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Franchot Calls For Changes To Redistricting Process

Comptroller says Maryland "is the poster child for gerrymandering" and urges voters to vote no on Question 5.

Democratic Comptroller Peter Franchot said Monday he supports his party's candidates but that recent redistricting of Maryland's congressional is too heavy-handed.

"This map is way over the edge in terms of bare-knuckle politics," said Franchot.

"I'm a proud Democrat. I support Democrats. I just want it to be fair and not fixed," Franchot said, comparing the redistricting process to "Boss Tweed-style Chicago politics."

Franchot Tuesday called for an independent, non-partisan commission that would redraw the congressional and state legislative districts. The change would help restore faith in the political system, he said.

The comptroller said the districts should be more compact in order to provide voters with better representation. He singled out the 3rd Congressional District, represented by John Sarbanes, as a poorly drawn district.

"It looks like a pterodactyl laying on its back with it's wings spread," said Franchot, a Takoma Park resident.

But in an earlier interview on WBAL 1090 AM, Franchot said Sarbanes' district "looks like a whole bunch of blood thrown up on a wall."

The result of poorly drawn districts are candidates such as Wendy Rosen, whom Franchot called "a junior varsity candidate."

Rosen, a Democrat, withdrew from the 1st Congressional District race against Republican incumbent Rep. Andy Harris after it was discovered that she had voted in recent elections in both Maryland and Florida.

"She wasn't properly vetted," said Franchot.

Voters will get a chance to vote on the maps on Nov. 6.

Franchot said he will vote against Question 5, the congressional redistricting referendum, and is asking other voters to do the same.

Franchot's announcement was welcomed by group that was part of the effort to put the maps on the ballot.

"The announcement by Comptroller Franchot carries weight in demonstrating the non-partisan work of the petition and the referendum efforts to overturn a map that has been called the most gerrymandered in the entire country," said Tony Campbell, president of Marylanders for Coherent and Fair Representation and former chairman of the Baltimore County Republican Central Committee.

The comptroller was a member of the House of Delegates in 2002 when Gov. Parris Glendening created the current districts.

Franchot voted for the plan that resulted in a loss of Republican representation in Congress and effectively corralled most of the state's Republicans to the 1st and 6th Congressional districts.

Franchot called the district "a graveyard that no Democrat could run and win in."

Raquel Guillory, a spokeswoman for Gov. Martin O'Malley, defended the redistricting plan and the process that created it.

"This map is based on the 2002 map and that has a [District] 2 and 3 that look very similar," said Guillory, adding that the redistricting commission hearing process is "a very long tedious process."

"This map passed the General Assembly and withstood several legal challenges," said Guillory. "This is the process and the process works."

