The heated partisan controversy regarding the redrawing of Maine’s two U.S. Congressional districts was brought to an end on September 27th when the Maine House of Representatives approved a compromise redistricting plan.
This plan – the Kennebec County Plan, which passed 140-3 in the House – leaves most of the state untouched – with the exception of the districts in Kennebec County. In accordance with legal guidelines, the plan divides population evenly between the two districts in Kennebec County (the only county split, which was also fragmented in the 2000 redistricting plan), and leaves all towns intact. The Senate unanimously approved the plan later in the day.
The plan, drawn up by Republicans early in the summer, was initially offered as a “take it or leave it” option to the Democrats, and then taken off the negotiating table only a few days later. The Kennebec County Plan emerged again after ten hours of negotiations on September 26th, at which point it was made public.
The passage of this plan with more than a 2/3 majority of votes in both the House and the Senate, and the signing of the bill by the governor, signifies the avoidance of a previously seemingly inevitable fight in the Maine Supreme Court.
Democratic Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, who represents the 1st District, weighed in on the issue: “I am glad that the Legislature was able to set aside radical, partisan redistricting proposals and come to a bipartisan agreement. In the end, common sense prevailed and the Legislature adopted a reasonable plan that was not unnecessarily disruptive.”