COLUMBUS- If the Ohio General Assembly moves forward with one redistricting proposal introduced last week, Pike County would be divided into two congressional districts.
With this proposal, Pike County would be one of 14 counties split — its western end belonging to District 2 and its eastern end belonging to District 15.
Ohio Sen. Rob McColley, R-Napoleon, introduced the map devised by Ohio Senate GOP legislators.
“Our goal for this map was to draw districts that are compact, while also keeping Ohio’s largest cities whole,” he said during sponsor testimony on Nov. 3.
The dividing line in the county would cut through Pebble Township along Ohio 772, where 33 blocks would belong to District 2 and 58 blocks going to District 15.
The western parts of the county would again be represented by Rep. Brad Wenstrup, while District 15 recently elected Rep. Mike Carey as Steve Stivers’ replacement who left office to serve as president of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.
To the frustration of many that have testified in the four Ohio Senate Local Government and Elections Committee hearings, these districts appear to favor the Republicans.
According to Dave’s Redistricting App, six of the 15 congressional districts would lean Republican, two would lean Democrat, and the remaining seven would be defined as competitive- meaning the majority party would not have more than 55% of its voting population’s support.
Districts 2 and 15 would be competitive, but do lean towards the GOP. All of the competitive districts show majority backing of the GOP, meaning as many as 13 out of the state’s 15 districts could go to the Republicans.
While the state favored Republicans over the past decade, supporting former President Donald Trump with 52% support in 2020, opponents say this redistricting effort would be gerrymandering.
With this in mind, Collin Marozzi, American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio Deputy Policy Director, addressed the Senate committee last week to say his organization was an opponent to this legislation.
“Instead of crafting a congressional district map that accurately reflects the diverse political attitudes of Ohioans, SB 258 artificially inflates partisan control of Ohio’s congressional delegation to one political party at the expense of another,” he said in his testimony. “This is achieved by needlessly exploiting allowable splits that crack urban areas into districts that dilute their voting power. Districts 1,2,3,4, 5, 7, 9, 10, and 15 are examples of this tactic.”
Ohio Women’s Public Policy Network Managing Director Erin Ryan said the new districts need to be more fair and equitable to allow for the voices of women to be heard.
“With fair maps, we envision a diverse and equitable future where all communities are represented, where voters’ voices are heard, and where our communities’ best interests are at the heart of policymaking,” her testimony in-part reads. “This future is possible, but it will require the attention and commitment from this Committee to put Ohioans’ best interests first — and that means fair and accurate maps.”
Multiple maps have been introduced that would keep Pike County voters under one congressional district, including the Ohio House Republicans’ and the Ohio Senate Democrats’.
To view these maps, visit https://davesredistricting.org/maps#home.
Contact Patrick Keck at email@example.com or by phone at 740-947-2149, ext. 300431 and follow him on Twitter @pkeckreporter.