Christopher Kidwell October 18, 2012 at 08:10 AM
Agreed, but as I said: Until the Republicans stop playing these games in other states and/or are severely punished for doing it, the Democrats have no choice but to play those games themselves in order to bring some fairness to the system. It's like someone giving you the choice to jump off a cliff or to have a boulder roll on top of you. In both cases, you are dead, so I'm going to make my own option 3: Grab the person who is trying to make me choose between those two, kill him and then go off and live my life with a clear conscience. I might give him a pass if he's only doing that because his family/friend is/are being threatened, but that's the only situation where I would do that.
FIFA October 18, 2012 at 10:41 AM
I'm with the Kid on this one. When it comes to politics in this country, if you turn the other cheek, you'll get slugged there too. Ask Sen. Mitch McConnell senate minority leader. The republicans routinely filibuster to stop Dems.
Tim October 18, 2012 at 10:57 AM
Heck, its been McConnell's spoken "Mission" to not legislate, and make Obama a one term president. He's said this - openly. Another reason to re-elect Obama, to remind our legislators that they should be doing their own job, instead of obsessing over someone else's.
Chris W October 18, 2012 at 11:34 AM
And asking who did it first is like asking which came first, the chicken or the egg. Gerrymandering has existed for a long time and it's difficult to say exactly where it began. Each party has escalated the partisanship in every area of politics for some time. For example, you can trace the current disfunction regarding the judicial nomination process to Democrats. It was not until Robert Bork that the Senate injected partisanship into the judicial nomination process. Now that system is broken too. Who started it is far less important than finding a way to fix it. Not for the benefit of a party, but for the benefit of the people.
Chris W October 18, 2012 at 11:37 AM
Tim, How many bills passed in he house has Harry Reid refused to even bring up for a vote in the senate? Reid controlls the Senate, not McConnell.
JustABill October 18, 2012 at 03:13 PM
Mr. Kidwell, Since you are an educated man I would think that you would want to have a better understanding of the history of Gerrymandering before you make such blind accusations without all the facts. You assert that since Republicans are doing it then it is perfectly fine for Democrats to do it as well as if it was the Republicans that did it first. The fact is the term Gerrymandering dates back to 1812 when then Massachusetts governor Elbridge Gerry, a Democrat-Republican, (the original name for the Democrat Party.) signed a bill that redistricted Massachusetts to the benefit of his party. One of the more convoluted districts was drawn in a way that some said resembled a salamander and the term was a combination of the Governor's name and the salamander. So if we are to follow your whiny excuse of, it's OK for us to do it because they are doing it, then I guess I can stoop to your level with the retort, well your guys did it first. Oh ... and keep up with the name calling ... it really demonstrates your level of college educated maturity.
Small Potatoes October 18, 2012 at 04:43 PM
@Tim - Never said the republicans don't do it, too. I'm a registered dem...just embarrassed for my party in MD. Lots of dems in MD are upset by this map...perhaps the only dem in MD who really still stands by it is the governor.
FIFA October 18, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Chris W. - if we fix it countrywide all at once, I'm for it. But Republicans want to fix it here and keep it as is where they are in power. Nah Nah Nah, I ain't buying that malarkey.
FIFA October 18, 2012 at 04:50 PM
That is not true, 41 out of 100 no votes controls most of everything the Senate does.
JustABill October 18, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Chris W, actually with even just a minimal amount of effort in researching the topic of Gerrymandering you can and will be able to say exactly when and where it all began. If you are too lazy to do it yourself then scroll up to my earlier post in response to Mr. Kidwell.
Eli J. Jackson October 19, 2012 at 10:19 AM
we got 4 states been gerrymandered since the census, arizona (benefittin democrats) illinois (benefittin democrats) california (benefittin democrats) and maryland (benefittin democrats) oh and republicans undid the gerrymanderin done in north carolina - the reason north carolina (a GOP leanin state) didnt gain no republicans in 2010, and stayed at 6-7 considerin how the vast majority of state legislature's are republican controlled, why were democratic controlled states the only ones gerrymandered?
B Allen October 19, 2012 at 06:38 PM
The dems in MD are a disgrace to the dem party. The whole lot of them in Maryland are a bunch of liers and cheats. I am glad Franchot is calling them out on this one. He is about the ONLY dem in this republic that makes any sense. I SAY IMPEACH OWEmally and put Franchot in as Gov. Oh, to all you leftie lucies out there, before you try to tell me that there is no impeachment process in MD, I already know. You prople are NOT as smart as you think you are.
B Allen October 19, 2012 at 06:38 PM
theerthere you go, kidding yourself well again, I see
B Allen October 19, 2012 at 06:40 PM
Well, sounds to me like you are totally confused. With the gerrymandering of this map, neighborhoods will NOT have a voice. I don't want van hollen in my area, he is a worthless sperm.
B Allen October 19, 2012 at 06:41 PM
No, ricky...it was ALL that idiot OWEmalley who conjoured this one up and he should be brought up on charges for it.
B Allen October 19, 2012 at 06:43 PM
OWEmalley did it because he wants to see a true blue state and NOT let the people have a voice. To think he wants to run for president, this will definitly have everyone laughing at him even more so for being such a nitwit
