Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. isn’t a fan of redistricting reform or Gov. Larry Hogan’s bill to alter how Maryland reapportions congressional districts.
But some questions about the issue may get you unfriended.
Miller, speaking to reporters Thursday reiterated his stand on the issue saying that he would favor seeing the federal government take the lead on the issue.
“No state east of the Mississippi has adopted a redistricting (reform) plan and the governor knows that. This is from a Republican partisan playbook. All elected officials east of the Mississippi, Republicans and Democrats, which for the Supreme Court to set the rules or for the Congress to set the rules. We’re not talking about legislative seats here. We’re talking about congressional seats, these are federal people. U.S. senators run statewide so it doesn’t affect them, it only affects congressional people. We would like uniform national rules and it can only come from the Congress themselves or for the Supreme Court.”
Miller said the current system is not working and pointed to Pennsylvania as an example of, as one reporter put it, “screwed” Democrats when it comes to seats in the House of Representatives.
“They really did and they did the same thing in North Carolina,” Miller said. “That’s expected of them because the U.S. Supreme Court says ‘Hands off, it’s up to the people in power to draw their own lines in their state. So, if you’re there you’re going to do that. It didn’t used to be that way but it varies from time to time.”
Maryland is not without its own redistricting history and claims of partisan shenanigans.
Prior to the 2002 redistricting, Maryland was split evenly with four Democrats and four Republicans in the House. After Gov. Parris Glendening redrew the map, the split tiled 6-2 in favor of the Democratic Party. The most recent plan drawn under former Gov. Martin O’Malley expanded the number of Democratic Party controlled seats to seven.
But the Senate leader’s comments took a turn when he was asked if he felt Maryland had also moved too far in eliminating Republican controlled congressional seats.
“Bryan, I think I friended you on Facebook the other day. Didn’t I do that?” Miller responded, laughing. “I thought that means you’re my friend. Do I unfriend you? Is that what I do?”
And then he ended his morning meeting with reporters.