Redistricting Rumble: Missouri Senate holds marathon debate on congressional maps

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| Photo courtesy of The Missouri Times

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Senate’s anticipated contentious debate on congressional redistricting is underway — and in the midst of a long week. 

HB 2117, which was amended during a Senate hearing in late January to include an emergency clause, was brought to the floor shortly after 5 p.m. Monday. The Senate did not adjourn until about 12:30 a.m. Wednesday. 

Supporters of that map say it favors Republicans with six of Missouri’s eight congressional seats. But conservative detractors accuse it of being a “Biden/Pelosi map” and are holding out for a 7-1 version

Republican Sen. Mike Cierpiot pushed back on the “Biden/Pelosi map” narrative, noting House Democrats had rejected that proposal. He also said Republicans should be “careful” with drawing a 7-1 map that could be detrimental to the GOP in the future. 

Cierpiot said “most importantly,” senators should draw a “sustainable” map. 

It’s important to note: It’s not just conservative senators who have filibustered. Democrats, too, are unhappy with how CD 1 is drawn and held the floor for much of early Tuesday morning.

So what’s happening now? 

As session resumed Wednesday at noon, Sen. Bob Onder quickly grabbed the floor. 

Onder asked Sen. Caleb Rowden if he would ever support a PQ. Rowden said nothing is off the table.

Debate on the map had been ongoing for about 31 hours before it halted. At 12:20 a.m., Wednesday, the Senate stood adjourned. At this time, there was a lack of action toward compromise on the maps.

Rowden’s 6-2 map moot 

Senate Majority Floor Leader Caleb Rowden proposed a version he said is a compromise and will “bridge the gap.” He said it’s a strong 6-2 map that will make CD 2 four points stronger for Republicans.

This version put all of Jefferson County in the 2nd district, all of Franklin County in the 3rd district, and most of Lincoln County in the 6th district. Vernon and Taney counties would be split. Boone County would also remain in one congressional district.

However, Fort Leonard Wood and Whiteman Air Force Base would not be in the same congressional district under this version.

After several hours on the floor, Rowden requested a standing vote and his proposal survived 22-5 with Sens. Denny Hoskins, Bill Eigel, Bob Onder, Paul Wieland, and Rick Brattin the five against it.

However, Rowden’s proposal was an amendment to an amendment — and Sen. Steven Roberts quickly withdrew his underlying amendment.

This vote occurred at about the 24-hour mark in the debate.

Conservative 7-1 map defeated

An amendment from Sen. Bill Eigel, a Conservative Caucus member, would have redrawn the map to favor Republicans with seven districts.

It failed in an 8-24 vote Monday night. Aside from Eigel, only Sens. Rick Brattin, Eric Burlison, Denny Hoskins, Andrew Koenig, Mike Moon, Bob Onder, and Paul Wieland voted for it.

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