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U.S. Rep. Peters Gets the Squeeze in GOP Redistricting Plan

Democrat incumbent likely forced to face veteran Congressman Sander Levin in merged district.

Michigan’s overall population loss outlined in the 2010 U.S. Census may claim U.S. Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Hills) his seat in Congress.

Under a Republican plan to change district boundaries, the two-term incumbent would be squeezed into the same congressional district as U.S. Rep. Sander Levin (D-Royal Oak).  Reapportionment happens every 10 years following the release of U.S. Census data. Michigan, the only state to lose population in the past decade, was poised to lose a congressional seat, but exactly where wasn’t clear until details of the plan were released Friday.

The sitting congressmen blasted the plan in a joint statement released today.

“Voters in Michigan have never before faced such a shamelessly partisan redrawing of congressional boundaries," the statement said. "Instead of drawing fair lines that follow community and county borders in a logical way, the Republican legislature has drafted a map so skewed that it exploits every trick in the book to gerrymander districts in ways that benefit Republican incumbents."

It’s unclear if Peters would challenge Levin, who has served nearly three decades in Congress and is currently the ranking Democrat on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.

But State Rep. Tom McMillin, R-Rochester , said the changes reflect growth trends over the past decade more than politics. He will still represent Rochester and Rochester Hills, but loses part of Oakland Township under the proposal.

"I knew I was going to lose a little of Oakland Township, and it makes logical sense with the growth this area experienced," McMillin said Friday night. "I think the plan looks reasonable."

Frank Houston, chairman of the Oakland County Democratic Party, disagreed.

“The redistricting proposal put forward by Republican leaders today, probably represents the most overt attempt to gerrymander for partisan advantage our state has ever seen,” he said in a statement.

Houston also alluded to the possibility that, with the breakup of Oakland County into several Congressional districts, there may not be a Congress member elected from Oakland County.

Democrats from the State House are expected to unveil their proposed maps on Monday, the day before House Redistricting Committee is expected to consider the Republican’s proposal.  Any proposal could be challenged in court, but state law dictates that the redistricting process must be complete by Nov. 1.

Here’s how the proposed changes impact Bloomfield and Bloomfield Hills:

Congress

Now:  Peters serves District 9, which stretches from Farmington Hills and Waterford to the east to Rochester Hills and Troy to the west. Included are the cities of Royal Oak, Birmingham, Pontiac and Rochester.

As proposed: Oakland County would be broken into four congressional districts (8, 9, 11 and 14).

  • District 9 would include Royal Oak, Ferndale, Berkley, Huntington Woods and Bloomfield Township.
  • District 8 would include Rochester and Rochester Hills and the rest of the northern half of the county (from Oakland and Addison townships west to Holly and Rome townships). District 8 is currently led by Congressman Mike Rogers, a Republican.
  • District 11 would almost encircle the southern half of the county and include everything from Clawson and Troy to Bloomfield Hills and Birmingham west to Milford and south to Canton.
  • District 14 would include Farmington Hills (but not Farmington — that would be in District 11) as well as West Bloomfield, Pontiac, Southfield and parts of Wayne County.
 

State House

Now: State Rep. Chuck Moss, R-Birmingham, represents Franklin, Bingham Farms, Beverly Hills, Southfield Township, Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield Township, Sylvan Lake, Keego Harbor and Orchard Lake Village.

As proposed: Both Bloomfield Hills and Bloomfield Township would be in the 40th District, along with Birmingham and a large swath of West Bloomfield.

State Senate

Now: The 13th District covers the majority of Bloomfield Township, all of Bloomfield Hills, Birmingham, Troy, Clawson and Royal Oak.

As proposed: Bloomfield Hills would remain part of the 13th District, represented by State. Sen.  John Pappageorge, R-Troy. He is in his final term due to term limits.

Bloomfield Township would be in the 12th District, which would run from the northern section of Southfield and up through Oxford and Addison townships. The district is currently represented by State Sen. Jim Marleau, R-Orion Township.

For more on the reapportionment proposals, see House Bill 4780, which involves the congressional redistricting and House Bill 4779, which involves the state house and senate redistricting.

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