Ohio’s Map-Making Merry-Go-Round

MANSFIELD, Ohio—A crowd of around 200 mingled in a spacious ballroom for Richland County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day Dinner earlier this month. Guests sporting red dresses or red ties chatted about the contentious GOP Senate primary in the state and local party politics at tables draped in white cloth and topped with tiny American flags. Rep. Jim Jordan gladhanded his way around the room.

“We got our district, we’re gonna run,” Jordan told The Dispatch in response to a question about his state’s redistricting merry-go-round.

For a time, it was not at all certain whether Jordan’s congressional primary—or other statewide primaries—would continue as scheduled on May 3.

That’s because the Ohio Redistricting Commission, a Republican-dominated body, is in a months-long standoff with the state Supreme Court. Since last September, the commission—and Ohio lawmakers—have voted to approve four different maps submitted by the commission. But each time, the state Supreme Court has rejected them as unconstitutional. 

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