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Politics

LaRose says redistricting leaders 'gave up' on compromise

Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose, a member of the Ohio Redistricting Commission, talks to reporters about the work that group will do in drawing maps for districts for Ohio's state representatives and senators after a meeting of the Ohio Ballot Board on August 30, 2021.
Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose, a member of the Ohio Redistricting Commission, talks to reporters about the work that group will do in drawing maps for districts for Ohio's state representatives and senators after a meeting of the Ohio Ballot Board on August 30, 2021.

The commission was created to help bypass a logjam in redistricting by bringing in the governor, secretary of state, and auditor; officers who are accountable to statewide elections.

Now commissioners are expressing frustration that they never got that shot.

In September, the commission approved maps that guarantee Republican supermajorities in the House and Senate, so both Democrats voted against them. Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R-Ohio) told the commission then that the next time the panel met, things would be different.

While LaRose did vote with the other four Republicans on the commission to approve those earlier maps, he says he's frustrated and disappointed about the missed opportunity this time around.

"I've been struggling for weeks to try and get people to come together and have serious conversations about compromise and meeting in the middle. There was not a great interest by other members of the commission in doing so and I think some gave up on the process of compromise long ago," says LaRose, who stopped short of specifically noting individuals by name.

When asked if missing the deadline was a way to intentionally shut out the statewide officers, Republican House Speaker Bob Cupp said no.

Cupp has said the commission missed the deadline because of the delay in the U.S. Census Bureau data and the time commission members have had to spend working on responses to court challenges filed in the Ohio Supreme Court against the approval of the state legislative maps. That includes two hours for each Republican commissioner to be deposed by plaintiffs.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.