By a vote of 24-16, the state Senate concurred with a House plan to shuffle the state’s congressional districts. Senators reconvened Tuesday with the necessary votes to pass the last of the redistricting measures. However, leaders allowed the Democrat minority to have their final say, for the record. The Senate voted just before 6 p.m., after meeting for a little more than two hours. The vote came only hours after the House passed the plan with little debate.
The new 7th Congressional District will run from a large part of the Grand Strand and into the Pee Dee.
Senate President Pro Tem Glenn McConnell asked that opponents refrain from filibustering because the vote was already decided. On Tuesday, the group of 11 GOP senators who rebelled by sponsoring and passing a very different map sat silent, never speaking out on the floor at all.
Shane Massey (R-Edgefield) shrugged off the defeat, “I understand the legislative process, but I’m not a fan of this version.”
“The folks who came up with this compromise plan, if you will, they were smart. They picked off enough votes that they needed and they tried to deal with the primary objections that led to the Senate plan. I’m not mad with anybody. I understand how the legislative process works. Somebody’s going to get the bad and somebody’s going to get the good. Unfortunately, I’m the one that gets stuck with the bad, ” reflected Massey.
His contention is that the new plan undermines rural representation and splits Aiken away from neighboring Edgefield and Saluda counties.
However, Massey sees a positive in how the House and Senate came together to resolve the issue. He says, “Lots of people were on completely different planes before. The House and Senate often have difficult times coming together. The House and the Senate have come together on this.”
The approved measure must now pass federal review, and according to House member and attorney James Smith (D-Richland), the courts will look favorably on the new districts.
“It’ll be tougher to challenge a legislatively adopted plan. So what (Democrats) were thinking earlier today is that we might be an at impasse and the Senate would stick with a Beaufort-based district and the House would stick with an Horry County-based district. That impasse would require court intervention and we would have a court-drawn plan. But… the Senate has passed that Horry County-based plan. It will be a legislatively-adopted plan and, because of that, the presumption will favor it in any court proceeding,” says Smith.
Smith voted against the redistricting plan.