by Annie Linskey
2:43 PM EDT, October 11, 2012
A group opposing the new congressional map -- which will be on the ballot as question 5 -- has produced its first web-only video.
The 30-second spot put out by a group called Repeal the Gerrymander highlights the state's oddly shaped congressional districts and christens them "Merrymanders."
"What is a Merrymander?" a narrator asks while a Maryland flag and a picture of a salamander flashes on the screen. "The Merrymander is a particular species of district making that is indigenous to the state of Maryland."
Antonio Campbell, a Baltimore County Republican, heads a group trying to repeal the map and said he hopes to air the commercial on television. "It is a question of money," Campbell said in an email.
The map is one of four controversial issues that will be on November's ballot. It is, however, one of the least understood and has so far been mostly eclipsed by gambling expansion, the Dream Act and same-sex marriage.
Nevertheless, Maryland's congressional map has passion fire from two groups: Republicans and some African-Americans. The GOP is upset that it packs Democrats into Western Maryland, potentially changing the state's partisan balance in the House of Representatives. African-Americans wanted a third majority minority district, and were also disappointed.
A federal judge has ruled that the map meets constitutional requirements and the governor has said it is "fair."
But the districts to look odd, and the spot highlights some of its particularities. Anne Arundel and Baltimore Counties are split into four congressional districts, the ad notes. The serpentine third congressional district flashes on the screen.
Finally the ad says that minority communities in Montgomery and Prince George's counties are being "cracked" to bolster incumbent members of Congress.
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