Brochin weighs redistricting lawsuit

Sen. Jim Brochin, the self-described "odd man out" in Gov. Martin O"Malley's legislative redistricting plan, said he's considering a court challenge to the plan if it is not changed.

"I'm leaving every option open," said the Baltimore County Democrat, whose new district includes a vast swath of Republican-dominated rural areas extending to the Pennsylvania state line.

Brochin contends he was squeezed out by the efforts of O'Malley and legislative leaders to preserve some of the voting strength of Baltimore city, which lost populartion since the last census. Under the governor's map, Baltimore, which now has six full senatorial districts, would share one Senate district with the county.

That district, now represented by city dweller Sen. Verna Jones-Rodwell, would be roughly split two-thirds in the county and one-third in the city. Extending her district into the county has affected the district lines of other county senators, including Democrats Delores Kelley and Robert Zirkin, but none has been as disadvantaged as Brochin.

Brochin said he hasn't hired an attorney but has sought advice on whether the new map violates the guidelines set down by the Court of Appeals after the last redistricting, when it threw out Gov. Parris N. Glendening's map and drew its own. Glendening's map, however, included several crossings of the city-county line, while O'Malley's map has only the one.

Even that, Brochin said, "contorts" the map of Baltimore County.

"Baltimore City loses population, they should lose representation," he said. "It's not fair  because it's one standard for the city and another for every other jurisdiction."

The governor's map takes effect automatically if the General  Assembly doesn't substitute it own map within 45 days of the start of the legislative session.





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