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Congressional map has Senate support, Miller says

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., who is going through his third redistricting session atop the upper chamber, said Monday he thinks he has the votes to pass a new map that would give Democrats a chance to unseat Rep. Roscoe Bartlett in Western Maryland.

“I haven’t polled a single member, honestly and truly. It’s the governor’s bill,” said Miller after a press conference with Gov. Martin O’Malley and legislative leaders. “But I know how people are going to vote before they do, and I think the votes are there. I don’t think I’m going to get a single Republican vote and there will be some dissident Democrats. It’s going to be close, but I think the votes are going to be there.”

Miller said the Western Maryland district, which would pick up Democratic voters in Montgomery County, “is going to be very competitive.”

“There’s a good possibility that a person from Frederick or Washington County, or Garrett, or Allegany or Montgomery can win it,” he said.

Senate Majority Leader Robert J. Garagiola, a Democrat from Montgomery County, has expressed interest in the seat.

Miller dismissed the notion that some of the state’s districts aren’t drawn compactly enough. (Full disclosure, I think I live in the mantis’s thorax.)

“If I could take my eight congressmen and put them out in the Atlantic Ocean, I could draw eight circles,” said Miller. “If you’re on the outs, you say ‘Let’s get these SOB’s out so our people can get in.’ That’s what redistricting is about nationwide. We didn’t do that. We made the Eastern Shore as Republican as it could possibly be.”

The 1st District, held by former state Senator Andy Harris, will be Republican for at least “10 or 15 years,” Miller predicted.