After a nine-member commission failed Wednesday to come to a consensus on redrawing of Connecticut’s five Congressional districts, the chairman of the Republican Party in Connecticut said the state GOP has offered up its own map that would balance the “one-party” rule that currently dominates the Democratically-controlled House seats.
“We’re shut out right now, we have no seats out of five,” said GOP State Chairman Jerry Labriola Jr. during a Republican Town Committee meeting in Naugatuck Wednesday evening. “So we really have nothing to lose.”
The Reapportionment Commission, made up of nine state lawmakers, had been working in recent weeks on adjusting the borders of both the Connecticut General Assembly districts and the five U.S. Congressional Districts. The redistricting is being done in every state in the Union as local governments work to address population changes chronicled in the 2010 U.S. Census.
The commission met its deadline Wednesday , however, it wasn’t able to agree on redistricting the Congressional lines. So, the commission has asked the Connecticut Supreme Court for a 30-day extension so the two sides of the aisle could come to a consensus on how the lines should be drawn for all five Congressional districts, Labriola said.
He said it appears the high court will grant the extension, and with no official map that’s been decided, Labriola said the state GOP offered up — in his opinion “skillfully and shrewdly” — its own map.
“The map we have now is terrible and the Democrats have offered a map which is essentially the status quo; just adopting to the population shifts,” he said. See attached PDFs for the proposed Republican and Democratic maps, courtesy of CTNewsJunkie.com.
In the Republican’s map, the largely Democratic city of Bridgeport — Connecticut’s most populace municipality — would be placed in the 3rd Congressional District. The same district, which is dominated by New Haven, would then become a “minority influence district,” he said.
According to both maps, which CTNewsJunkie.com provided Patch, Naugatuck will remain still in the 3rd District, however it would be split with the 5th District. At the same time, the Litchfield County-dominated 5th District would expand as would 2nd District of eastern Connecticut, taking in a large swath of New Haven County towns.
“It really is to create some pressure on the Democrats to see if we can move from the status quo to somewhere in the middle,” the party chairman said. “Which would vastly enhance our prospects (and) to see if we can restore some balance to Connecticut."
Because, he added, “We’re completely out of balance now with one-party rule.”
In the end, however, if no compromise is met by the 30-day deadline, then the state Supreme Court will end up drawing the lines, he said. In an interview with Patch, Labriola said the map that the Connecticut GOP presents could be a “compelling proposal” for the state Supreme Court justices.
“We feel it’s more likely they’ll favor our proposal, which is compact, and provides potential for minority representation,” he said.
In an email sent to the press Wednesday, all five Congressional Democrats in Connecticut — Reps. John Larson, D-1, Joe Courtney, D-2, Rosa DeLauro, D-3, Jim Himes, D-4, and Chris Murphy, D-5 — issued the following statement:
"As CT's redistricting efforts move forward, we, the Members of the House of Representatives representing CT, want to make clear that we believe CT does not need major changes to the existing congressional district lines given the modest changes in the most recent census.
“Where changes are necessary, we believe they should abide by the principle of community interest and respect the integrity of current district lines as much as possible, with a strong emphasis on keeping communities unified within congressional districts.”
“It is our hope that these simple guidelines are reflected in the ultimate plan that emerges."