GOP drops challenge to new Oregon congressional districts
SALEM (AP) — A group of former Republican elected officials have dropped their challenge to new Oregon congressional districts.
Oregon Public Broadcasting reports the move comes after a judicial panel last week unanimously dismissed a challenge to the new maps pushed through by state Democrats. Rather than appealing their case to the Oregon Supreme Court, challengers led by former Secretary of State Bev Clarno opted to let the matter rest.
That means that a new plan that could lead to Democrats holding five of the state’s six U.S. House seats will become operative Jan. 1. Oregon gained an additional U.S. House seat following the latest census.
A separate plan for redrawing the state’s 90 state House and Senate seats to reflect population changes was granted final approval by the state Supreme Court earlier in November. Democrats hold overwhelming majorities in the Legislature.
The congressional map that will now take effect was slammed by the GOP as a gerrymander in Democrats’ favor. They argued that Democrats had improperly split Portland among four districts, giving them a Democratic lean that would be hard to counteract.
This contentious redistricting year was marked by a broken power-sharing deal.
During the 2021 legislative session, House Democrats gave up a powerful advantage. In exchange for the Republicans agreeing to stop blocking bills with delay tactics, House Speaker Tina Kotek agreed to share redistricting power with the GOP — essentially granting veto power to the minority party over what the six congressional districts and the state’s 90 legislative districts will look like.
But Kotek later voided that power-sharing deal, saying she was “disappointed that after many months of work, House Republicans did not engage constructively despite many attempts to address their concerns.”