Republicans mount redistricting challenge

By on Tuesday, October 12th, 2021 in Columbia Basin News More Top Stories

SALEM – Four Republicans including former Secretary of State Bev Clarno, have filed a challenge to the Oregon Legislature’s redistricting map that creates a sixth congressional district. GOP leaders have contended that the creation of one district stretching from Portland to Bend was a clear act of gerrymandering, virtually guaranteeing Democrats five out of six seats in Congress.

“Democrats are projected to win five of the six of Oregon’s congressional seats in a typical year, results that are not even arguably justified by the Democrats’ overall political support in this state or the political geography of the state,” the suit filed in Marion County Circuit Court states.

Clarno is joined by former state House of Representatives Republican leader Gary Wilhelms of Portland, former mayor of The Dalles James Wilcox, and former House speaker Larry Campbell of Eugene.

The plaintiffs’ claims include technical arguments as well as allegations of attempting to stock districts with left-leaning voters. They state that the lines don’t obey the laws that require districts to have existing political boundaries and transportation links. They are asking the court to strike the map down and draw its own.

There is a new process for court complaints regarding redistricting challenges that will be put to the test. A group of five judges, one from each of the state’s current five districts, will serve as arbitrators. They have until Nov. 24 to decide whether a challenge is to be dismissed. Today (Tuesday) is the deadline for filing court challenges to the new maps.