HUGHESVILLE -- Prince George's County voters told the governor's Redistricting Panel Tuesday night that Representative Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md.-5th, should be given a new district that includes Southern Maryland.
Last night Southern Maryland said thanks, but no thanks.
More than 100 residents and local political leaders -- almost all Republican -- came out to say that Mr. Hoyer can forget migrating south to find a safe seat.
"We do not consider ourselves to be a pawn in this process," said Mark Frazer, a former Calvert County commissioner and GOP congressional candidate.
"The district does not need to be fixed," he said.
There has been wide speculation that Democratic leaders mounting the once-a-decade redrawing of congressional lines will create a minority district in Prince George's County and then carve another district forMr. Hoyer.
The new district would presumably include portions of the county and the three Southern Maryland counties of Calvert, Charles and St. Mary's.
"We are not here to draw congressional districts that will enable incumbents to have a so-called 'safe' seat," said Maryland Republican Party Chairman Joyce Lyons Terhes, who also is a Calvert County commissioner.
Those comments were echoed by speaker after speaker who spoke of the three Southern Maryland counties sharing the same values and legislative interests as the Eastern Shore, the region they now are coupled with to make up the First District.
There were few dissenters among the crowd.
One, Jim DeSautels, a Charles County resident who said he volunteered for Mr. Hoyer in Prince George's County, said the region should welcome the Democratic congressman, who is fourth in the House hierarchy and a member of the Appropriations Committee. "I would like to see him come down," said Mr. DeSautels, who was greeted with grumbles from the crowd.
The response was similar to the response at the five-member commission's first meeting in Salisbury in June.