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Michigan redistricting commission approves US House map

Michigan State Capitol building
Michigan State Capitol building(Sara Schulz, WILX | Sara Schulz, WILX)
Published: Dec. 28, 2021 at 4:17 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan’s new redistricting commission approved a U.S. House map Tuesday, one that is fairer to Democrats than when the process was controlled by the Republican-led Legislature for two decades.

In a landmark vote, eight of 13 members of the panel created by a voter-approved constitutional amendment voted for the 13-district plan known as “Chestnut.” The state is losing a seat following the 2020 census.

There could be 7-6 splits in favor of either party if it is competitive statewide.

Under the current congressional map, Republicans would win an extra 11.9% of seats in a hypothetical tied election. Their edge drops to 4.3% under the new plan based on an analysis of 2016, 2018 and 2020 election data, according to PlanScore, a project of the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center.

The map may face a legal challenge from Black Democrats because the state would no longer have two majority-minority seats in and around Detroit. The commission’s attorneys say the federal Voting Rights Act requires that African American voters have an opportunity to elect their candidates of choice, not that there be districts where Blacks comprise more than 50% of the voting-age population. They account for about 44% of the population in both new seats.

Jonathan Kinloch, chair of the 13th Congressional District Democratic Party Organization, issued a statement before the vote calling the proposed U.S. House maps up for consideration a “serious step backward, limiting the voice of African Americans and that is unacceptable.”

The final vote led incumbent House members to announce their plans.

Second-term Democratic Reps. Haley Stevens and Andy Levin will run for the 11th District in Oakland County.

Fifth-term Democratic Rep. Dan Kildee of Flint will run for the 8th District in the Flint and Saginaw areas, which resembles his current seat. Second-term Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin will run for the 7th District in the Lansing area, which includes part of her current district.

Democratic state Rep. Shri Thanedar, a former gubernatorial candidate, said he will spend at least $5 million of his money to run for the 13th District, which includes much of Detroit. It is currently represented by second-term Rep. Rashida Tlaib.

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