Stalemate over map means filing deadline for congressional candidates will likely get bumped back

01/24/2012 03:24 PM

Legislative leaders said Monday they’ve made no progress in agreeing on a new congressional district map, but they believe they can bump back the candidate filing deadline just for those who want to run for Kentucky’s six seats in the U.S. House.

Sen. Damon Thayer, the Georgetown Republican and Senate state government committee chairman, told reporters he planned to file a bill as early as Tuesday to move the congressional candidate filing deadline back from Jan. 31.

The General Assembly last week agreed to state legislative district lines, so 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 31 will remain the deadline for those seeking to run for the 100 state House and 19 state Senate seats up for election this year.

But the congressional map has proven to be a more difficult task. House Democrats want to shift the lines in such a way to make the 5th District in Eastern Kentucky and 1st District in Western Kentucky more Democratic. The Senate Republican map keeps the districts similar to their current state but chips away at some Democratic counties in the 6th District, which is represented by Democratic Congressman Ben Chandler.

“I think it is fair to say we are at a stalemate right now,” Thayer said Monday. Watch Thayer field questions from reporters Monday about the next steps and what happens if the General Assembly fails to craft a congressional map:

Legislators appointed to the conference committee to hammer out the differences between the House and Senate’s proposed congressional map are keeping quiet on specific sticking points.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg told reporters that Democrats “made a major concession” to the Senate Republicans. But neither he nor Thayer would discuss the details.

Stumbo previously floated the idea of having congressional candidates run statewide — instead of in districts — as they had to do when the General Assembly clashed over the redistricting map in 1932.

Stumbo told reporters that if the conference committee fails to agree on a map, the next stop is court.

Not even incumbent members of Congress say they’re getting much information about the negotiations.

Two-term Republican U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie told reporters after a town-hall-style event in his hometown of Bowling Green on Monday that all he had heard was that the negotiations had stalled.

Guthrie said he preferred the Senate’s version of the map because it made very few changes to the current make-up of the 2nd District — shifting half of Ohio County and Taylor County to the 1st Congressional District, which needed to gain more constituents.

- Video produced by Nick Storm with additional reporting from Bowling Green by Chris Bratton

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm joined cn|2 in December 2011 as a reporter for Pure Politics. He is now the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics. Throughout his career, Nick has covered several big political stories up close, including interviewing President Barack Obama on the campaign trail back in 2008. Nick says he loves being at the forefront of Kentucky politics and working with the brightest journalists in the commonwealth. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStorm_cn2. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@twcnews.com.

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