Senate President appoints own replacement to Ohio Redistricting Commission

By: - May 4, 2022 12:10 am

State Sen. Rob McColley, R-Napoleon, present the Senate GOP map in Local Government & Elections Committee on Wednesday. Photo by Susan Tebben, OCJ.

The Ohio Redistricting Commission has a new member after seven months of work, with Senate President Matt Huffman appointing his own replacement.

The announcement, which came from Huffman’s office, was released the day before the ORC is set to meet to discuss legislative redistricting for the fifth time in this redistricting cycle.

Huffman appointed state Sen. Rob McColley to serve “for the remainder of its meetings.”

McColley comes in as “additional legislative issues that need attention now, including the capital budget” require Huffman’s attention.

The senate president said he made the appointment because he believes McColley “offers a fresh approach and a new opportunity to produce a result that clearly the majority of the court was not willing to consider with the speaker and myself serving as members.”

“I have confidence in Rob’s knowledge and ability to apply the strict mapmaking rules required by the constitution to help develop the next set of revised maps from the commission for the (Ohio) Supreme Court to consider,” Huffman said in a statement.

McColley has experience in the redistricting realm, having sponsored congressional maps in the General Assembly. The press release announcing his appointment said he also served as co-chair of the Ohio Legislative Task Force on Redistricting Reapportionment and Demographic Research.

The Ohio Supreme Court set a deadline of Friday morning for new statehouse district lines, after rejecting the fourth attempt by the commission. The fourth attempt was a tweak of the third maps, which a U.S. District Court has said they are willing to put in place for the 2022 election season if no action is taken before the end of the month.

The ORC set a meeting for 2 p.m. on Wednesday, where an agenda said they will consider the use of independent mapmakers who were hired for the fourth go-around, but had their maps dismissed by the commission the night of the March 28 deadline. That night, Huffman moved for the third map, with slight revisions, should be put in place to avoid missing the deadline, and possible contempt charges.

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Susan Tebben
Susan Tebben

Susan Tebben is an award-winning journalist with a decade of experience covering Ohio news, including courts and crime, Appalachian social issues, government, education, diversity and culture. She has worked for The Newark Advocate, The Glasgow Daily Times, The Athens Messenger, and WOUB Public Media. She has also had work featured on National Public Radio.

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