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Congressional redistricting sends
 challengers scrambling

Richard D. L. Fulton

(2/16) The division of Frederick County into two newly redefined legislative districts has created a flurry of activity among republicans after upper Frederick County falls under a Democrat representative.

Governor Martin O'Malley signed a proposal that redistricted existing congressional districts in the state on October 20, 2011. The new districts take effect as of the 2012 election.

The governor stated previously that he felt the redistricting would enhance "minority voting rights, (and) pays exceptional attention to respecting natural and political boundaries, and results in districts that are compact, contiguous, and protects communities."

The redistricting measure divides Frederick County into two congressional districts.

U.S. House Representative Roscoe G. Bartlett previously presided over all of Frederick County as part of the soon-to-be modified District 6.

The redistricting reduced Barlett’s District 6 jurisdiction in Frederick County to south county and Frederick City, as well as portions of Allegany, Garrett, Montgomery, and Washington counties.

The remaining bulk of Frederick County was assigned to District 8, including the towns of Emmitsburg and Thurmont, as well as portions of Carroll and Montgomery counties.

Under this reconfiguration, Democrat Chris Van Hollen, Jr. became District 8’s representative, to the dismay of the new district’s strong Republican constituency.

Although the measure was court-approved, Lisa Wright, spokeswoman for Representative Bartlett’s office stated that the redistricting effectively "disenfranchises rural Marylanders (Frederick County inclusive)."

To counter Representative Van Hollen, Jr.’s newly acquired grip on northern Frederick County, four Republicans have registered to run in the primary, including Gus Alzona, Bethesda, Shelly Skolnick, Silver Spring, Ken Timmerman, Rockville, and Dave Wallace, Manchester.

Added to the mix are George Gluck, Green Party, Rockville, and George English, Democrat, Silver Spring.

All Republican and Democrat candidates will be up for voter selection in the April 3 Primary Election to determine which party candidates will go on to the November 6 general Election.

The winners will then be joined by Green Party member Gluck to contest the seat.

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