A House committee has approved a congressional map that puts part of Wayandotte County in the 1st District, which covers western Kansas. House Speaker Mike O’Neal, a Republican from Hutchinson, says lawmakers had to add a community to the 1st, to equalize population between the four districts. He said the other options included moving Manhattan or part of Shawnee County into the Big First.
The map, drafted by O’Neal, would put voters in the Kansas City area with voters from rural western Kansas. The plan passed out of committee on a 12-11 vote, with O’Neal breaking the tie. The top Democrat in the House, Paul Davis of Lawrence, calls the proposal gerrymandering.
Speaker O’Neal defended the map, saying he did not take politics into account. He says he wanted to keep Manhattan in the 2nd Congressional District, instead of moving it to the 1st. The full House will now consider the proposal.