Ohio’s newly passed Congressional map is both constitutional and competitive. It brings significant positive changes to Ohio’s downsized congressional districts, in the spirt of reform passed overwhelmingly by the voters in 2018.
This map is historic.
Only 12 of Ohio’s 88 counties were split. Only 14 political subdivisions-townships and cities-were split. Columbus, which is the state’s most populous city, exceeded the 786,630 person limit for a single congressional district and had to be split. Still, Franklin County was contained within just 2 congressional districts.
The remaining 7 big cities, Toledo, Cleveland, Akron, Canton, Youngstown, Cincinnati and Dayton were all kept whole, and represented within single congressional districts.
These changes were made based on constructive input from Ohioans who testified or submitted written testimony during hearings held on the bill, as well as from community leaders and organizations concerned about compactness and keeping communities whole.
Is this a competitive map? You bet.
There are seven districts that are basically heads up races, here’s why:
We considered the last ten years of federal election results. That’s the results of Ohio’s presidential and U.S. Senate races, and then compiled how each of the districts voted. Ohio has voted for a Republican or Democrat in the past four presidential elections and continues to be represented by a Republican and Democrat in the U.S. Senate. This yielded a competitive score ranging from 46%-to-54%. Under the new map, there are 7 districts that fall within that index.
Ok, so what does that really mean?
It means candidates matter. Especially in today’s often polarized national political environment, what they campaign on, what they say or do, matters. Special interest groups and Washington D.C. lobbyists call this map gerrymandered for republicans. This is politically dishonest, and simply an attempt by them to gerrymander predetermined outcomes with an uncompetitive map that has extremely lopsided indexes for democrats and republicans.
Here is what this map holds; outside of the 7 competitive districts, there are 6 republican districts and 2 democrat districts, meaning the minority party has a heads up shot at flipping the state’s representation in Congress.
In the state senate, 6 republican senators won their races in democrat leaning districts. Are democrats and special interests really suggesting to democrat voters that their candidates can’t win unless they run in a majority democrat district to begin with? That doesn’t help recruit quality candidates.
Why are there republican and democrat leaning districts to begin with? That’s not gerrymandering, it’s simply geography. People living in rural Ohio tend to vote republican, and in the metro areas, they vote democrat.
It’s unfortunate our colleagues on the other side of the aisle were pressured by Washington, D.C. special interests not to recognize the competitiveness of this map. Those groups will fundraise millions of dollars by making outrageous dishonest accusations about it.
Others will point to outside so-called non-partisan websites that claim to offer independent analysis. It doesn’t take much effort to review who supports those on-line organizations.