New map faces first court challenge
It may not wind up as the leading legal challenge to the state’s new congressional map, but a Western Maryland resident who followed the redistricting process closely appears to have the prize for filing the first complaint.
Howard Gorrell, a Washington County resident who attended every redistricting hearing this year and frequently testified against “gerrymandering,” sued Gov. Martin O’Malley in U.S. District Court on Thursday, alleging that the new congressional map approved by the General Assembly last week is unconstitutional.
In a 16-page complaint, Gorrell argues in part that the plan illegally splits like communities – particularly agricultural regions of the state.
O’Malley signed the new map into law last Thursday, creating an opportunity for Maryland Democrats to win a seventh seat in Congress from the 6th District. Gorrell lives in the newly drawn 6th District, which is now held by Republican Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett.
Despite criticism from Republicans and some Democrats who said they were concerned the proposal dilutes minority voting power, the legislation passed in Annapolis with relative ease.
The Fannie Lou Hamer PAC, a Prince George’s County political group, has also threatened to sue.