Top Republican lawmakers leave Ohio mapmaking panel


By ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS - Associated Press



COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s political mapmaking panel met again Wednesday ahead of a court-ordered Friday deadline to fix a fourth set of invalidated legislative maps.

The GOP-controlled commission convened without state Senate President Matt Huffman, who stepped down Tuesday, and House Speaker Bob Cupp, who stepped down Wednesday. Both are Republicans.

Huffman said his successor, GOP state Sen. Rob McColley, offers a “fresh approach and a new opportunity to produce a result that clearly the majority of the court was not willing to consider with the speaker and myself serving as members.” Cupp named GOP House Rep. Jeff LeRe as his replacement.

A three-judge federal panel has indicated in a separate federal lawsuit that they plan to impose the commission’s third set of Ohio House and Senate district maps on May 28 if no alternative is passed by then — and order it used in an Aug. 2 primary.

The state Supreme Court has said that set of maps — like the first, second and fourth — are an unconstitutional gerrymander unduly favoring Republicans.

Democrats in Ohio took the unusual step last week of calling their own political mapmaking hearing of sorts, inviting public testimonials and streaming the proceeding on Facebook.

By ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS

Associated Press