Thursday, January 24, 2002

Senate OKs redistricting legislation

Gov. Taft expected to sign bill

By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A Republican-engineered redistricting bill that would give many Hamilton, Butler and Warren county residents different congressmen passed the Ohio Senate 22-11 on Wednesday.

        The redrawn map of Ohio's U.S. House districts passed the state House earlier and now goes to Gov. Bob Taft, who is expected to sign it.

        Former Dayton Mayor Mike Turner, a Republican, said he will announce today his candidacy for a congressional district that will include the northern half of Warren County.

        The 3rd District seat — which will still be dominated by Montgomery County — is held by longtime U.S. Rep. Tony Hall, a Dayton Democrat. However, it will become majority-Republican this fall when the new map folds in Warren, Clinton and Highland counties.

        “I'm used to representing a very diverse community, and the 3rd District is certainly a very diverse area,” Mr. Turner said.

        Mr. Hall, who lobbied unsuccessfully to keep all of Montgomery County in the 3rd, has not decided his next step, spokesman Michael Gessel said late Wednesday.

        His options include mounting a legal challenge to the plan, seeking re-election or moving into a Bush administration job, Mr. Gessel said.

        A small corner of Montgomery County, including part of Dayton, will move into the 8th District, which is represented by West Chester Republican John Boehner.

        Other Southwest Ohio changes:

        • Mr. Boehner will lose four western Butler County townships over the objections of Butler County commissioners, who wanted the county kept in one district. Morgan, Ross, Hanover and Reily townships will join Steve Chabot's 1st District.

        • Mr. Chabot, a Republican on Cincinnati's west side, also will take over parts of western Hamilton County that 2nd District Rep. Rob Portman now represents.

        • Mr. Portman, a Terrace Park Republican, gains Scioto County and southern Warren County, including Lebanon, while losing northern Warren to the 3rd District.

        • The 2nd and 3rd District changes push Rep. Ted Strickland, a Lucasville Democrat, and his 6th District east out of the region.

        The new map reduces Ohio's congressional delegation from 19 to 18, reflecting population shifts recorded in the 2000 census. The map eliminates the district held by Democratic Rep. James Traficant of Youngstown.

        Both Senate President Richard Finan and House Speaker Larry Householder said they expected immediate legal challenges to the map, but said the result was fair to Ohioans.

       The Associated Press contributed.


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