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Missouri Senate working to resolve redistricting differences

February 11, 2022 GMT

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri senators worked behind the scenes Friday to try to find a compromise over a congressional redistricting plan that has knotted up the Republican-led chamber in a contentious debate for much of the week.

A majority of Republicans already have registered support for a plan that’s projected to continue the state’s current representation of six Republicans and two Democrats in the U.S. House. But a coalition of conservative senators has continued a filibuster while publicly pressing for a map that could give the GOP a shot at winning seven seats.

On Friday, the factions at least were talking about a potential resolution.

Republican Sen. Holly Rehder said a strong 6-2 GOP map could fairly represent the state.

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The redistricting process “is supposed to not be partisan. It’s supposed to be reflective of the voters of our state,” she said.

“I’m not sure I completely agree with that,” replied Republican Sen. Bob Onder, one of those leading the charge for a 7-1 GOP map. “But there’s no doubt there needs to be some bipartisan cooperation to get it done.”

Minority party Democrats contend a 5-3 Republican edge among districts would be best representative of statewide elections. But no Republicans are advocating for that. Instead, Republicans are trying to craft a map that would allow them to win the most seats possible without stretching their margins too thin and running the risk of losing seats in a good election year for Democrats.

To have a shot at seven seats, Republicans would have to merge the Kansas City-based 5th District, held by Democrat Emanuel Cleaver, with rural Republican-leaning areas.

The House previously passed a plan that is projected to continue the 6-2 Republican edge while making relatively modest changes to account for population shifts within the current districts. But some Republicans believe it doesn’t do enough to fortify the 2nd District in suburban St. Louis, currently held by U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner.

Republicans also are at odds over which counties to split with congressional lines and whether to continue to combine both of the state’s major military installations in one district.