In court documents related to all three legislative redistricting lawsuits against the state, GOP members of the Ohio Redistricting Commission had very little to say on the matter.
The parties challenging the General Assembly redistricting maps approved in September, including the League of Women Voters, the Ohio Organizing Collaborative and a group of Ohio residents, were asking for documents and statements related to the decision making and process of approving the maps.
Commission co-chair and House Speaker Bob Cupp, Senate President Matt Huffman, Gov. Mike DeWine, Auditor Keith Faber and Secretary of State Frank LaRose kept mum, citing privileges such as attorney-client, legislative and even gubernatorial for a majority of requests made by the challenging groups.
The organizations and Ohioans were seeking information in the ongoing court cases related to compensation for services in creating the maps, anyone who communicated with members of the commission about proposed maps (both Republican and Democratic), measures through which the map criteria were determined, any meetings between commission members and the timeline for the drafting of a statement released after the maps were approved explaining how the commission determined statewide voter preferences in drawing the maps.
Both Cupp and Huffman objected to nearly all statements and documents requested, including those that asked for explanations on how the commission determined if the plan complied with the Ohio Constitution or whether it favored or disfavored a political party.
In documents submitted to the Ohio Supreme Court, Cupp said he and unspecified others “negotiated with all the members of the commission, including the Democratic members, in order to reach a compromise 10-year plan, but those negotiations did not produce a compromise 10-year plan because the Democratic members would not modify their proposals to move toward the plan introduced by the Commission even thought the enacted plan moved towards the plans proposed by the Democratic members of the commission."
Currently, Republicans hold a 64-35 supermajority in the Ohio House, and a 25-8 supermajority in the Ohio Senate. Republicans said the maps for the House and Senate approved last month reduced the GOP stronghold with a House breakdown of 62 seats to 37 Dems, and 23 to 10 in the Senate. Dave's Redistricting App projects a 65-seat GOP supermajority in the House. In an average of the last 16 statewide elections not including non-partisan judicial races, Republicans have won a 54% to 46% advantage. Democrats' proposed maps would've given them 42 House seats to 58 GOP seats and 13 Senate seats to 20 GOP seats.
Huffman echoed Cupp's statement about attempted compromise with the Democrats, and said he communicated about the plans with members of his staff, members of the commission, GOP caucus budget director Ray DiRossi and Democratic caucus mapmaking consultant Chris Glassburn, House Republican staffer Blake Springhetti, DeWine, LaRose, Faber, Cupp, state senator and commission co-chair Vernon Sykes and House Minority Leader (and commission member) Emilia Sykes.
The Senate president also maintains his past defense that the maps he supported and which were approved by the commission “complied with all the mandatory requirements of the Ohio Constitution."
Democrats have said in court documents and publicly that they did not feel included in the redistricting process by the majority-Republican commission, and that the approved legislative map is not sufficient.
Fellow commission members DeWine, Faber and LaRose denied involvement in drawing commission maps or drafting the statement of statewide voter preferences, and balked at insinuations that they knew maps were approved after the deadline.
The League of Women Voters asked DeWine to admit that the Ohio Redistricting Commission voted to adopt the legislative maps after midnight, making the approval effective Sept. 16, not on the constitutional deadline of Sept. 15.
“On the evening of Sept. 15, 2021, the Governor was focused on doing his job as a member of the Ohio Redistricting Commission, not simply watching the clock," DeWine's response stated. “Thus, he did not keep track of the precise time Senate President Huffman's proposed amendment was introduced and what time the proposal was put to a vote."
A nearly-identical response turned up in Faber's and LaRose's answer to questions about the deadline passage.
When asked who he communicated with regarding the proposed maps, the governor said he “cannot possibly identify every individual that he has communicated with about the 9/9 or 9/16 plan."
“The Governor communicated with all members of the commission, the First Lady, the Lt. Governor, members of the Governor's staff including but not limited to members of his legal staff," attorneys for DeWine wrote.
The governor said he also communicated “via testimony and one personal meeting each at the request of their employers" with DiRossi and Glassburn, both of whom presented the proposed maps from their side of the political aisle.
LaRose also said it was burdensome to ask him to specify everyone he'd interacted with regarding redistricting, but did say he'd “attended several impromptu meetings with the knowledge of at least one Commission member in the first two weeks of September to discuss state legislative redistricting including attempting to obtain the votes needed for ten year general assembly district maps."
