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State House Republicans take another stab at redrawing lines for N.H.'s congressional districts

NHPR Staff

Negotiators in the New Hampshire House and Senate will meet Monday to take up the latest Republican-proposed congressional redistricting map for the state.

The map, first released Friday, places New Hampshire's two incumbent members of Congress, Democrats Chris Pappas and Annie Kuster, in the same district.

The plan does so by moving Pappas’ home city of Manchester from the 1st District to the 2nd District.

The map also relocates a string of Republican-voting towns now in the 2nd District — Hudson, Salem, Windham, Pelham and Atkinson – to the 1st District.

Unlike previous Republican redistricting efforts this year, the latest plan bears some visual resemblance to New Hampshire’s current congressional map.

It keeps the southeastern part of the state in the 1st District; the western part of the state and the entire North Country would meanwhile remain part of the 2nd District.

But like other GOP-drawn maps, the overall effect would be to tilt the 1st District more Republican, and the 2nd District more Democratic.

Negotiations over this plan will be led by Rep. Barbara Griffin of Goffstown, and Sen. Jim Gray of Rochester, both Republicans.

In a joint statement issued Friday, Griffin and Gray, who chaired their chambers’ respective redistricting committees, called this proposal constitutional and fair.

“The map that we have created honors both of those important goals,” they said.

Negotiators have until Thursday afternoon to send a map to the full House and Senate for votes. May 27 is the deadline for lawmakers and Gov. Sununu to agree to a map before New Hampshire’s Supreme Court moves to impose one of its own.

The court ruled last week, in a case brought by Democrats, that using current maps, passed a decade ago, for 2022 elections was unconstitutional due to population changes over the past decade.

The justices also ruled that any court-drawn map would alter current maps, drawn by Republicans in 2012, as little as possible, an approach the justices termed “least change.”

Sununu hasn’t weighed in publicly on this latest GOP plan. He has promised to veto the only map to clear both the House and Senate in March on the grounds it would guarantee political outcomes.

Republican leaders took little interest in a map Sununu later proposed. They also rejected a Democratic map that would leave current districts unchanged save for moving the Republican-voting town of Hampstead from the 1st District to the 2nd District.

Sununu has for months indicated that his support for any map is contingent on it having two competitive districts that candidates from either party could plausibly win.

Josh has worked at NHPR since 2000.

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