House committee approves map similar to Senate version
CHARLESTON — The redistricting committee of the West Virginia House of Delegates adopted a congressional map of its own one day after the state Senate’s redistricting committee approved its own. The differences were marginal.
The House Redistricting Committee met Tuesday afternoon in a meeting that lasted just over 10 minutes and adopted a congressional map with no discussion, amendments, or debate.
The committee’s webpage had 10 proposed congressional maps, but the committee only heard a briefing on map No. 6 which splits the state into a northern and southern congressional district. Counties north of Jackson, Wirt, Calhoun, Gilmer, Braxton, Webster, Pocahontas, and Pendleton counties would be part of the new 1st congressional district.
The map is nearly identical to a congressional map adopted by the Senate Redistricting Committee on Monday. The Senate’s map puts Ritchie County in the southern 2nd congressional district and Pendleton County in the northern 1st congressional district. The map adopted by the House Redistricting Committee does the exact opposite, putting Ritchie County in the 1st district and Pendleton County in the 2nd district.
Lawmakers must balance several considerations during congressional redistricting, including keeping districts as equal in population as possible, keeping districts compact, and sticking to county boundaries without splitting counties.
The House congressional redistricting map as a plus/minus 0.09 percent population deviation between the 1st and 2nd districts. The Senate’s congressional map has a higher population deviation of plus/minus 0.17 percent. Jeff Billings, a staff member for the House Redistricting Committee, said the House’s map has a better compactness rating than other similar maps.
“What we have done is found a map that … has some compactness tests that were better than some of the others, especially on the north/south type of map,” Billings said. “On this one, the compactness tests were better than all the others on the north/south districts.”
West Virginia’s population loss between the 2010 and 2020 Census reports resulted in the state dropping from three congressional districts to two congressional districts. All three of the state’s Republican congressional representatives — 1st District Congressman David McKinley, 2nd District Congressman Alex Mooney, and 3rd District Congresswoman Carol Miller have expressed interest in seeking re-election in 2022.
While both the state Senate and House of Delegates congressional maps keep Miller unopposed by other members of Congress, McKinley and Mooney would have to primary each other if both choose to seek re-election. But the House map takes nine out of 17 of the counties in Mooney’s current district away while keeping all but one of the 20 counties in McKinley’s 1st District.
“From the way I look at it, it’s not even but it’s not too shabby as far as closeness as far as the amount of district between the two,” Billings said.
“For right now looking at it, I suppose we’re going to have McKinley versus Mooney in the primary,” said House Minority Whip Shawn Fluharty, D-Ohio. “Did they have any input into the drawing of this map?”
“I don’t know. I’ve never talked to them,” Billings said. “I know that I have never, ever talked with Mooney.”
“I don’t think many people have,” Fluharty said.
After the House met Tuesday afternoon, the bill was read a first time. The House congressional map will be on second reading today and the Senate congressional map will be on third reading with right to amend. The Joint Committee on Redistricting is having a public hearing this morning for public input on congressional and statehouse maps.