Missouri congressional candidate files redistricting lawsuit

March 10, 2022 GMT

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Republican congressional candidate from suburban St. Louis is challenging Missouri’s U.S. House districts in court as state lawmakers remain at loggerheads over how to redraw the districts in advance of this year’s elections.

Paul Berry III said Wednesday that his lawsuit seeks to prod state lawmakers to pass new congressional districts or else have the court complete the task. Until new maps are adopted, the old ones based on the 2010 census remain in place.

Berry contends it’s unconstitutional for candidates to be elected from the current districts, because the 2020 census revealed that populations have changed significantly in some areas.

Running under the old maps “is just an untenable situation with the growth of St. Charles County,” Berry said.

Berry is one of seven candidates in Missouri’s 2nd Congressional District, which is held by Republican Rep. Ann Wagner.

His lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Cole County Circuit Court. It seeks a court order that the old districts cannot be used in the 2022 elections and — if lawmakers can’t agree on a new map to take effect in time for the August primaries — that a map Berry drafted should be put in place.

The Missouri House passed a congressional redistricting plan in January, but it has stalled in the Senate amid an internal Republican dispute over how aggressively to draw districts in favor of the GOP. Two of the points of contention are how to shape the 2nd District and whether to split St. Charles County into multiple districts.

Missouri’s candidacy filing period opened Feb. 22, despite the uncertainty over districts, and runs through March 29.