Parties Disagree Over Maine Redistricting Ahead Of Deadline

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The public gets an opportunity Monday to weigh in on Democratic and Republican proposals for reshaping the border of Maine's 1st and 2nd Congressional Districts.

Both proposals released Thursday focus on Kennebec County, and both parties agree on moving the state's capital city, Augusta, to the state's northern district. There's disagreement, however, on reshuffling a dozen other towns.

Democrats want to move both August and Waterville, along with several other Democratic-leaning towns.

Republicans targeted a different grouping of towns.

Based on the 2020 election, the Republican proposal would have meant nearly 900 additional votes for President Joe Biden and the Democratic proposal would mean about 6,200 extra votes for Biden in the district, according to an analysis by the Bangor Daily News. Former President Donald Trump won the vote in the 2nd Congressional District, picking up one of Maine's four electoral votes.

Sen. Rick Bennett, R-Oxford, who is serving on the commission for Senate Republicans, said he's optimistic that the differences can be ironed out. "I think we are pretty close, at least on the Congressional side," he told the Portland Press Herald.

The state’s bipartisan redistricting commission is racing to meet deadline, which is a week away.

U.S. Census data was released in August, and the bipartisan redistricting commission will hold a public hearing Monday, ahead of a Sept. 27 deadline for wrapping up its work.

Based on new U.S. Census data, the redistricting commission must move more than 23,000 people from the 1st District into the 2nd District.

In addition to congressional districts, the commission must decide on maps for legislative districts — 151 for the House, 35 for the Senate.