Kansas Republicans overturned the Democratic governor’s veto and signed into law a new congressional map that dims the 2022 re-election prospects of the state’s only Democrat in Congress.
Republicans barely mustered the required numbers of 84 in the House and 27 in the Senate to override Governor Laura Kelly, who vetoed the map on Feb. 3. The votes were 85-37 at the State House on Wednesday and 27-11 in the state. Senate on February 8.
Kelly said the redistricting changes divide communities of interest and dilute the voting strength of racial and ethnic minorities.
“Let me be clear. If Kansas passes this illegal map, they will be prosecuted,” Democratic election attorney Marc Elias tweeted Jan. 28.
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Kelly and Democratic lawmakers objected to how the map moved most of Wyandotte County, a heavily Democratic and minority-majority area in and around Kansas City, out of the 3rd District held by two-term Democrats. . Sharice Davids.
In the 3rd arrondissement, the new configuration has reduced President Joe Biden’s margin of electoral victory in 2020 to 4 percentage points from 11 points.
Republican Mappers noted that Davids would have won in 2020 under the new lines and said Wyandotte County was split because he and suburban Johnson County were too crowded to be fully included in one district.
They divided Wyandotte, placing the district line along Interstate 70, which bisects the county horizontally. Republicans added rural and Republican-friendly counties south of metropolitan Kansas City to the 3rd District.
Davids faces a likely rematch with Republican Amanda Adkins, who lost her 2020 game by 10 points.
The party that controls the White House frequently loses seats in midterm elections, so tweaking this district to become only mildly pro-Biden could make a turnover more likely, or at the very least force Democrats to work harder. hard to avoid losing ground.
Most Wyandotte residents have been integrated into the 2nd District, which includes the state capital of Topeka and is represented by a one-term Republican. Jake LaTurner.
To protect LaTurner, Republicans moved the city of Lawrence, a liberal stronghold that includes the University of Kansas, from the 2nd to the 1st district – a mostly rural 60-county district that encompasses most of the state’s land area, including Dodge City over 300 miles west of Lawrence. One-term Republican Tracey Mann represents this district, often referred to as the “Big First”.
Rep. Republican. Ron Estes would continue to be favored for re-election in the Wichita-anchored 4th District.
Kansas Republicans have supermajorities in the legislature, but have worked to secure enough votes in their ranks to defeat the governor’s opposition. The Senate’s first waiver attempt on Feb. 7 failed by two votes. It was only after Republican leaders convinced two of their members to switch positions that the chamber overruled Kelly on its second attempt.
Democrats noted that one of the two Republicans switching votes, Mark Steffen, did so hours after a Senate committee advanced the vaccine and the Covid-19 measures he sponsored. Steffen, a doctor from Hutchinson in the majority Republican 1st District, slammed an “insidious redistricting” that added “Lawrence Liberals” to the 1st even as he voted to override Feb. 8.
“We see what happens when you have 24 hours and you can make behind-the-scenes deals to get your way,” Kansas Senate Minority Leader Dinah Sykes (D) said just before the meeting. announcement of the final vote count.
Senate Speaker Ty Masterson, the main sponsor of the Republican map, said the “extreme rhetoric” of some Democrats was “off limits” and that “throwing accusations that attack the motives of your colleagues based on your personal interpretation of political boundaries is truly beyond the pale.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Greg Giroux in washington at [email protected]