ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — While Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan says a second term would look a lot like his first, he also says Maryland voters can expect to see some significant changes — notably in how the state's congressional map is drawn.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Hogan said Thursday that if he's re-elected and the courts don't act before the next round of redistricting takes place, he will push again to take redistricting out of the hands of politicians and have an independent commission draw Maryland's eight congressional districts.
Hogan, a Republican, has proposed nonpartisan redistricting for all four years he's been in office, but Democrats who control the legislature say they support reform at the federal level or taking a regional approach.
They might change their minds, Hogan said, if he wins and has strong influence over the next map.
"We're going to draw fair districts, because it's what people want," Hogan said, adding he supports reforms in how the legislative districts in state government are drawn as well.
Maryland's congressional map has been criticized for having some of the nation's most gerrymandered districts.
In the last round of redistricting in 2011, then-Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat, and the General Assembly added more Democrats to 6th Congressional District, which had been held by a Republican for 20 years. Democrats picked up the seat the following year, giving Democrats a 7-1 advantage in a state where they outnumber Republicans 2-1.
Republican voters are challenging the map in federal court. A three-judge panel met earlier this month and discussed the possibility of a nonpartisan panel.
If the process remains unchanged, Hogan said he would use his influence to make the districts more reflective of the people represented in them.
"We're going to try to draw contiguous districts that make sense, and have the voters actually pick their representatives, instead of the representatives picking their voters," Hogan said.