Indiana’s current U.S. House split—seven Republicans and two Democrats—would be further entrenched for the next decade in maps the state House passed Thursday.
The incumbent-favoring bill (H.B. 1581) largely keeps intact districts that Republicans effectively gerrymandered in 2011 to produce the current split. The only major change was the removal of a section of Marion county from the 5th Congressional District, adding more Republican-favoring turf to the area represented by Rep. Victoria Spartz(R), who won by four points in 2020.
During the floor debate, Republicans emphasized that the plan would keep towns and counties together. Democratic opponents said their party could expect roughly 22% of congressional seats despite carrying 44% of the votes in statewide elections.
Rep. Ed DeLaney (D) said that strengthening districts of four U.S. House members who voted against approving the results of the 2020 presidential election (Reps. Jim Baird, Jim Banks, Greg Pence, and Jackie Walorski) was “embarrassing.”
“You’re giving them a free ride to Washington,” he said. “They’re good Republicans; they’re bad Americans. And we’re going to give them a pass.”
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“Approximately 90% of all Indiana county commissioners are Republican,” said Majority Floor Leader Matt Lehman (R). “This is about policy, not politics. These are good maps.”
The bill was passed on a vote of 67 to 31. House Speaker Todd Huston (R) said he anticipates passage in the state Senate next week, and he’s preparing to hold a concurrence vote in the state House next Friday.