Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) is reaching out to a powerful Democrat in Congress — Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland — for help with redistricting reform.
In a letter to the lawmaker on Tuesday, Hogan recounts his years-long push to get the General Assembly to “eliminate gerrymandering and restore fairness in our electoral system.”
The Democrats who control the legislature did not act on Hogan’s proposals in his first term, nor did they consider the map that his redistricting commission drew this year to comply with a 2018 federal court order, for use in the 2020 election,
“I ask that you also support our efforts here in Maryland to create a fair redistricting process, free of political influence,” Hogan wrote. “Our collaboration on this critical shared priority would be a national model of an alternative to the divisive partisan politics that are sadly all too typical in today’s polarized political climate. With your support, I believe we can set things right in Maryland and nationally.”
In response, Hoyer’s office notes that the congressman wrote to Hogan and to North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) in April, asking the pair to advocate for passage of H.R. 1, a measure to advance redistricting and other electoral reforms nationally.
“A national and bipartisan approach is the only realistic way to reform the redistricting process,” Hoyer wrote at the time. “I am asking that you help advocate for H.R. 1 … among your fellow governors and senators from both parties.”
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Benisek v. Lamone in March, and a decision is expected by the end of the court’s term in June. That case, filed by Republicans in Western Maryland, challenged the map that the General Assembly drew in 2011.
Plaintiffs argued that Maryland Democrats — in their quest to make the 6th Congressional District more favorable to them — interfered with their right of association.
Hogan ran for Congress against Hoyer in 1992 in what was then a newly drawn 5th congressional district. It was the closest reelection race Hoyer has ever had since winning his seat in 1981.