ND Dem-NPL Senate Leader losing seat based on redistricting map

Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 5:21 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - After months of surveying, drawing, and negotiating, a select committee of North Dakota’s lawmakers have endorsed a preliminary map for the new legislative districts.

The number of districts stays the same at 47. And there are nearly 3,000 additional people in each district. But the lines will be moving, so counties will be moving to new districts. That means some lawmakers will be in new districts and either lose their seats or need to fight an incumbent to stay in the legislature.

We are learning who those individuals are that may be on the way out.

When redistricting started, many in leadership expected there to be victims of the process. All counties That means some have election challenges coming up.

Those who are on the chopping block are fighting for their districts and their seats. Redistricting the state has been like creating a puzzle.

Not all pieces are the same size, but lawmakers get to decide what the pieces look like. But some lawmakers are getting drawn out of legislature by having their homes put in new districts which already has sitting Representatives. Those lawmakers are fighting back.

“I know there’s a great tug-and-pull in everything that’s being proposed and everything considered. And at times there are tensions obvious that are being caused by various proposals,” said Rep. Kathy Skroch, R-Lidgerwood.

Both sides of the aisle are seeing challenges with the new map, but one side is landing a larger hit.. The map endorsed by the Republican-majority committee puts the highest-ranking Democrat in the State Senate in a new district with a sitting Republican.

That district isn’t up for reelection in 2022, which means the Democratic Senate Minority Leader wouldn’t be able to run in the new district until 2024.

“For the voters in Eddy County, they have to determine where their home is. And, you know, looking at that it just doesn’t make sense. We had a good plan for District 23. Kept it intact,” said Senate Minority Leader Joan Heckaman, D-New Rockford.

When asked if she thought she was being targeted for political reasons, she said “everybody can make up their own mind on that.”

Shortly before the committee approved their preliminary map, Democrats and other lawmakers with dissolving districts submitted alternative maps The Redistricting Committee will be meeting one more time next week to iron out the draft, and then will be seen by the full legislature in November.

When that happens, they will be able to debate and amend the map. So there could be more changes on the way, but some of those who have their districts being challenged said they can see the writing on the wall.

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