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Logjam breaks in Missouri Senate, new congressional map sent to House | Politics


JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri Senate on Thursday approved a congressional map that shores up a St. Louis-area congressional district for Republicans, emphatically putting an end to a debate that had dragged on for more than two months in the upper chamber.

The map fortifies Rep. Ann Wagner’s St. Louis County-based 2nd Congressional District, sending it as far south as Iron County in southeast Missouri.

A hard-line Republican said allies ended their filibuster because of changes made to a boundary in St. Charles County that divides it between the 2nd and 3rd districts.

The blueprint now moves back to the House, which could opt to send the map to Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, early next week. Candidate filing for the Aug. 2 primary ends Tuesday. But Rep. Dan Shaul, the chairman of the House Redistricting Committee, indicated the plan could face resistance.

“Of course, I want to get it done,” Shaul said. “But I think we have to get it done right.”

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Four of 10 Senate Democrats voted for the map. It preserves U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver’s safe Democratic 5th Congressional District in the Kansas City area. Hard-line Republicans had fought to gerrymander the district for the Republicans.

The St. Louis-based 1st Congressional District, held by Rep. Cori Bush, D-St. Louis, is changed from the House plan.

Among the alterations is moving precincts in the Maplewood-Shrewsbury area of St. Louis County from the 1st District under the House plan to the 2nd District under the Senate plan.

The 1st District is poised to take in more voters in the Webster Groves and Maryland Heights areas than under the map that has been in place for the last decade.

Jefferson County, south of St. Louis, would shift from the 3rd Congressional District under the House plan to the 8th Congressional District, which covers southeast Missouri and stretches as far west as the Branson area.

In a win for Sen. Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg, the new map keeps both Whiteman Air Force Base and Fort Leonard Wood in the 4th Congressional District, which could help the state keep its military bases if the federal government opts to reduce its military presence.

Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, said the map would result in Missouri sending six Republicans and two Democrats to the U.S. House for the “foreseeable future.”

Senate Majority Leader Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, said by midmorning Thursday the Senate reached a point where enough lawmakers were either willing to vote for the map or willing to stop filibustering a vote.

Rowden’s home of Boone County, under the plan, would be split between the 3rd and 4th districts. It is currently situated completely within the 4th District.

Schatz’s Franklin County is split between the 2nd and 3rd districts under the Senate plan; the county west of St. Louis is now completely within the 3rd, represented by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-St. Elizabeth.

“You had to get a map done,” Rowden said when asked how he supported the Boone County split. “The blessings and curses that come with being in these positions is that sometimes you’ve got to put your money where your mouth is as it relates to being able to get something done.”

Rowden said he didn’t believe members of the congressional delegation were contacted Thursday before the vote.

“My assumption is based on the conversations that we had with them over the course of time, that I’m not sure any of them are going to be thrilled,” Rowden said. “I think they’re going to be OK.”

Senate Minority Leader John Rizzo, D-Independence, was one of the Democrats to vote for the map.

“The winner of the day is compromise,” he told reporters.

Asked whether the new lines would help or hurt Bush in her congressional reelection bid, Rizzo said: “I don’t think it hinders or helps her.

“I think she has a clear advantage being the incumbent,” he said, saying the seat would remain Democratic. “And I think that some of her votes in the past may hinder her winning that seat again. But that’s something she’s going to have to answer to her voters.

“I don’t think the district by any means is unwinnable for her or more winnable for anyone else,” he said.

Schatz had previously accused Sen. Steve Roberts, D-St. Louis, of pushing for lines that would favor his potential challenge to Bush; Roberts denied this.

Sen. Bill Eigel, R-Weldon Spring, who was among those in a GOP faction holding out for changes to the House map, ended up voting for the Senate version.

“The map that we did pass I think did accomplish some objectives that we had been talking about for the past few months,” Eigel said, saying the map “strengthened” the 2nd District for Republicans.

The hard-liners Thursday morning filibustered a plan by Sen. Mike Bernskoetter, R-Jefferson City. The 2nd District in that version, as well as the version that was approved, were similar in shape and in partisanship, both stretching to southeast Missouri.

But the map that was ultimately approved places parts of western St. Charles County including Augusta into the 3rd District. The majority of the county’s population would go into the 3rd.

“We had some changes in the layout of St. Charles County,” Eigel said when asked why the hard-liners ended their filibuster.

Schatz, the Senate president, wondered earlier Thursday why the slice of western St. Charles County couldn’t fit into the 2nd.

Investor David Hoffmann last year announced a $100 million development plan for Augusta, in western St. Charles County.

“Who’s developing wine country in St. Charles?” Schatz asked Thursday morning, before there was an agreement. “Why do you think that that isn’t part of CD2?”

Eigel suggested the western St. Charles County sliver in the 3rd was due to necessity.

“If you were going to look for a split that only took a small portion of the population of the county, that is where you would naturally have to go,” he said.

It didn’t appear that the Thursday breakthrough would lead to more cooperation in the near term.

“I don’t expect next week will be any easier,” Eigel said.

Updated at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, March 24.(tncms-asset)fcaf209a-ab1d-11ec-bd26-00163ec2aa77[1](/tncms-asset)

Hard feelings persist in Missouri Senate as lawmakers fail to approve congressional map


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