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OH legislature redraws controversial district map

After months of debate over redistricting in Ohio, a decision may have finally been made.
Photo courtesy The Columbus Dispatch

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) – After months of debate over redistricting in Ohio, a decision may have finally been made.

The state senate and the house both passed a bill late Wednesday evening which changes the redistricting map, as well as Ohio's primary elections.

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur's chief of staff Steve Katich says that 102,000 Lucas County residents have been added back to the 9th district.

The new map also means that Toledo will only be split among two congressmen, instead of three.

The remaining two are Kaptur and republican Bob Latta, meaning republican Jim Jordan is out.

Lucas County Republican Party chairman Jon Stainbrook says that it looks like Kaptur will regain downtown Toledo.

"Jim Jordan is one of my favorite congressmen, next to Bob Latta. And so we are sad that he's cut out but Marcy Kaptur, the main complaint was that Marcy had been drawn into the lake, I mean pushed up into Lake Erie. And her district had kind of been pushed up so far to the lake that people were saying it wasn't fair," Stainbrook explained to WTOL.

The new compromise bill also means that Ohio will only have one primary election, which will be held on March 6, instead of an additional one in June for presidential and congressional races, scrapping the controversial map from September.

That map divided portions of Toledo and Lucas County in congressional districts 4,5 and 9. The new map has the city and county split between District 5 (represented by Bob Latta) and District 9 (represented by Marcy Kaptur).

Kaptur explained that the changes mean she will also have problems with being re-elected for a 16th term. She will be running against another longtime congressional Democrat, Dennis Kucinich.

Stainbrook, who is a member of the board of elections, says that the switch back to one primary will save the state $15 million.

The switch also shows that despite the gridlock in Washington, lawmakers in Columbus are willing to work together.

"People are just sick and tired of the two parties not working together. I am seeing that at the Lucas County board of elections so at least in Columbus they've worked out their differences and they have come to terms where they can make it better for the voters of the state of Ohio," said Stainbrook.

The new bill has also created a task force that will be used to study how the redistricting map should be made in the future.

WTOL is still waiting to hear from county Democratic Party chairman Ron Rothenbuhler for his reaction. We will continue to bring you those details as they develop.