Most County Legislators Like Redistrict Plan

December 04, 1991|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Staff writer

BALTIMORE — While hopes for an all-Carroll district in the General Assembly wereall but crushed here Monday, at least one county legislator smiles when he looks at the latest map that carves the state into 47 pieces.

"Politically, I have no problem with what was done," said Sen. Larry E. Haines, a Westminster Republican who will probably end up representing 101,000 people in Carroll as well as 5,500 mostly conservative folks in northwestern Howard County. "It will certainly help pave the way for my quest of the 6th Congressional District. Having that conservative exposure will help me, and it will keep all of my state district within the 6th."

Haines' desire to capture the seat held by Representative BeverlyB. Byron was not widely known until yesterday, but it makes more sense for the first-term senator to set his sights on the seat now that the 24,000 mostly Democratic Baltimore countians he represents may beshifted out of his district.

Haines' positive reaction to a redrawn map that has politicians in parts of Baltimore and in Howard and Baltimore counties scrambling for their political lifeline was shared by most of the people who represent Carroll in the state legislature.

"This is all politics after all," said Delegate Richard C. Matthews, a Hampstead Republican. "But I don't think they can hurt Carroll County."

Indeed, Carroll will share Western Maryland's largest district -- the 5th -- with Howard County, while the western sliver of the county will continue to share part of the 4th District with Frederick County. In both instances, Carroll's representation far outstripsthat of the other counties.

"Carroll will definitely elect four delegates," Matthews predicted last night, saying it is likely a Republican could win the open seat that will exist in the 5th District nowthat Delegate Lawrence A. LaMotte -- a Democrat who used to represent part of Carroll and Baltimore counties -- is out of Carroll's picture.

Should Gov. William Donald Schaefer adopt the map revealed here Monday by his Redistricting Advisory Committee, the political makeup of the county will change little, observers say.

Matthews, Delegate Richard N. Dixon and LaMotte's replacement -- along with Haines -- will represent the 5th District. And since about 101,000 Carroll residents make up the 106,500-member district, it is likely that Carroll politicians will be elected.

In District 4B -- a 33,000-residentarea that includes 22,000 countians -- Sen. Charles H. Smelser, a Democrat, and Delegate Donald B. Elliott, a Republican, will still represent the county.

"Of course this map is still good for the county," Dixon said. "But we still have enough people to make up an all-Carroll district."

The size of an "ideal" district is about 101,000 people. Most districts in the western part of the state have no more than 97,000.

Dixon, expressing dismay that Carroll still shares both of its General Assembly districts, also was distressed by a proposed flip-flop of Mount Airy into the 5th and Uniontown into 4B. Dixon and others in the delegation confirmed last night that it is likely that both Mount Airy and Uniontown will remain where they are now.

The map unveiled Monday faces two public hearings before the governor issues a final recommendation. The legislature has 45 days to alter the map.

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