Ken de la Bastide: Ken de la Bastide column: GOP maps protecting Spartz, Rowray

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Sep. 18—For the next decade, it's likely the Indiana Republican Party will continue to dominate the Indiana General Assembly and the state's Congressional delegation.

The district maps for the next decade for seats in the Indiana House and the Congressional districts were released and it appears there were several winners when it comes to Madison County.

The Senate district maps will be released next week, and local political followers are closely watching the districts of Democrat Tim Lanane and Republican Mike Gaskill.

An unknown at this point in time will a lawsuit be filed, as has been done in other states, to challenge the maps. A fight that will be difficult to win.

Although the district maps have not been voted on, their adoption appears to be a mere formality with Republicans holding supermajorities in both chambers of the Indiana General Assembly.

Republican Victoria Spartz was a big winner in the 5th Congressional District.

The proposed maps took out the parts of the district that included Marion County and added to the district all of Delaware and Howard counties.

What is significant about the new map is that Spartz's opponent in 2020, Democrat Christina Hale, is no longer a resident of the district.

Hale had significant financial support during her campaign. By eliminating Marion County, the House Republicans took away a possible run for a second time against Spartz.

It also combined the strong Democratic areas of Muncie and Anderson in a district that will be dominated by the vote in the rural counties. For good measure, the swing city of Kokomo was included in the district.

Former candidate Dee Thornton resides in Hamilton County and could mount a third campaign. Former State Rep. Melanie Wright is considering a run for the federal office.

First-term Republican lawmaker Elizabeth Rowray also gets a boost from the new district maps.

The 35th District no longer includes the city of Muncie and picks up strong GOP areas in Madison County.

The district is shaped like an "L," picking up Jackson and Stony Creek townships in the county.

With the retirement of Republican Tony Cook in the 32nd District, a district which was moved to Marion County, it means the northern three Madison County townships will be in District 31, represented by Ann Vermillion of Grant County.

Republican Bob Cherry's 53rd House District was scaled back in this county, keeping Fall Creek Township and losing Stony Creek Township to Rowray, Adams Township to Austin, and Green Township.

Green Township is now proposed to be in District 88, represented by Chris Jeters. That district is mostly located in Hamilton County.

Indiana residents and Democrats have the next decade to make a non-partisan commission to draw future maps a reality.

Senior Reporter Ken de la Bastide's column publishes Saturdays. Contact him at ken.delabastide@heraldbulletin.com or 765-640-4863.

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