Sununu vows to veto proposed New Hampshire congressional maps

By Christian Wade | The Center Square

Republican Gov. Chris Sununu says he will veto proposed maps for New Hampshire’s two congressional districts amid claims they’ve been “gerrymandered” in the GOP’s favor.

On Thursday, the state Senate voted 13-11 to approve a redistricting plan that included major changes to the congressional districts. The House had previously approved the plans.

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New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu

But lawmakers brushed aside Sununu’s recommended changes to the congressional maps. He issued a statement shortly after it passed saying he won’t sign it.

“The proposed congressional redistricting map is not in the best interest of New Hampshire and I will veto it as soon as it reaches my desk,” Sununu said. “The citizens of this state are counting on us to do better.”

The new maps, which were created by the Legislature’s GOP majority, would make the 1st Congressional District more Republican by shifting several GOP-leaning communities – including Salem, Hudson and Windham – into the district.

Meanwhile, it would make the 2nd Congressional District slightly more Democratic by including several Democratic-leaning communities, including Portsmouth, Rochester and Dover.

The 1st District is currently represented by Democrat Chris Pappas, while the 2nd District is represented by Democrat Annie Kuster. Both are facing challenges in next year’s midterm elections when Republicans will be seeking to regain control of Congress.

New Hampshire GOP Chairman Steve Stepanek caused a stir earlier this year when he “guaranteed” the state would elect a Republican to Congress in 2022 after redistricting.

Republicans argue that the changes will make the districts more competitive, by updating congressional boundaries that haven’t changed in years.

But Democrats and good government groups accuse GOP lawmakers of “institutionalized corruption” by carving up the state’s political boundaries in their favor.

“New Hampshire has a proud history of fair and competitive elections,” Kuster said in a statement on Thursday. “These maps fly in the face of that honored tradition.”

Devon Chaffee, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire, praised Sununu for his pledge to veto the congressional maps and called on him to also reject proposed districts for the state Senate, House and Executive Council, “which are also each gerrymandered.”

“Every Granite State voice should be heard equally in both our federal and state elections, and it should be the voters themselves who choose their politicians,” Chaffee said.

Images courtesy of Facebook/Gov. Chris Sununu and Public domain
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