Ohio GOP pushes through heavily Republican redistricted map
Amid requests for corruption investigations and allegations of Republican fraud, Ohio Democrats decided to cave to the GOP earlier than expected in a vote Wednesday night, accepting a heavily Republican congressional reapportionment map, in part to avoid an expensive two-date primary in March. The second primary would have cost taxpayers $15 million, one of the main reasons Democrats offered for giving up the fight.
But that $15 million may have also cost the state its swing-state soul.
Of the 16 districts created, 12 are Republican and only four Democratic. In the last few days, revelations about the redistricting process, including taxpayer-funded hotel strategy rooms and pony-show public hearings caused an outcry against the process, seemingly lending momentum to the Democrats, who had already mounted a petition to place the first reapportionment bill, House Bill 319, before a public vote through referendum next year.
Redistricting watchdog group Ohio Campaign for Accountable Redistricting brought these revelations to the public’s attention via a report detailing alleged misconduct of senior Republicans, prompting one Democratic lawmaker, Rep. Dennis E. Murray (Sandusky), to request an investigation into the process by the state’s legislative and inspector generals.
Despite the corruption allegations, a vote on the redistricting bill was not postponed, and Ohio will be able to seat Congress in 2012.
The state’s primary is scheduled for March 2012.
Photo of the Ohio state House (Flirkr/OZinOH)