Republicans in the Kansas state legislature Wednesday mustered the votes to override Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto and pass a gerrymandered congressional map into law for the next decade.
The Kansas state House overrode the veto Wednesday afternoon, finding 85 votes to reach the two-thirds majority necessary. The map passed the state Senate on Tuesday with two-thirds support after originally failing to do so, clearing the chamber 27-11.
The new map targets Democratic Rep. Sharice Davids, the only member of her party in Kansas’ congressional delegation and, along with Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, the first Native American woman to be elected to Congress. The Kansas City-based lawmaker flipped her swing sweat in 2018 and won reelection by 10 points in 2020 even as Democrats nationally lost seats in the House.
Davids’ new seat is not unwinnable, but it does put her in jeopardy, The Kansas City Star reported. President Joe Biden would have won it by four points in 2020, down from just over 11 points in the old seat.
Democrats in the legislature decried Republicans’ all-out effort to pass the map. One Republican, state Rep. Mike Houser, showed up to vote after missing the entire session thus far due to health problems.
“I voted NO,” said Democratic state Rep. Brandon Woodward. “I don’t support unconstitutional, gerrymandered maps.”
Though the map will likely become law, it may face a legal challenge from Democratic groups who allege its unconstitutionality based on the split of Wyandotte County, the largest community of non-white voters statewide.
Kansas is far from the only state to sign a gerrymandered congressional map into law for the coming decade, and both parties are complicit as well. Democrats have adopted gerrymandered congressional maps in New York, Illinois and New Mexico, among others, while Republicans have done the same in Georgia, Ohio, North Carolina and Tennessee.
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