New ‘perfectly balanced’ NH CD map puts Kuster and Pappas in same district

New Hampshire GOP State Rep. Ross Berry, Manchester, announced on Monday that he is offering a map to the House Redistricting Committee, a map he says meets all of the Democratic Party’s demands: it keeps communities intact, it keeps the population gap close to zero, and it creates competitive First Congressional District.

A small sticking point: this also places the two American representatives Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas in the same district.

“At our committee meeting on 4/25/2022, I will be presenting an amendment to the map proposed by Congress,” Berry wrote to committee chairwoman Rep. Barbara Griffin (R-Goffstown). “After listening to the concerns of interested parties and the public, I will propose the annex district.”

According to Berry, the two neighborhoods are “perfectly balanced”, both in terms of population and bipartisanship. The target population for each district is 688,765.5. According to the map proposed by Ross, the population of the first district is 688,770 (+4.5 people) and that of the second district is 688,759 (-5.5 people).

As for passing Gov. Chris Sununu’s now infamous “smell test” for partisanship, “This map reduces the Republican advantage of the map previously passed by the House by 2-3% in District 1,” said said Ross in his letter to the president. .

And, he notes, “President Trump would have lifted the First District by just 50.05% in 2o20…That puts District 1 on the line for both sides.”

As for the second district, Berry says that in a two-district state, partisan politics is a “zero-sum game,” but the district is more competitive than the previous version adopted by the legislature.

During last Friday’s testimony on Sununu’s proposed map – which was rejected by all committee members except progressive Democratic Rep. Tim Horrigan (D-Durham) – liberal activists like Liz Tentarelli of the League of Women Voters and Olivia Zink of Open Democracy Action told the committee they believe keeping counties, cities and towns intact should be a priority. The new map only divides two counties and does not divide a single town or city. It was much less than the Sununu card or the current card.

It also keeps the coastline intact, in the second district.

And, Berry said, he highlighted the I-93 corridor to show that his map also maintains the community of common economic interests.

“This map meets all the stated goals of the governor, the Democrats on the committee, and the interest groups who say they are committed to fair maps. It meets all the criteria,” Berry said.

The map also places the Republican candidates for the First District, Representatives Tim Baxter, Gail Huff Brown and Karoline Leavitt in the Second District.

In response to criticism of the cards’ impact on incumbents and candidates, Berry notes that candidates are not required to live in the district to run.

“My criteria are set out in my letter,” Berry said. “I did not take into account the holders or the candidates in my card. I don’t draw maps around politicians.

“The people of New Hampshire are counting on the House Select Committee on Redistricting to provide a map that holds our cardholders accountable and keeps our districts competitive. We are still not there,” Sununu said in a statement.

Jack L. Goldstein