The redistricting effort in Maryland is expected to be closely watched, given that Maryland has been called “one of the most gerrymandered states in the nation” by Common Cause, and RepresentUs, an anti-gerrymandering advocacy group, rated Maryland’s potential for partisan gerrymandering this cycle “extreme” in a May report.
U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, the only Republican House member in the state, has accused Democrats of planning to write him off the maps and has been fundraising off the possibility.
Ferguson and Jones, who will be on the commission, also named the panel’s other members. They include Senate President Pro Tem Melony G. Griffith (D-Prince George’s), House Majority Leader Eric G. Luedtke (D-Montgomery), Senate Minority Leader Bryan W. Simonaire (R-Anne Arundel) and House Minority Leader Jason C. Buckel (R- Allegany).
Karl Aro, the former executive director of the state’s nonpartisan Department of Legislative Services, will serve as chairman of the commission. The presiding officers described Aro as a redistricting expert with 32 years of experience in the field.
An independent redistricting commission created by Gov. Larry Hogan (R) also has been holding town halls and plans to submit maps to the General Assembly — although the state legislature is not required to accept the independent commission’s maps and can draw its own.