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Ohio House Approves Congressional District Map, Now Heads To Gov. DeWine

Sen. Rob McColley (R-Napoleon) presents a new Congressional district map, drawn by the Senate Republican Caucus.
Andy Chow
Ohio Public Radio
Sen. Rob McColley (R-Napoleon) presents a new Congressional district map, drawn by the Senate Republican Caucus.

Updated, November 19, 2021, 7:48 a.m.

It's now up to Gov. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) whether to sign off on a new Congressional district map that gives Republicans an advantage in 12 of Ohio's 15 districts for four years.

In that House vote, every Democrat and four Republicans voted against the plan.

Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) says the Republican-drawn Congressional map goes against the anti-gerrymandering reforms passed by voters three years ago.

"So let's be for real like that is not what people voted for on May of 2018. They deserve better. We need to do better. And we need to absolutely vote this mess down," said Howse on the House floor.

Rep. Kyle Koehler (R-Springfield) was one of four Republicans who did not vote for the maps.

"I hear constituents' views on both sides of so many issues. I can’t think of a time I have ever had all my constituents agree on one issue. They did not want Springfield carved out of Clark County. I voted 'no' splitting our county," Koehler said in a tweet on Thursday.

Rep. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) says Ohio is a "red state" -- electing Republicans in most of the statewide races for a decade. He says there are things that matter just as much as the partisan breakdown of a district, such as any given candidate.

"Fair, ladies and gentlemen, is in the eyes of the beholder. We have followed the Constitution. We have done our duty," said Seitz.

The map draws 15 Congressional districts in Ohio. Republican voters outnumber Democratic voters by more than 20% in five districts and by more than 10% in two districts. Another five districts, that fall within a 10% margin, lean in favor of Republicans. That's according to "Dave's Redistricting," a national tool to analyze new maps.

There are only two districts in the Congressional map approved by the Ohio Senate that heavily favor Democrats. Those districts are in Franklin County and Cuyahoga County.

Voter rights groups are now petitioning DeWine to veto the bill, which must be signed by the end of the month.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.