Final Congressional Map Recommendations Shift Upcounty District Lines
Germantown would be in the 6th District, while Gaithersburg would be in the 8th
The new map of the 6th Congressional District includes all of Germantown, but places Gaithersburg in the 8th District
Maryland emergency redistricting committee
The nine-member nonpartisan redistricting commission redrawing Maryland’s Sixth Congressional District has released its final map and proposes shifting parts of northern Montgomery County into a different district.
In releasing its proposal Tuesday, the commission’s recommendation changes the boundaries of the 6th District to include all of Frederick County and part of Carroll County. The district now stretches from parts of upper Montgomery County all the way to Western Maryland, but Frederick County is split by the 6th and 8th districts.
The Montgomery portion of the 6th District includes only areas north and west of Germantown. Currently the district includes Gaithersburg and North Potomac, but those areas would be shifted into the more Democratic 8th District, which encompasses the rest of Montgomery and is represented by Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Democrat.
The new map “followed natural boundary divisions between Germantown to the north and Gaithersburg/Montgomery Village to the south, and not only avoided splitting any incorporated municipalities such as Laytonsville, Poolesville, Damascus or Gaithersburg, but even managed almost entirely to avoid splits of what are known as census designated communities,” the report stated.
Maryland was ordered to redraw the 6th District boundaries following a federal court ruling in November. The ruling stemmed from a lawsuit brought by Republican voters who alleged that they were disenfranchised by the current boundaries, because the 6th District includes too much of Democrat-heavy Montgomery County, and dilutes the voting power of the more conservative Western Maryland counties.
Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh then appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court, and Rep. David Trone, a Democrat who represents the 6th District, filed a friend-of-the-court brief that argued for a national solution to gerrymandering, but objected to the aspects of the federal court ruling in the Maryland case.
The court heard oral arguments last week and is expected to rule in June on whether the state must use the new map in 2020.
According to the report, the commission held five public hearings throughout the district, two of which were in Montgomery County, between Jan. 14 and March 20, and also allowed members of the public to draw their own maps using software online, and submit their proposals to the commission. The commission ultimately chose a map drawn by Stephen Wolf, of Oregon, due to its compactness and the fact that it kept communities together. Wolf’s map was one of 28 submissions made online.
Regardless of the Supreme Court’s decision this summer, Maryland must redraw all eight congressional districts in 2021 following the next census.
Dan Schere can be reached at Daniel.firstname.lastname@example.org