Senator Tom SawyerToday, Senator Sawyer introduced SB 225 as an alternative to the one speedily past by the Republican majority in the House (HB 319).  The map was actually an entry by a Republican Illinois state lawmaker with apparently a love of political cartography and a massive amount of free time on his hands.  His was one of the top entries in the redistricting contest sponsored by the League of Women Voters (who, I’m told, is nothing like the Justice League) and other civic minded groups.

Here’s what the map under SB 225 would look like:


Sorry, it got cut off a little in the press release I received.

“The map drawn by Republicans (HB 319) represents a new extreme in gerrymandering for the state of Ohio,” said Senator Sawyer. “My legislation illustrates how it is possible to draw a fairer map that uses the same data and follows the law.”

The map contained in Senator Sawyer’s legislation was drawn by Republican State Representative Mike Fortner of Illinois. The map maintains communities of interest, promotes competitiveness and complies with the Voting Rights Act. It also does the following:

  • Keeps 79 of Ohio’s 88 counties in single congressional districts.
  • Creates competitive races in 11 of 16 congressional districts, compared to just two in the Republican plan.
  • Gives Cuyahoga, Franklin and Hamilton counties entire districts within their boundaries.

Senator Sawyer is not endorsing Mr. Fortner’s plan specifically, but rather the more balanced approach it represents. This approach, based on public input, promotes fairness and inclusion instead of the narrow self interest of one political party.

“Mr. Fortner’s map may not be perfect, but its light years head of House Bill 319,” said Senator Sawyer. “I hope my legislation will lead to a thorough conversation about the supercharged partisanship that has over taken our current redistricting process.”

This map would appear to pit: Congressman Dennis Kucinich against Jim Renacci, GOP freshmen Gibbs and Johnson, and Boehner against Turner.  Presumably, Marcy Kaptur would run in the 9th district if this map had more than a gasoline snowball’s chance in hell in actually ever being law.  And Tim Ryan would probably jump to the 16th district which would appear to have no incumbent residing in it and looks to be very Democratic.  Sutton’s district would be spared as opposed to eliminated as under the Republican plan.

According to the Dispatch, the GOP map fragments more than 60 out of Ohio’s 88 counties as opposed to this map which splits only 21.  This map seems to comply with the general concepts of redistricting: compact districts, continuous, avoiding splitting communities, etc.  It also would radically increase the number of competitive districts in Ohio from the two competitive districts identified in the Republican’s map to eleven in this map.

Again, nobody expects the Senate GOP to even give Sawyer’s bill a vote, but its a far more superior map if you think redistricting should be guided by letting the people chose their politicians as opposed to the other way around.

So, if anyone asks whether the Democrats had an alternative map to what the Republicans offered, you’ve got this map by Senator Sawyer… and even it was drafted by a Republican.  Imagine if Congressional elections were ones in which the parties had to worry about their nominees electability in the general election as opposed to the partisan primaries.