House Democrats say new congressional district map is "very close"

02/02/2012 02:17 PM

House Speaker Greg Stumbo, a Democrat from Prestonburg, told reporters Thursday that legislative leaders are close to agreeing on a compromise on a congressional district map.

House and Senate leaders have been in discussions with members of Kentucky’s congressional delegation and their staffs as they tried to hammer out an agreement over the last several days. While Republican senators were somewhat reserved when describing the progress of the negotiations, Stumbo said he thought they were nearly there.

In the compromise version of the map, Owensboro would remain in the 2nd District — a key concession from democrats who wanted to move it into the 1st congressional district. And Boyd County — which contains the city of Ashland — would be split between the 4th and 5th Districts. The top-ranking House Democrat said the map incorporates elements from both the maps proposed by the Democratic-controlled House and the Republican led Senate.

Among those areas being discussed in the compromise map are:

  • Shifting the 6th District east to pick up counties such as Nicholas, Bath, Menifee and potentially Rowan. The 6th also is likely to incorporate all of Scott County, instead of just the southern part as it has now.
  • Spreading the 2nd District east into Mercer, Boyle, Garrard and part of western Jessamine County that includes Wilmore.
  • Bringing the 4th District south to pick up Eastern Jefferson County, Shelby County and potentially even part of Spencer County. Shelby and Spencer have been in the 2nd District.
  • Shedding Taylor, Marion and northern Ohio County from the 2nd and placing them into the 1st District, which needed to gain population.

The Kentucky General Assembly, earlier this week, approved extending the candidate filing deadline for the six congressional districts until Feb. 7. Stumbo told reporters that representatives for Congressman Hal Rogers said he is happy with the map. The House speaker said he personally spoke with Democratic Congressman Ben Chandler of the 6th District who said he “is satisfied” with the latest version.

Senate Majority Floor Leader Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, told Pure Politics that the senate is reviewing the map. Stivers says there has been substantial movement, but stopped short of saying an agreement was in place.

The Senate has possession of the bill and can revise it, vote on the new map as quickly as they want to and send it back to the House for final approval. The new map would take effect upon the signature of the governor.

So far, 20 candidates have filed for the six congressional seats.


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