lived in the 6th District before the boundaries were reset.
The Democratic officials who oversaw the redistricting said they were only making the district more competitive. The court disagreed, finding the map was drawn to dilute the influence of Republican voters.
The ruling applies to the entire Maryland congressional map as drawn in 2011, but the challengers have proposed a modification at the border between the 6th and 8th districts that could address the court’s concerns without affecting the shape of the other districts.
A spokeswoman for Trone said the newly elected Democrat is reviewing the court’s decision.
“He has always been a strong supporter of national redistricting reform,” Hannah Muldavin said.
Maryland leaders have until March to redraw the district.