The proposal for new state legislative district lines that will be introduced in the Maryland General Assembly next week would mean big changes for legislators representing the Towson-based 42nd District.
Under the proposed plan introduced in December by Gov. Martin O'Malley's Redistricting Advisory Committee, the 42nd District would see its boundaries expand greatly into the northern area of the county, stretching from the city line at Towson into Hereford, Sparks and the Prettyboy Reservoir.
"I actually drove it a couple days ago. It took two hours," said State Sen. Brochin, a Democrat who currently represents the 42nd.
"It's two different districts," he said. "It's Towson and way, way up north."
The redistricting process is required every 10 years to reflect population changes according to the census — in this case the 2010 version.
The new boundary proposal will be introduced on the first day of the General Assembly session, which opens Jan. 11 in Annapolis. Legislators in the Senate and House can make changes to the proposed map, but if they can't agree, the map proposed by the redistricting panel becomes law after 45 days.
The new parts of redrawn 42nd District are considered heavily Republican, which could present a problem for Brochin, a Towson-based Democrat.
"It certainly makes it challenging, but I've gotten a lot of crossover votes in the past," Brochin said. "I'm going to spend the next three years introducing myself to those voters, and letting them know my fiscal record, which is to prioritize and spend wisely rather than raise taxes. It's a pretty simple strategy, but that's what I'm going to do."
In addition to being expanded north, the 42nd District would also be divided into subdistricts, District 42A and 42B, for the three House of Delegate seats that will come from the district. (See map.)
Subdistrict 42A would be represented by one delegate, and would be the part of district contained between Loch Raven Boulevard and Charles Street. State Del. Steve Lafferty, a Democrat, lives in the area incorporated in the 42A section.
The 42B section would have two delegates, and would be the part of the district extending from the Beltway deep into northern Baltimore County, touching Carroll and Harford county borders.
For GOP, musical chairs?
As drawn, the 42B subdistrict would include the residences of incumbent Dels. Bill Frank and Susan Aumann as well as the residences of Wade Kach, a delegate who currently represents the 5th District, and Joseph Boteler, a delegate in the 8th District.
All are Republicans, and all four would have to run against each other for the two seats in order to stay in office.
"We (Republicans) don't have too much influence on the redistricting map, to say the least," Frank said.
"I think the Democrats purposely put us in the same district together," he said. "That's my unmistakable conclusion. They know where we live and which precincts we vote in, so they did it deliberately, I'm sure."
Boteler, who lives in Carney, said the proposal is "very disappointing" in that it divides a community that is already represented by three County Council members and two congressmen for the purpose of consolidating political power.
"This is nothing but pure partisan politics, and that's not what redistricting was ever to be about," Boteler said.
"They basically went right around my street to take me out," he said. "If you walk one street over, you're in the 8th. If you walk across Joppa Road, which is nearby, you're in the 8th.
"This was done by design to force four well-know Republicans in a district … to compete for the seats available," he said.