In the 33-seat Senate, Republicans would hold 23 seats under Huffman’s amendment, compared to 20 in the Democratic proposal, he said.
The amendment passed 5-2, with only Republican support.
Huffman then moved for the commission to adopt the map proposal, as amended, as the new official state district maps.
House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes, D-Akron, delivered an emotional statement in opposition.
“I recognize that the men in the majority party on this commission have never had ancestors who had to fight for their access to basic human rights that others had just because they were born,” she said. The Republican proposal “summarily and arrogantly” devalues votes like hers and rejects the voter-approved requirement for districts to proportionately match electoral results from the previous decade, she said.
Those results give Republicans a majority of about 54%, but they currently hold supermajorities in both houses.
Gov. Mike DeWine speaks outside his statehouse office about ongoing negotiations for new state House and Senate district maps on the evening of Sept. 15.
Credit: Jim Gaines
Credit: Jim Gaines
Co-chair Sen. Vernon Sykes, D-Akron, said he was disappointed to see this outcome.
“I am just astounded by the arrogance of the supermajority, having such a callous disregard for the people of the state,” he said
Sykes would love to approve a map that would last for a decade, but could not vote for one he considered so unfair, he said.
All three statewide Republican officeholders on the commission expressed discomfort with the outcome, but supported it anyway.
“Though our votes are different I share the deep disappointment that co-chair Sykes just expressed,” Secretary of State Frank LaRose said.
He, too, wanted a 10-year map created through bipartisan compromise, he said.
“Not enough members of this commission wanted to come along with that effort,” LaRose said. “I’m casting my yes vote with great unease.”
Earlier in the evening, Gov. Mike DeWine told reporters that he was willing to break the midnight deadline to secure a bipartisan compromise. Near midnight, he acknowledged that he was wrong to think that was possible.
“I am deeply disappointed at where we are tonight,” DeWine said. “I know that this committee could’ve produced a more clearly constitutional bill.”
After talking to Democratic and Republican legislative leaders, it was clear no agreement would be reached, he said.
“We know that this matter will be in court,” DeWine said.
Auditor Keith Faber said he, LaRose and DeWine spent hours trying to find common ground between the parties, and that he still believed it could have been done in private with more time. But to meet the deadline, “this is as good as it’s going to get today,” Faber said.
The amended map would create 23 “competitive” districts, in which the partisan breakdown is within 10 percentage points, he said: 12 leaning Democratic and 11 leaning Republican.
“If you’re striving for competitiveness that’s pretty darn good,” Faber said.
The maps as amended by Huffman’s proposal also passed by a 5-2 party-line vote. Under the constitutional amendment Ohio voters approved in 2015, maps approved without minority party support will have to be redrawn in four years.
Republicans and Democrats then submitted differing takes on whether the approved maps meet the requirement to reflect the state’s overall partisan breakdown, as shown by the previous decade’s election results. The commission finally adjourned half an hour into Thursday.