In deep-blue Maryland, Democratic state lawmakers have shown little interest in giving up their power to redraw the boundaries of congressional districts every 10 years. The Republicans who control the legislature in Virginia are similarly unwilling. But with both states’ congressional maps under attack for unfairly favoring the majority party, a few lawmakers have come up with a new suggestion: Why don’t we give up our power together, negating the political effects? “The only way to get through this now is for everybody to give up a little bit in a partisan sense for everyone to gain a lot in terms of principle,” said Maryland state Sen. Jamie B. Raskin. The Montgomery County Democrat is calling for a “Potomac compact” in which a single, independent panel would draw congressional lines for both states.
State Sen. Paul G. Pinsky (D-Prince George’s) has proposed turning control over to a commission made up of legislative appointees — provided that a comparable red state does the same.
And Del. Kirill Reznik, also a Democrat representing Montgomery, is calling for technical experts to redraw Maryland’s maps — considered some of the most gerrymandered in the country — but only if Virginia and Republican-leaning Pennsylvania follow suit.
“The political establishment here, especially in the legislature, does not feel it would be fair to unilaterally disarm,” Reznik said. “If we are going to fix it, it cannot just be Democrats saying, ‘We will be the nice guys.’ ”