JEFFERSON CITY — After several months of political jockeying and negotiations on a still unfinished congressional redistricting process in Missouri, one state senator has proposed taking those with personal stakes in the fight out of the process.
Sen. Lincoln Hough, a Springfield Republican, on Wednesday proposed a rule change in the chamber that would prohibit members who cast a vote on a new congressional map from running for a U.S. House seat in those new districts for four years after the map is passed.
The temporary ban is similar to one on citizens appointed to panels responsible for drawing new state House and Senate districts. Hough said his proposal would not apply to candidates already on the ballot in 2022.
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The proposal comes as lawmakers sit at an impasse on congressional redistricting, with the Senate thus far refusing to meet in conference with the House to iron out a compromise map after the House earlier rejected the Senate’s changes. Missouri is among the last states in the U.S. to finalize new districts based on updated Census data.
Several members of the body are actively running for Congress in the districts determined by the map.
Sens. Eric Burlison of Battlefield and Mike Moon of Ash Grove are both running for the Republican nomination in the southwest 7th district, which includes Hough’s hometown of Springfield. Moon requested on the Senate floor Wednesday that Hough clarify that the rule did not include those candidates already on the ballot for this election year and called the proposal a “surprise.”
Sen. Rick Brattin, a Harrisonville Republican, is running for the 4th district in mid-Missouri, and Sen. Steven Roberts of St. Louis is running against U.S. Rep. Cori Bush in the 1st district Democratic primary.
The changes in the Senate’s version of the map include several prominent changes to the suburbs outside the St. Louis metropolitan area, as well as lines dividing the cities of Columbia in mid-Missouri and Marshfield in southwest Missouri.
Former state Sen. Mike Cunningham, a Rogersville Republican, has publicly leveled blame at a group of Republicans in the chamber for the Marshfield split. He has called the Senate Conservative Caucus — of which Burlison, Moon and Brattin are members — the “selfish caucus” and accused them of influencing the district lines to personally benefit their campaigns.
Burlison and Moon have denied those accusations, calling Cunningham an ally of another former lawmaker who is also running for Congress.
Hough’s proposal would be referred to a Senate committee on rule changes and resolutions, which would take a vote before it goes to the full chamber for discussion.
Galen Bacharier covers Missouri politics & government for the News-Leader. Contact him at email@example.com, (573) 219-7440 or on Twitter @galenbacharier.