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Mo. Senate redistricting panel gives up, will let judges redraw map

The Missouri Senate's current districts, which took effect in 2003.
(Missouri Senate)
The Missouri Senate's current districts, which took effect in 2003.

A commission tasked with redrawing State Senate districts in Missouri has thrown in the towel and will allow a panel of judges to do the job.

The main sticking point was over the 24th Senate District in St. Louis County.  Despite an approximate 59 percent Democratic population, the seat is held by a Republican, Senator John Lamping.

The Democrats on the redistricting commission, including Chairman Doug Harpool, cited population shifts for seeking to eliminate Lamping’s district and create a new one in southwestern Missouri.

“It adversely affected him, but somebody was gonna be adversely affected," Harpool said.  "For example, if we had taken one of the Democratic numbers out, that seat would have been Democratic next time, anyway, so it really doesn’t have any impact.”

John Maupin, a Republican member of the commission, says under the Democrats’ proposed map Lamping would spend the last two years of his term representing part of southwestern Missouri instead of St. Louis County.

“My senator, whom I worked hard to elect, all of a sudden is going to represent not me, but people in Stone and Barry counties...that is just wrong," Maupin said.  "That is saying to the voters who elected Senator Lamping two years ago, ‘We don’t care about your votes, we don’t care about the election process, we’re going to, by the stroke of a pen, eliminate the results of one election by moving that entire district down to south of Springfield.’”

A six-judge panel will now redraw Missouri’s State Senate map.  Last weeka similar commission failed to agree on redrawing Missouri’s State House districts, which now will also be redrawn by a panel of judges. 

You can view interactive maps proposed by Democratic and Republican commission members here.

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.