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Judicial panel completes Statehouse redistricting maps

Judicial panel completes Statehouse redistricting maps


JEFFERSON CITY • New Missouri House and Senate district maps were released today, setting off a scramble to see who stands to benefit in the 2012 elections.

Shifting population means that some incumbents will be thrown together in districts. An initial review indicated that one casualty appears to be Republican Sen. Jane Cunningham of Chesterfield, whose 7th District was moved out of St. Louis County.

The maps, available on the state Office of Administration website, were drawn by a six-member panel of Court of Appeals judges. The state Supreme Court picked the judges to draw the maps after bipartisan commissions appointed by the governor failed to reach agreement.

The commission's chairman, Judge Lisa White Hardwick of Kansas City, said the group worked "collaboratively to draw maps that comply with the constitution, the Voting Rights Act, and other legal requirements."

The boundary lines must be redrawn every 10 years to make sure each legislative district has roughly the same number of people.

Hardwick said that under the commission's plan, there is an overall difference in population of 7.8 percent between the smallest and largest House districts; the difference is 7.46 percent for Senate districts.

Four of the new Senate districts have an African-American majority while 16 new House districts have an African-American majority. There are two additional House districts where other racial minorities combine with African-Americans to form a majority.

Doug Harpool, a Democrat who chaired the Senate Redistricting Commission, said it appeared that the commission used parts of various maps that were submitted and also came up with ideas of its own.

"Some places I see things that look like the Republican map; in some places I see things that look like the Democrats' map," he said.

Harpool said he was pleased that four minority districts were preserved in the Senate, which he said was necessary to comply with requirements of the Voting Rights Act.

He said the commission's Senate map also "did an admirable job of equalizing population."

Sen. John Lamping, R-Ladue, said he hadn't had time to figure out the implications yet.

"What district do I live in?" he asked.

One thing that was clear, Lamping said, was that the St. Louis region will lose one of its eight senators,

Cunningham could not immediately be reached for comment. Moving her 7th District out of St. Louis County means that when her term ends next year, she might have to run against another incumbent.

Lamping has some breathing room because he represents the 24th District. Even-numbered Senate districts are not up for election until 2014. Senators serve four-year terms.

"My main concern is for Jane, because Jane represents her district so well," Lamping said.


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Virginia Young is the Jefferson City bureau chief for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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