GOP leader flames ‘mistakes’ told by other Missouri Senate members during redistricting | Politics
JEFFERSON CITY — With the Missouri Senate embroiled in a bitter fight over congressional redistricting, the chamber’s top Republican blamed the stalemate on Friday on the political ambitions of several senators.
President of the Senate Pro Tem Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, said St. Charles County Republicans are pushing for a congressional district that favors a candidate from St. Charles County. Separately, Schatz said, a St. Louis Democrat was aiming for the 1st Congressional District boundary, which would make it easier to challenge incumbent U.S. Representative Cori Bush.
Schatz’s comments were his sharpest yet on the behind-the-scenes maneuvers that have derailed much of the Senate’s business this session. They come as the upper house prepares to debate the Congressional map next week, the final week of action before lawmakers leave for a week of spring recess.
Schatz said the talk by GOP conservatives about dividing the state’s eight congressional districts so Republicans get a “7-1” advantage is a “mistake” that isn’t being discussed behind closed doors.
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Schatz said conservative hardliners would “sit down” and “shut up” if only presented with a “6-2” map that puts St. Charles County entirely within a single congressional district.
“It’s obvious,” Schatz said. “Here’s the thing. … St. Charles County obviously has 400,000 people. In a congressional seat that has 796,000 people, if a county has 350,000 to 400,000 people all in one congressional district, where do you think that person will be elected?
“If you gave them St. Charles (county) entirely in a congressional district, these people would sit down, vote and shut up,” Schatz said, adding that it creates problems for other stakeholders.
Onder, who announced a campaign for St. Charles County executive this year, denied wanting a St. Charles County-based district to advance his political ambitions.
Schatz said Onder and Eigel received maps containing 60% of St. Charles County, but rejected those versions.
“Any proposed map that divides St. Charles has been rejected,” Schatz said. “There have been cards that have been offered with a 60-40 split. They don’t want a 60-40 split. Now a little split…10%.
“Forty to 50,000 people could be separated from St. Charles,” Schatz said. “And they rejected anything that doesn’t reflect, you know, what they want in Saint-Charles.”
Onder said Thursday that the senator. Andrew KoenigR-Manchester, trying to bridge the gap between the two camps, worked on “three or four dozen cards” which Onder said “I could live with”.
“Only to have that kind of slaughter,” Onder said.
He said the Senate leadership had rejected the “6-2” cards offered by his hardline GOP faction.
Roberts for Congress?
Schatz, who is one of the six leading Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate this year, said the map with the most support among stakeholders is contained in House Bill 2117, which authorized the lower house January 19.
But Schatz said the card was meeting opposition from Onder, Eigel and Sen. Denny Hoskin, R-Warrensburg; Hoskins wants to keep the state’s two military bases in the 4th congressional district.
Schatz said another “hurdle” is the senator. steven robert, D-St. Louis, who wants to change the lines of the 1st congressional district to place Webster Groves-area voters in the 2nd. He said Roberts’ position was tied to his plan to run against Congresswoman Bush in the Aug. 2 primary.
“Steve Roberts wants… fewer Cori Bush voters, to be quite honest,” Schatz told the Post-Dispatch on Friday. “Right. I mean, if Steve Roberts is showing up against Cori Bush, why do you think he would want to switch cards?
“Because he wants to get rid of the darker, bluer areas that are strong Cori Bush supporters, and he wants to put them in the 2nd District,” Schatz said.
“That’s completely untrue,” Roberts said in an interview Friday. “My goal has been to ensure that we have a 1st congressional district that has the most majority and the most minority representation.
“The numbers and the data all confirm that minority populations are moving west and north, as opposed to west and south,” Roberts said, adding that this was “a uniform position of the Black Caucus”.
“It seems to me that Senator Schatz is going after it because he is unable to control his own caucus and embrace these cards,” Roberts said.
Seth Bundy, spokesman for Senate Democrats, said Democrats are not delaying the vote on the Congressional map. And he said black House lawmakers also offered to move voters from Webster Groves to 2nd.
He suggested that Schatz had a problem with black lawmakers having a say in the maps and that the GOP leader shouldn’t expect Black Caucus members to vote for a map they don’t support. .
“It’s not about the majority minority district,” Schatz said. “It’s about: How can he (Roberts) dilute Cori Bush’s support enough so he can run and defeat her in Congress?”
Applications for the August 2 primary close on March 29. When asked when he would make a decision on whether to file for Congress, Roberts asked, “Is it registered or not?”
Told it was on file, Roberts said: ‘Right now I’m concentrating on my legislative duties. You know, we make sure we have a map that will maintain majority-minority representation.
Chaos in the Senate
The Senate suspended formal debate on the Congressional map on Feb. 12 for behind-the-scenes negotiations and for the chamber to move forward on other priorities.
Onder said he expected the cards to be up for debate on Wednesday.
“Last night I slept for about 12 hours anticipating today’s cards,” he said.
Instead, the chamber again broached an unrelated topic Wednesday night: extending Medicaid coverage for new moms from 60 days to one year.
The measure, which supporters hope will reduce the maternal mortality rate, has won bipartisan support and support from interest groups disparate like Pro-Choice Missouri and Missouri Right to Life.
The continued expansion of Medicaid, said Onder, who moved to attach an amendment banning Planned Parenthood funds. Democrats have called the action a “poison pill,” while other Republicans have said they are already banning the funds through other legislation. The More Medicaid for Moms Bill has been introduced.
The atmosphere in the Senate seemed to deteriorate overnight, with Sen. Holly ThompsonRehderR-Sikeston, speaking Thursday morning to blast Onder and others for delaying aid to new mothers.
“I was a pregnant teenager at 15,” Rehder said. “My mum told me that I had made my bed; I had to lie in it. And I did. I took care of myself and I did well.
“At 15, I had to walk to the county health department for my monthly pregnancy checkups,” she said. “I walked pregnant through the city.”
She quoted state statistics on Missouri’s maternal mortality rate – 33 deaths per 100,000 live births – and that 82% of deaths were considered preventable.
“The sideshow took away an incredibly important bill,” Rehder said. “You can try to label it by expanding Medicaid, you can try to label it by giving things to people who don’t deserve it.
“Maybe people who haven’t been in these shoes can’t walk in them,” Rehder said.
Onder and Sen. mike moonR-Ash Grove, then accused the GOP leadership of skipping school Wednesday morning to get to the golf course.
Onder and Schatz exchanged words Thursday in a Senate hallway after the chamber abruptly adjourned for the week.
“When people talk about wasting time debating something as important as the redistricting of Congress and then taking half a day to play golf, I think there’s a problem with that,” he said. Onder said afterwards.
Schatz fired Onder on Friday for bringing up his golf game in the Senate. He said he had no committee meeting on Wednesday morning, that there was no business in the Senate that morning while other committees were hearing bills, and that he was back in his office by 12:30 p.m. for his first meeting of the day. .
“They talk about wasting time,” Schatz said. “I can’t believe these guys are worried about wasting time when obviously that’s all they did yesterday, and that’s all they did to… do filibuster for a position, that’s fine.
“Obviously Mike Moon is someone who read for hours with a book about him being chastised for wearing overalls,” Schatz said. “I can’t believe these guys are complaining about (wasting) their time.”
Schatz was referring to a filibuster Moon launched after Schatz removed him from Senate committees for showing up to the Senate wearing overalls.
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