Toledo and Lucas County would be divided into three congressional districts under a new map unveiled by Ohio House Republicans Tuesday and on a fast track to passage.
The 9th Congressional District, represented by U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Toledo, would lose big parts of its Lucas County base and turn into a narrow string of communities extending to Cleveland -- potentially setting up a primary battle between Kaptur and Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Cleveland.
U.S. Rep. Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green, would take over all of western Lucas County and parts of West and South Toledo.
U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, would have to learn his way around downtown Toledo, which would become part of his sprawling district, along with the south end, north end, most of East Toledo, most of Oregon, and part of Jerusalem Township.
The bill was introduced Tuesday and discussed at a hearing of the House State Government and Elections Committee.
Kaptur blasted the GOP-drawn lines as designed to protect GOP incumbents at the expense of Lucas County.
"Their map achieved one thing -- Republican incumbent protection statewide. For the first time since the Civil War, a Toledo-centered congressional district has been eliminated by the Republican Party. Since the Civil War, we (Toledo) have been at the center of a district. The most populous city in northwest Ohio has now been hacked up," Miss Kaptur said.
Noting how her district follows the Lake Erie shoreline through Lucas, Ottawa, Erie, Lorain and Cuyahoga counties, split into two pieces by Sandusky Bay, she joked, "I'm looking at used boats right now."
She said other communities in the district, all the way to Cleveland, have been "hacked up" as well.
"What a tragedy for communities in northern Ohio hurting in this economy," Kaptur said.
She noted that the state tends to vote 50-50 in presidential contests, which is why Ohio is one of a handful of "battleground" states. However, the districts are drawn to produce three Republicans for every Democrat.
Latta's 5th District, which now stretches more than halfway across the state, would become more compact. If approved, it will contain, in addition to part of Lucas County, all of Wood, Hancock, Fulton, Henry, Williams, Defiance, Paulding, Van Wert and Putnam counties, and parts of Wyandot, Hardin and Mercer counties.
Latta currently represents the southwest corner of Lucas County. He would take over the rest of western Lucas County, as well as Ottawa Hills, Sylvania, Sylvania Township, Springfield Township, West Toledo as far as Jackman Road, Maumee and much of South Toledo.
Jordan's district surrenders Hancock County to Latta, but will include Seneca and Sandusky counties and part of Ottawa County for the first time. In addition to part of Lucas County, the 4th District also would include all of Allen, Auglaize, Crawford, Logan, Shelby and Champaign counties, and parts of Erie, Wyandot, Huron, Hardin, Marion, Mercer and Clark counties.
In Lucas County, Jordan would represent most of Oregon, part of Jerusalem Township, East Toledo, downtown Toledo and parts of North and South Toledo.
Latta and Jordan could not be reached for comment.
No political price
Jordan has emerged as a leader of the Tea Party faction in the U.S. House and headed a group that opposed House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, on the recent deal to raise the national debt. Speculation that Jordan would pay a political price for opposing Boehner has proved to be unfounded.
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