Asked who were involved in drafting or creating the proposed maps, GOP commission members objected as well, with DeWine and others emphasizing they'd had no hand in the drafting process.
“The Governor believes, based upon representation of others including public testimony, that Ray DiRossi was the primary map drawer of the proposed plan including amendments submitted by legislative Republicans, and Chris Glassburn was the primary map drawer of the plan submitted by legislative Democrats," DeWine's attorneys wrote.
DeWine, Huffman, Cupp, LaRose and Faber also had to provide depositions for the court cases, which occurred last week. Democratic commission members state Sen. Vernon Sykes and House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes were also subject to deposition, along with caucus map-makers DiRossi and Glassburn.
Oral arguments in front of the Ohio Supreme Court are scheduled for December.
Ohio Capital Journal is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Ohio Capital Journal maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor David DeWitt for questions: email@example.com. Follow Ohio Capital Journal on Facebook and Twitter.
These far-right intellectuals saw Trump's presidency as a 'trial balloon' -- and have much worse things planned
The New Republic has published a lengthy report about a group of far-right intellectuals who have now made undermining American democracy their primary goal -- with or without the help of former President Donald Trump.
As explained by author Laura Field, who currently serves as a senior fellow at the Niskanen Center, many of these pro-Trump intellectuals have been congregating at the Claremont Institute, where they push out polemical screeds that compare their political opponents to "zombies and human rodents."
One of the most notorious Claremont alums is John Eastman, the pro-Trump lawyer who wrote the infamous six-point plan to have Vice President Mike Pence reject certifying the results of the 2020 election.
Another Claremont fellow is Michael Anton, who wrote an essay called "The Flight 93 Election" in 2016 in which he said conservatives had to vote for Trump the same way passengers on Flight 93 had to charge against al-Qaeda hijackers lest they face the certain doom of a Hillary Clinton presidency.
And even though Trump is no longer in the White House, writes Field, these intellectuals think he has opened up doors for them that didn't exist before his presidency.
"These intellectuals have taken up Trump's illiberal baton with gusto," she writes. "For them, Trump was a trial balloon for what they hope will be an altogether more serious and deliberate political project."
Darryl Gilland and his girlfriend asked their landlord to come over to fix the heat, instead, Darryl ended up dead, reported the Daily Beast, citing the Kansas City Star.
It began when Gordon McBeth, 44, came over to the rental unit and the couple asked if they could use a space heater and that's when he "completely flipped," said the victim's girlfriend Samantha Pohlman. He was evidently angry that he had to "work" when he was on his day off.
Court documents say that McBeth stabbed Gilland more than 30 times after his girlfriend sent a message about the heat.
The couple had been together for five years and moved into the home together.
"At first, the guy was perfectly nice about it," Pohlman told KCTV. "He was like, 'yeah I'll come over and we'll do that' and then just out of nowhere he completely flipped and acted like we were asking too much and being a complete burden."
She said that McBeth pulled out a long knife that was in a sheath on his belt and started stabbing. Neighbors recalled "horrific screaming" from the couple's home. One neighbor rushed to the home seeing the attacker "on top" of Gilland continuing to stab him. Another neighbor pulled out a gun, holding him until police arrived, the court documents also said. Police recovered the knife from the scene.
"The guy said, 'If that's not good enough, I will kill you,' and then he pulled out a knife and started stabbing him," she told FOX4 KC. Gilland died in her arms. "I pet his head and I told him it was going to be OK and the ambulance was coming and that I loved him."
She remembered Gilland as a "sweet, nervous gentleman from the beginning" after they met online. The family called him a "Gentle giant."
Pohlman went on to recall how excited Gilland was when he got off of a call with his dad who had told him how proud he was. Speaking to the station with Gilland's girlfriend, the father began to cry saying he doesn't know what to do and he loved his son so much.
A GoFundMe page was set up because of the costs necessary to take Gilland's body to Indiana so he can be buried with his grandparents.
McBeth is being held on a $1 million bond.
Read the full report and see the Fox 14 interview below:
Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Raw Story Investigates and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.
$95 / year — Just $7.91/month
I want to Support More
$14.99 per month