Tuesday, January 29, 2002

Ohio politicians review how redistricting got done

By John McCarthy
The Associated Press

        COLUMBUS — Republicans who controlled the redrawing of Ohio's congressional districts were at odds at times not only with Democrats but with members of their own party.

        The new map, which reduces Ohio's delegation from 19 to 18, took effect last week upon Gov. Bob Taft's signature. The role of Mr. Taft, a Republican, was to keep the peace among the Democrats and Republicans in Congress. He has to work with both parties in Washington.

        Also in the mix was Ohio GOP Chairman Robert Bennett, whose job is to get as many Republicans elected as he can. He was concerned that Democrats had too much say in the remapping.

        Republican legislative leaders — including Senate President Richard Finan — had to try to accommodate the Republican members' desire to get more friendly districts.

        At the same time they had to appease minority Democrats who found themselves in a position of influence because the state wanted to hold the primary election as scheduled May 7.

        The Republicans blamed the delay in passing the redistricting plan on having to focus on balancing the budget. The Democrats said the GOP simply let time run out.

        “Largely because of ineptness and overreaching they had no choice in the end,” Democratic Congressman Sherrod Brown said.


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