Ohio redistricting battle heats up

Democrats are threatening to put Ohio Republicans' redistricting map to a statewide referendum, while Republicans are looking to establish an "unholy allliance" with African-American Democrats in the statehouse to get a supermajority vote and preserve their map.

The plan Ohio Republicans passed, which was designed with heavy input from House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), would likely give them control of 12 of the swing state's 16 House seats, force Reps. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) and Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) into a primary and make it hard for Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Ohio) to win reelection.

Democrats have howled in protest and are pushing to put the map up for a statewide referendum if Republicans don't come to the bargaining table to negotiate a new map. The Ohio Supreme Court ruled earlier this week that the issue could be put to a vote, and Democrats are demanding Republicans meet with them to work out a deal before the end of the week if they want to avoid a referendum.

But Republicans could stop this if they get a supermajority vote, and reached out to African-Americans in the State Legislature to get those votes. Three black Democrats voted for the original plan; in order to get a supermajority, they would need to woo seven.

According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus met behind closed doors to weigh Republicans' overtures while Republicans are now pushing through a law that would move the state's primaries back to buy them more time to work out a compromise with black legislators.

A poll conducted by the Democratic-affiliated Public Policy Polling showed that 40 percent of voters opposed the new map while only 26 percent supported it, meaning that if the map does face a referendum, Democrats stand a good chance to strike it down.

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