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Political landscape redrawn in Ohio

Valley kept together in Republican-leaning congressional district

Submitted graphic

All of Mahoning and Trumbull counties will be in the same congressional district, along with eight other counties, under a Republican-drawn map — effective for the 2022 and 2024 elections — that received no Democratic support.

The redistricting process saw Republicans create not only new congressional districts, but also for the Ohio House and state Senate.

The congressional and state legislative maps are being challenged in a number of lawsuits in front of the Ohio Supreme Court by various left-leaning groups that contend the lines were gerrymandered to favor Republicans heavily in violation of charter amendments overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2015 and 2018.

The court either could accept the maps, and they’d be in place for the next two even-year elections — or reject them and require Republicans to drawn them again.

Under new rules that took effect with these maps, which are drawn after the census to reflect population trends, Democratic support was needed for them to be in effect for 10 years.

But the maps failed to garner even a single Democratic vote, so they’re in place for four years if the court upholds them.

The congressional map favors Republicans 12-3. They currently hold 12 of the 16 congressional districts. Ohio is losing one district because its population didn’t grow as fast as the rest of the country.

The Ohio House map gives Republicans the advantage in 65 districts compared to 34 for Democrats. That’s what the current makeup of the House is.

The state Senate map also favors Republicans in 23 out of 33 districts. Republicans currently hold 25 Senate seats.

The new lines are supposed to keep districts compact and reflect statewide partisan election voting trends over the past decade that favor Republicans 54 percent to 46 percent for Democrats.

The congressional map put all of Mahoning and Trumbull into the same district for the first time in decades.

The new 6th District, which is considered a safe Republican one, would include all of Mahoning, Trumbull, Columbiana, Carroll, Jefferson, Harrison, Belmont, Noble and Monroe counties and all of Washington County except for four townships.

U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta, who represents a small section of Mahoning County, is seeking re-election next year to the new district. Mahoning County Commissioner Anthony Traficanti, a Democrat, said this week that he’s decided not to challenge Johnson.

STATE LEGISLATIVE DISTRICTS

In Mahoning County, the state House lines largely remained the same except the 59th District, which flipped for the first time to Republicans in 2018 and became redder with the addition of three Columbiana County townships.

That new district is 58 percent Republican.

The 58th District grew and remains a strong Democratic district. The district is 64 percent Democratic and includes Youngstown, Austintown, Struthers, Lowellville, Campbell and Coitsville.

The 33rd Senate District got more Republican with the addition of Carroll, a small but very red county. The Senate seat first was won in 2018 by a Republican, Michael Rulli of Salem, and includes all of Mahoning and Columbiana counties. It now will be 54 percent Republican.

There were big changes in Trumbull County.

The current 63rd House District leaned Democratic but was won in 2020 by Mike Loychik, R-Bazetta, and the current 64th District also leaned Democratic.

Republicans drew new boundaries for the 64th that is 54 percent Democratic and includes Warren, Girard, Niles, Hubbard, Liberty, McDonald, Weathersfield, Howland and Vienna.

The new 65th (replacing the current 63rd) is now 60 percent Republican and includes the Trumbull County communities not in the new 64th as well as more than half of Portage County.

The map changed the 32nd Senate District seat from Trumbull and Ashtabula counties to Trumbull and Portage counties. The new district is 51 percent Republican.

But state Sen. Sandra O’Brien, R-Lenox, who started serving a four-year term in January 2021 to represent it, no longer will live in the new district.

A sitting state senator can’t be removed in mid-term, so for two years O’Brien will represent two counties in which she doesn’t live unless she moves.

If O’Brien wants to run in Ashtabula in 2024, she’d have to face fellow Republican Sen. Jerry C. Cirino. If she wants to run in the 32nd District, she’d have to establish residency in either Trumbull or Portage counties at least a year before the November 2024 election.

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