Bipartisan commission approves new Missouri House districts
January 21, 2022- On Wednesday, a bipartisan commission of 20 with an equal number of Republicans and Democrats unanimously approved a new map of Missouri's 163 state House districts that will last for the next decade.
This approval is the first time since 1991 that a commission instructed with redrawing Missouri House districts has reached consensus on a map.
Of the 163 districts approved Wednesday, there are 38 where Democrats should have the advantage, 97 where Republicans are dominant and 28 districts with past election results showing less than a 10% advantage for either party. The current House makeup is 108 Republicans and 49 Democrats, with six vacancies. There are 17 members who are not eligible to seek re-election this year, 16 Republicans and one Democrat.
The top Republican on the commission, Jerry Hunter, said both sides were able to reach a consensus due to months of relationship building and behind the scenes talks. "Commissioners just developed a comfort level with each other and realized that there was going to have to be some give-and take if we were going to get an agreed-upon map," Hunter told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Thursday.
In the new map, there are 16 majority-Black districts and one in the Kansas City area that is more than 40% Hispanic. In the current House, there are 11 districts with a Black majority and no districts with a Hispanic population that large.
“This map provides for fair representation of communities of color,” the Democratic Party news release stated.
There are six districts that are now the residence of 12 incumbent House members eligible for re-election, Dave Drebes reported in the subscription political news report Missouri Scout. There are three districts with two Republicans and three with two Democrats.
There is a seventh, in Boone County, but one of the incumbents, state Rep. Sara Walsh, R-Ashland, is running for Congress in the 4th District, which should allow state Rep. Cheri Reisch, R-Hallsville, to run unopposed in the GOP primary for her final term.
In most election years, candidates who do not live in the district they wish to represent may not file. However, that rule does not apply in redistricting years.
The new districts will, barring a successful challenge, be used for candidate filing that opens Feb. 22 and the primary and general elections later this year.