LANSING, Mich. (AP/WOOD) — Michigan’s new redistricting commission has approved a U.S. House map, one that is fairer to Democrats than when the process was controlled by the Republican-led Legislature for two decades.
In a landmark vote Tuesday, eight of 13 members of the panel created by a voter-approved constitutional amendment voted for the 13-district plan known as “Chestnut.”
There could be 7-6 splits in favor of either party if it is competitive statewide.
District 1 cover the Upper Peninsula and much of the northern Lower Peninsula. District 2 covers a number of counties from north of Manistee to just north of Muskegon and stretching toward the center of the state, including Montcalm and Ionia counties, and dipping south to include Barry County.
District 3 lumps Grand Rapids in with Grand Haven and Muskegon. First-term U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer, R-Grand Rapids, announced that he will run for reelection in the 3rd.
District 4 now includes Holland, Zeeland and St. Joseph, as well as Kalamazoo and Battle Creek. That puts Reps. Bill Huizenga and Fred Upton, both Republicans, in the same district. Huizenga announced he plans to run to represent the district.
District 5 follows the state’s southern border. District 6 is the Ann Arbor area, 7 is the Lansing area, 8 covers Flint and Saginaw, and 9 is the Thumb region. Districts 10 through 13 are in and around Detroit.
Michigan is losing a seat in the House following the 2020 census.
The redistricting panel will also redraw state legislative districts. The new maps will stand for 10 years until after the next census.
The Democratic Party Organization for the 13th Congressional District in Detroit area has said Tuesday that it is preparing to sue the panel over the congressional map, arguing it disenfranchises Black voters.
“Historically, there has been efforts to make our Congressional Legislative maps fairer and more representative,” district chair Jonathan Kinloch said in a statement. “Michigan needs and deserves a diverse Congressional and state legislative delegation that represents all the people of Michigan — that is the only way to ensure that every voice is heard. These current Congressional maps are a serious step backward, limiting the voice of African-Americans and that is unacceptable.”
The Michigan Republican Party added it is “evaluating all options” to “defend the voices silenced by this commission.”