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Oregon approves first new state congressional map after 2020 census

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed redistricting bills passed by the legislature Monday. Photo by Governor Kate Brown/Twitter
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed redistricting bills passed by the legislature Monday. Photo by Governor Kate Brown/Twitter

Sept. 28 (UPI) -- Oregon is the first state to approve a new congressional map after the 2020 census, CNN reported.

Gov. Kate Brown signed off on bills to make the new map official the same day lawmakers passed them to meet a deadline the Oregon Supreme Court set earlier this year to complete the redistricting process. The deadline the state's highest court set gave state officials nearly three extra months to complete the process after U.S. Census Bureau delays.

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Oregon gained one House seat ahead of the 2022 midterm election, along with Florida, North Carolina, Colorado, and Montana, and Texas gained two based on the once-in-a-decade Census Bureau data upon which the district maps are redrawn. On the other hand, New York, California, West Virginia, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan each lost a seat.

"For the first time in 40 years, Oregon is gaining a congressional seat -- another delegation member to advocate for the common good of all Oregonians," Brown said in a statement after signing the redistricting bills.

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"Redistricting is a process that necessarily involves compromise, and I appreciate the legislature working to balance the various interests of all Oregonians," Brown added.

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The new map creates three extremely safe Democratic House seats and one seat leaning in their favor, one extra safe Republican seat, and another seat that's a 50-50 tie as far as how voters have voted since 2015, according to The Oregonian/OregonLive.

Democrats amended the map to secure some Republican support before it passed.

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The original map would have given Democrats five seats in the U.S. House that they were almost certain to win and Republicans one such seat, The Oregonian reported.

Still, the redistricting bill passed mostly along Democratic party lines.

Rep. Suzanne Weber, R-Tillamook, told the Oregonian that 16 of 23 Republicans to provide the quorum Democrats needed showed up at the Capitol Monday out of fear that if they didn't show up Democratic Secretary of State Shemia Fagan would draw the map more beneficial to her party.

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Republicans had boycotted a Saturday House floor session to prevent passage of the maps after House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland, broke a deal she made earlier this year to share redistricting power in exchange for Republicans dropping delay tactics.

House Republican Minority Leader Christine Drazan made a motion after the chamber passed the redistricting maps to censure Kotek for breaking the deal.

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Drazan has previously called the redistricting maps "gerrymandered," referring to the process of manipulating the boundaries to favor a particular party.

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"Clearly they're determined to adopt a gerrymandered congressional map for the state of Oregon," Drazan told The Hill last week. "These maps clearly absolutely are incumbency protection maps that are intended to benefit the Democratic Party. There's no getting around it."

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