B Allen October 19, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Bob, good descriptive adjective to describe our governor, oh wait we are talking about the gerrymandering by our gov. hahaha well he is pretty stupid too. Hey Chrissy kidding yourself well, I see you are still trying to agitate and showing the word how much of a fool you are.
B Allen October 19, 2012 at 06:50 PM
But Chrissy, you are being immature. You attack all the time and I have seen you attack on many issues. Even when the facts are hitting you right between the eyes. You just do not have any feeling whatsoever for the facts and the truth, all you do is listen to what they are telling you and you spew it back in hatred. You are really a sorry excuse for a human (or are you a robot?).
B Allen October 19, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Small Potatoes, I was a registed dem for 30 yrs, i wised up and got out. I don't like to be guilty through association for being misinformed and a fool.
B Allen October 19, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Bart, this is a perfect example on how the democrat party wants to take the voice of the people away and make ALL decisions made for everyone, one sided. How do you think all the taxes and fees and more taxes and fees were passed through in Maryland, because the dems have the majority. OWEmalley thinks that by his gerrymandering, the dems can have TOTAL control without anyone speaking out against them and they can take more and more and hold you down more and more. Thank GOD Franchot is calling them out on it. He even called OWEmalley out on the taxes he was raising, now the gas tax OWEmalley wants, because Franchot does not think that the people of Maryland deserve to be squeezed even more. Owemally does...
B Allen October 19, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Looks like the little girls Fifa and kidwell have not checked out the history of gerrymandering and who is trying to do it now. You little girls need to find out the facts before you make yourselves look like fools. I keep telling you that but you never learn, just like little kids.
B Allen October 19, 2012 at 07:04 PM
Right Chris, Reid will not even bring the vote to the floor. Fifa (the foot fairy) get the facts. When the leader in the senate will not even bring the vote to the floor, not one senator gets to vote on it, so your dumb statement is just that dumb..you know like the governor of MD.
TJ October 19, 2012 at 07:32 PM
The Dems have contolled Md. forever. And this map only proves they want to control every inch of Md. That alone is not in the best interest of the voters as a whole. O'malley wants a one party system in Md. with this map. Why not make each county a district and not the jig saw puzzle O;Malley puy together.
TJ October 19, 2012 at 07:39 PM
If they had to pass a IQ test before voting, Fifi and Kiddy would fail. Sorry
Mike Tarbert October 19, 2012 at 10:54 PM
Mr.Franchot, Will you please announce you candidacy for Governor soon. Maryland needs someone like you.
steve r October 20, 2012 at 02:00 AM
As a Maryland Republican i have the upmost respect for Mr Franchot's ability to put Maryland First above party line's which he has done may times> I hope he runs for Governor when "pretty boy" O'Malley vacates his office
B Allen October 20, 2012 at 11:25 AM
Exactly right Tommy. It is funny to watch the comments by these "people" that support the dems action to take TOTAL control of their lives. I REALLy do think that they have such meaningless lives and are incapable of any thought process whatsoever. To even think for a moment that these d-bags in MD (especailly OWEmalley) want to give the people a voice in their government with this gerymandering that ALL the dems take part in is a good thing, when it is against ALL that this country was founded on.
B Allen October 20, 2012 at 11:28 AM
HAHA, there are quite a few that post on here that are questionable as to the level of their intellect. I REALLY do think that in order to be part of the dumbocrap party, you need to have 98% of your grey matter extracted and the 2% is left there for bodily functions and to pull the lever for all "D's" on the ballot...oh yeah and to carry their water.
B Allen October 20, 2012 at 11:31 AM
What is really funny to se is how conservatives who post here look at both sides of the story and would vote for someone like Franchot based on his principles and his wanting to represent the people. Unlike these libtards who don't know what the truth is and could care less about their own worthless lives and support a knucklehead like that tard OWEmalley and his ridiculous policies. I hope the guy has charges brought up against him and thrown in jail to rot.
Rick Jones October 24, 2012 at 12:32 PM
It's not only Franchot who thinks the map is over the edge. Even the liberal Washington Post called the governor's redistricting map "comical" in its construction. O'Malley's hubris in designing a map, specifically to enhance the power of Democrat incumbents while minimizing the voting power of minorities, rural voters and Republicans, is astonishing. Hopefully the term "gerrymandering", which earned its name when Massachusetts Governor Eldirdge Gerry signed a bill redistricting Massachusetts to the advantage of his political party in 1812, will not now become known as "Marymandering" because of O'Malleys blatant and unprecedented slicing, dicing, shuffling and shattering of Maryland's districts. It is likely that Maryland now has the most undemocratic and racially divisive map in the country. Parties aside, Maryland voters need to exercise their right to keep excesses of the politicians in Annapolis in in check. We need to hold them accountable to the will of the people and vote NO on question 5.


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