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Missouri Senate looks for ‘magic path’ on redistricting

February 12, 2022 GMT

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Meeting in a rare Saturday session, Missouri senators searched for what the chamber’s leader described as a “magic path” toward resolving a weeklong filibuster against a plan to redraw the state’s congressional districts.

Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz acknowledged that various barriers remained between factions of the majority Republican Party who are divided over how aggressively to draw district boundaries to their advantage.

“With all of the people that have an interest in this map pulling in multiple different directions, we’re still trying to find that magic path that could lead us to a resolution,” Schatz said. ”I’m not willing to give up.”

All states must redraw congressional districts to account for population changes noted by the 2020 census.

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The Missouri House last month passed a redistricting plan that’s projected to continue the state’s current representation of six Republicans and two Democrats in the U.S. House. But some Republicans contend it isn’t as strongly Republican as possible in a suburban St. Louis district held by GOP Rep. Ann Wagner.

A conservative coalition also has been pushing for a map that could help Republicans win seven seats by merging the Kansas City-based district of Democratic Rep. Emanuel Cleaver with Republican-leaning rural areas.

The Senate defeated a proposed 7-1 GOP map Monday. But conservative senators have continued to filibuster whenever the Senate has convened since then. They noted that Democrats in states such as Illinois and New York have drawn districts to their advantage, as have Republicans in states such as Tennessee and Kansas.

“This is hardball politics,” Sen. Denny Hoskins, one of the filibustering senators, said Saturday. “We want to do our part here in Missouri.”