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As Long as We Remember...

September 29, 2011

A Pawn in Redistricting

Blaine R. Young

If you live in the State of Maryland there are two words that should always make you cringe: Special Session.


As the General Assembly heads into a Special Session on October 17 called for the purpose of congressional redistricting, all sorts of rumors are swirling around what may or may not happen. The Democrats are on record as saying they want Maryland’s congressional delegation to be even more “blue.” That’s right, even though the Democrats in Washington outnumber Republicans 6-2, 8-2 if you count the Senate.


At one time, not too long ago, the split in our congressional districts by party was 4-4. It peaked two years ago with the Barack Obama landslide at 7-1 in favor of the Democrats, the swing district being District 1 where Frank Kratovil defeated Andy Harris. It didn’t take long for the 1st District voters, who live mostly on the conservative Eastern Shore, to correct this anomaly and replace Mr. Kratovil with Dr. Harris in 2010.


So, now, the Democrats in Annapolis have to decide whom to target to put at least one more Democrat in Washington. Do they go back to District 1 where they had recent success, or do they target our own Roscoe Bartlett here in District 6.


I may be in the minority, but I think they are going after us. I think they will target the 6th District by adding pockets of Montgomery County and try to make it a Democrat majority district. I hope I am wrong, because such a district would not really reflect the views of those of us here in Frederick County or our neighbors both east and west. However I think such a move could backfire on the Democrats.


Supposedly the push behind the idea to go after the 6th District is to set up a race between State Sen. Rob Garagiola and Congressman Bartlett. Senator Garagiola would be a tough sell in the current 6th District, even for many Democrats. His positions in support of gay marriage, increasing the gas tax, and his less-than-enthusiastic support of Second Amendment rights would cause many conservative Democrats in this area to think twice before voting for him. Just because a district is a Democrat majority district does not mean that it will vote for any Democrat the powers that be tries to shove down their throats.


Another way they may target Congressman Bartlett here in the 6th District is to gerrymander the districts to put both Congressmen Roscoe Bartlett and Andy Harris in the same district. That’s right, combine portions of the 1st and 6th Districts, which two districts are now as far apart geographically as any two districts in the State of Maryland. One plan even has Garrett County and Ocean City in the same congressional district.


Don’t laugh; there is no limit to what the Democrats will do to get just one more liberal in Washington.


So, keep your eyes open and be prepared to let the people in Annapolis know that you are watching and that you don’t appreciate being pawns in their little chess game.


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