Proposed Maine Senate redistricting could yield small – and large – Midcoast changes

Fri, 09/17/2021 - 9:30am

    AUGUSTA — Democrats and Republicans in the Maine Senate have released proposed changes to the landscape of the Maine Senate districts ahead of the November 2022 elections, reflecting the latest data from the U.S. Census. 

    The proposed changes could either result in small or large changes to the local senate district landscape, depending on how the compromises shake out. 

    The Legislature’s Apportionment Commission is scheduled to hold a public hearing on both the Democrats’ and Republicans’ proposed Senate maps Monday, Sept. 20 at 9 a.m. The meeting will be held remotely and streamed live here.

    Proposals for the House redistricting process was not released Thursday evening. 

    Democrats’ Proposal

    Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, noted, in a news release, redrawing the Senate map is “always challenging” and called the Senate Democrats’ proposal a “fair, commonsense proposal that accurately reflects changes in Maine’s population.” (Click here to see the proposed new map.)

    President Jackson noted his party will continue to negotiate with Senate Republicans in “good faith” as the process continues. 

    The most notable proposed change would be switching up the district numbers.

    Locally, what is currently District 11 (represented by Senator Chip Curry) is slated to become known as District 9, the current District 12 (represented by Senator David Miramant) would change to District 10 and what is now District 13 (represented by Senator Chloe Maxmin) would be known as District 21. 

    Looking at proposed changes that would impact communities in Knox and Waldo counties (plus Waldoboro of Lincoln County), only one community is proposed to be on the move. Isle au Haut is proposed to leave what is currently known as Sen. Miramant’s District 12 (some towns in District 12 include Rockland, Camden and Rockport) and move to what is presently District 7 (current towns include Ellsworth, Mount Desert Island and Bar Harbor). 

    And, one area Senate District is gaining a member: Verona Island, currently in what is known as District 8, would join what is now known as Sen. Curry’s District 11. 

    The news release from Jackson touted under the proposal 63 percent of Mainers would have the same state senator (should their senator be re-elected), no incumbent would be forced to run against another sitting incumbent and only eight percent of Mainers would have new representation based only on new district lines on the Democrats’ proposed map. 

    Republicans’ Proposal

    Republicans also released their proposed Senate redistricting Thursday, but did not offer statements to the media on their proposed changes. (Click here to see the proposed new map.

    Republicans propose renumbering what is now known as Senate District 13 to Senate District 25, a district that would be made up of all Lincoln County communities plus Windsor of Kennebec County. Under this proposed change, the Town of Washington would exit the district. 

    Also proposed is renumbering Senate District 11 to Senate District 27, a district that would be exclusively be made up of Waldo County communities, the same way the district currently is designed. 

    Republicans eye splitting what is presently Senate District 12 into two separate districts. 

    Appleton, Camden, Criehaven, Cushing, Friendship, Hope, Matinicus Isle Plantation, Muscle Ridge Islands, Owls Head, Rockland, Rockport, St. George, South Thomaston, Thomaston, Union, Warren and Washington would all become Senate District 26. 

    Isle au Haut, North Haven and Vinalhaven, under the proposal, would shift to Senate District 31 with many Hancock County communities such as Bar Harbor, Ellsworth and Mount Desert Island.