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New Missouri House map unanimously approved by bipartisan commission

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The bipartisan commission tasked with redrawing Missouri’s 163 House districts has finalized a new map — that will leave eight incumbents drawn in the same districts. 

The House Independent Bipartisan Citizens Commission unanimously approved the new map Wednesday — the same day the House gave final approval to a congressional redistricting map

Commission members said its map has more competitive House districts than Missouri has seen in recent years. 

The commission had a deadline of Jan. 23 to complete the map, and as of Wednesday, it had filed all of the necessary paperwork with the Secretary of State’s Office for its map. 

There are eight GOP incumbents that are drawn together under the new map: Peggy McGaugh (HD 39) and Rusty Black (HD 7); Suzie Pollock (HD 123) and Jeff Knight (HD 129); Bruce Sassmann (HD 62) and Jeff Porter (HD 42); and Derek Grier (HD 100) and Bruce DeGroot (HD 101). 

In the new map, 17 House districts have a majority Black population and one in Kansas City is majority Hispanic. 

“This map will provide more competitive House races in future elections,” said League of Women Voters of Missouri President Marilyn McLeod. “The League believes that competitive districts make for a better democracy. Competition means that candidates need to listen to the voters because the outcome of the elections aren’t assumed.” 

Commission members noted the historic achievement: It’s the first time since 1966 that the map was unanimous, and the first time since 1980 that the commission, not courts, drew the map, said Jonathan Ratliff, one of the Republican members of the commission. 

If the commission could not agree on a map, then it would have been up to the Missouri Supreme Court to convene a panel of judges to submit a plan. That is what will happen to the Senate map because that commission could not agree on a map. 

Missouri’s legislative redistricting process has fluctuated since the last census, finally settling on the version with the passage of Amendment 3 in 2020. 

While a constitutional amendment enacted by voters in 2018 established a nonpartisan state demographer position to redraw the maps, the redistricting process now falls to the two commissions. Appointed commissions had handled the process before the Clean Missouri back-and-forth.