Rep. Chellie Pingree accused Republicans of being “mean” by backing a plan to move her home into the same district as her Democratic colleague, Rep. Mike Michaud.
“That’s just downright mean,” Pingree said in a phone interview.
It’s not uncommon for Congressional mapmakers to move Members into the same district during redistricting if it would help their party. Members do not have to live in the House districts in which they serve.
But the battle over Maine’s two House seats reached a new pitch this summer, when Republicans proposed swapping 350,000 people between the two districts — including areas such as Pingree’s homestead. State lawmakers will take up competing Democratic and Republican maps later this month in a special session.
Pingree hails from North Haven, an island where her family owned a bed-and-breakfast for years. But she also owns a home in Portland, which is the population center of the 1st district. She plans to run for re-election in the 1st district, but that doesn’t mean she’s happy about the possibility her North Haven home could get shifted into the 2nd.
“I own a business, I have grandchildren, and I’ve lived there for most of my life. I’m supposed to move on the whim of a partisan gerrymander?” Pingree said.
Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., walks on Broadway after a Future Forum with young entrepreneurs in the Flatiron District of New York City, April 16, 2015. Reps. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., Seth Moulton, D-Mass., and Grace Meng, D-N.Y., also attended.