State Watch

Missouri legislators reach redistricting compromise

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The Missouri state Senate on Thursday reached a compromise on new congressional district map lines, ending a deep division among Republicans that created a monthlong impasse in one of the final states left to complete the decennial redistricting process.

A conservative faction of Republican state senators ultimately broke apart to support a compromise map that will maintain two Black-majority districts centered in the state’s largest cities, St. Louis and Kansas City.

The compromise is likely to maintain the partisan split in Missouri’s congressional delegation, which currently includes six Republicans and two Democrats.

The new maps will make substantial changes to a suburban St. Louis district held by Rep. Ann Wagner (R), who would add tens of thousands of new Republican constituents in rural counties stretching south of the city. Wagner’s seat had been seen as a pickup opportunity for Democrats as the St. Louis suburbs turn more competitive, but the new map will virtually ensure it remains in Republican hands for the next decade.

The maps consolidate a district held by Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D) in the Kansas City area. The St. Louis-based district held by Rep. Cori Bush (D) would remain largely unchanged.

The seven-member conservative caucus had wanted to carve up Cleaver’s district in a bid to create a map that would have elected seven Republicans and just one Democrat. They forced more than a month of delay and debate, filibustering a plan backed by Republican leaders that would have left Cleaver’s district alone.

A final effort by conservatives to pass a map drastically overhauling Cleaver’s seat died Thursday morning. The compromise passed with the votes of 22 of the 32 state senators, including 17 Republicans and five Democrats.

The bill now heads to the state House, where its passage appears likely though not assured.

The House has just days to act before Tuesday, when candidates must file papers to run for election ahead of the August primary. The House must also pass an emergency clause, approved Thursday by the state Senate, to allow the maps to take effect for the primary election.

If Missouri’s new maps pass the House and win approval from Gov. Mike Parson (R), it would leave just four states without new congressional district maps for next year. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) and New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) have vetoed maps passed by Republican-controlled legislatures. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has threatened to veto a map passed by his Republican-controlled legislature.

And in Ohio, the state Supreme Court has struck down several versions of congressional district map lines approved by both the legislature and a new redistricting commission also controlled by Republican officials.

Tags Ann Wagner Chris Sununu Cori Bush Gerrymandering Missouri Redistricting Ron DeSantis
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