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Consultants and mediators hired to help mapmakers play nice

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In this week's episode of Snollygoster, Ohio's politics podcast from WOSU, hosts Mike Thompson and Steve Brown discuss the odds that the Ohio Redistricting Commission— with some outside help—can finally come up with a state district map that the Ohio Supreme Court will approve.

Babysitters Club

The Ohio Redistricting Commission is attempting to be more transparent and bipartisan.

The commission has hired two outside consultants: University of Florida Professor Michael McDonald and National Demographics Corporation President Douglas Johnson.

They’ll work with other members to draw districts that can hopefully, after all this time, finally get approval from the Ohio Supreme Court.

The court rejected the commission’s first three maps as being illegally gerrymandered to favor Republicans.

Now, they have some new rules. All of the mapmaking will be done on publically viewable computer screens with no materials taken off-site. Racial data cannot be used by the map makers, and mediators will be used if there’s not a consensus among commission members.

Mapmakers have until Monday, March 28.

Follow the money

In the FirstEnergy bribery scandal, we’ve heard a lot of lawmaker names thrown around but not that many private sector employee names.

But attorneys representing FirstEnergy investors now say former CEO Chuck Jones and senior vice president Michael Dowling were responsible for the company’s role.

Prosecutors say a dark money group called Generation Now funneled some $60 million to former House Speaker Larry Householder and his associates for their efforts to pass the nuclear bailout law, which would have sent FirstEnergy more than a billion dollars in ratepayer subsidies to help prop up nuclear and coal-fired power plants. Those subsidies have since been repealed.

Lots of people suspected Jones and Dowling, but we got a little bit of closure this week when attorneys for FirstEnergy investors pointed the finger at them.

Snollygoster of the week

Senate candidates Mike Gibbons and Josh Mandel apparently think they’re in an old John Wayne movie. Or at least that’s the shtick they’re using to try to impress voters.

They went toe to toe in the lamest possible way last week when they acted like they might come to blows after Gibbons said Mandel had never worked in the private sector.

Anyone watching knew these two were never going to actually fight. They’re playing a part, trying to out-conservative each other. It’s dumb but it got a lot of attention.

Send questions and comments to snollygoster@wosu.org.