Congress redistribution set to separate Mahoning from Trumbull | News, Sports, Jobs
When new lines are drawn for congressional districts, Mahoning and Trumbull counties will almost certainly be separated from each other, political experts say.
It is very likely that Trumbull County will be moved to a district with counties to the north and west of it to be represented by Republican Dave Joyce, and quite likely that all or most of the county de Mahoning will join Columbiana and the counties south of it to be represented by Republican. Bill Johnson.
Mahoning and Trumbull have been in the same congressional district for decades and have long been represented by a resident of one of the counties.
This has been the case even though the lines were redesigned in 2012 to make Summit the largest county in the 13th Congressional District. U.S. Representative Tim Ryan, D-Howland, who was first elected to the 17th Congressional District Seat in the 2002 election in which Trumbull was the most populous county in the district, continues to occupy the seat although the lines were redesigned in 2012 to reduce the share of Trumbull and increase the amount of Summit it contains.
Ryan, however, is running next year for the open seat of the United States Senate. He said the redistribution had little to do with his decision.
“The Republicans, who will have their say in this redistribution, will want to separate Mahoning from Trumbull”, said Kyle Kondik, a US House analyst who is editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, a political website that predicts federal election results. “You won’t see Ohio 13 anymore. Takeout is very likely Youngstown and Warren will be represented by Republicans in 2023.”
“I don’t see any way to bring Mahoning and Trumbull together,” added Paul Sracic, professor of political science at Youngstown State University. “Although they are not solid blue counties like they used to be, they are still democratic.”
A likely district that Joyce, R-Bainbridge, would represent could include Trumbull, Geauga, Lake, Ashtabula and Portage counties, Kondik said. In this scenario, Trumbull would be the second most populous county behind Lake.
“Ten years ago Joyce wouldn’t have wanted this district, but now Trumbull and Mahoning have gone from strong Democratic counties to vibrant counties,” says Kondik, who grew up in suburban Cleveland. “Their days as solid blue counties are over.”
There is an external chance that Mahoning County will be split into two parts with a southern part that Johnson represents by staying with him and moving the more democratic communities – Youngstown and those around him – to a district that would include Portage. and all or most of Summit County, especially Akron, which could be won by a Democrat, according to a Republican official who studied the maps.
The Republican, who requested anonymity to openly discuss the redistribution process, said there had been pressure for Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana to be part of a district with a surrounding county or two for potential run by Senator Michael Rulli, R- Salem. But that would not only hurt Joyce and other incumbent Republicans, but would be way too competitive, the Republican said.
Johnson, R-Marietta, said: “I would have no problem representing all of Mahoning County. I lived there when I was elected in 2010. I have a lot of friends there and I do a lot of electoral work there because I now represent a large part of Mahoning County.
If Mahoning is kept whole, it would likely be the most populous county in its district. But Johnson’s district is one of the redder in the country, so he could afford to take all or part of Mahoning and continue to operate safely, Kondik said.
“He might not be afraid to have Youngstown and Mahoning County,” Kondik said.
WHY THIS HAPPENS
After each decennial census, states are required to redraw congressional district lines.
With Republicans firmly in control ten years ago, they created 12 Republican Districts and four Democratic Districts. Some counties have been divided into four different congressional districts. Not a single district has changed party affiliation from these redrawn lines in the 2012 election until today.
But things are different.
First, the new redistribution rules, approved by voters in 2018, require bipartisan membership in a new map with at least 50% support from lawmakers in Democratic and Republican states.
There are ways around this, however. If this percentage cannot be reached, it is turned over to a seven-member commission made up of five Republicans and two Democrats. The two Democrats on the commission are expected to accept this card. If a Legislative Assembly or commission card is accepted, that would be a good 10-year period.
If this fails, the Republican-controlled legislature can approve a simple majority card that would only be good for the legislative elections of 2022 and 2024. Then the process begins again.
But the Ohio Supreme Court has jurisdiction over challenges.
“Anyway, we will end up in court on this matter”, Sracic said.
Additionally, because the state’s population hasn’t grown as fast as the rest of the country, Ohio has again lost a congressional district and will be down to 15 for next year’s election. Thus, each district will have to increase its population.
“There is no doubt that the districts will have to grow in terms of population”, Johnson said. “Where they find this population is an idea for everyone. Is (my district) moving north; moving south? I don’t have much control over it.
The new wording of the constitutional amendment also prohibits the splitting up of all cities in the state except Columbus because of its population. Of the state’s 88 counties, 65 of them must remain whole, 18 counties can be divided once, and five counties can be divided twice.
Dividing Democratic-controlled towns and counties was a common tactic for Republicans in the previous two redistribution efforts.
Another problem is the timing.
The US Census Bureau was supposed to provide populations to communities and counties in Ohio by March 31, but said it was unable to do so due to delays caused by the COVID pandemic -19.
This data will be provided by August 16 at the latest. This does not leave much time for the Legislature, as it is constitutionally required to have new congressional cards by September 30. This will precipitate the process.
The commission must draw a new map by October 31 if the Legislative Assembly cannot reach an agreement by September 30.
This new policy is supposed to make districts more competitive than the 12 to 4 majority Republicans over the past decade.
But Kondik and Sracic said the proposed cards would likely be 12 to 3 or 11 to 4 in favor of the Republicans.
Republicans will certainly attract Democratic districts to Columbus and Cleveland, as they did a decade ago, with likely one in Cincinnati, both said.
“Republicans will probably do whatever they want, and we’ll end up with a four-year card,” Sracic said.
A fair card would be 9 to 6 or 10 to 5 Republican, Kondik said, but that won’t happen.
There could be a few districts, like one centered on Akron and the other on Toledo, that can be competitive for Democrats, Kondik said.
The Republican source said he expects the card to be drawn 11-4 in favor of the Republicans, with an outside chance that one will stretch from Akron to Youngstown in the fourth Democratic district.