New Nebraska congressional map advances to final vote
Nebraska moved one step closer to getting new congressional and legislative boundaries after lawmakers advanced redrawn district maps to a final vote in the Legislature
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska moved one step closer to getting new congressional and legislative boundaries on Tuesday after lawmakers advanced redrawn district maps to a final vote in the Legislature.
Lawmakers moved the maps through the second of three required votes, despite complaints from some senators about a compromise struck last week.
The congressional map drew criticism from some Democratic lawmakers, who argued that it was designed to help Republicans in the Omaha-focused 2nd Congressional District, one of the few places in Nebraska where Democrats are competitive.
The district is also significant because Nebraska and Maine are the only two states that can split their Electoral College votes in presidential elections. Democrats Barack Obama and Joe Biden claimed one in 2008 and 2020, respectively, by winning the popular vote in the Omaha area.
“The congressional maps have decisions baked in that were political,” said Sen. John Cavanaugh, a Democrat in the officially nonpartisan Legislature.
The new map would keep Douglas County whole within the 2nd District, as Democrats had wanted. But it would also add rural, Republican-heavy Saunders County to the district while keeping in conservative-leaning Omaha suburbs in Sarpy County. Saunders County has traditionally been a part of the more conservative 1st Congressional District.
“Placing them into the 2nd Congressional District is done for one purpose, and it’s a partisan purpose,” said Sen. Steve Lathrop, a Democrat from Omaha.
Republicans have defended the change as a compromise for not splitting Douglas County, as they initially proposed to do. Sen. Mike Groene, of North Platte, railed against Nebraska’s vote-splitting system in presidential races and called for a citizen-led citizen drive to return the state to a winner-take-all process.
Some lawmakers also blasted new legislative maps with changes that would cut up parts of southern and western Lincoln and shift them into more rural districts.
Lawmakers are expected to give the maps final approval on Thursday.