The court has proposed moving Knox County from the 1st District to the 2nd District.

AUGUSTA (AP) – After unveiling proposed plans for redrawing Maine’s congressional and state Senate districts, the state supreme court has scheduled a hearing Monday at the Cumberland County Courthouse in Portland to take public comment.

As one element of its congressional district plan, the court has proposed moving Knox County from the 1st District to the 2nd District.

The state Senate district proposal holds potential for matching two pairs of incumbents against one another.

One pairing involves Democrats Ethan Strimling and Michael Brennan of Portland; the second pairing could match Republican Paul Davis of Sangerville, who is the Senate minority leader, and Democrat Stephen Stanley of Medway.

“We’ll be suggesting a couple of adjustments here and there” on the state Senate plan, said Democratic analysts Phil Merrill, adding that concerns about the congressional district plan could be more pronounced.

Executive Director Dwayne Bickford of the Maine Republican Party said there was GOP sentiment that “there might be better ways” to treat mapping in the districts currently represented by Davis and Stanley.

Remapping is required every 10 years to reflect population changes measured in the most recent federal census.

Data from the 2000 census released in March 2001 showed that population dwindled in northern Maine during the 1990s while communities grew across southern Maine.

In the wake of a partisan divide at the State House 10 years ago, the court did the state’s redistricting. But 10 years before that, lawmakers themselves reshaped district boundaries.

Maine lawmakers approved remapping for the 151 districts of the state House of Representatives and for the districts of county commissioners, but failed to reach accord on the two other tasks.

Before the state’s 15-member apportionment commission concluded its work in early April, neutral chairman Donald Zillman sided with the Democrats on their congressional district proposal.

That plan would move Waterville from the 1st into the 2nd Congressional District.

Zillman abstained from expressing a preference on competing state Senate plans, saying he found merit in both.

The Democratic state Senate plan more equally apportioned population among districts overall, while the Republican plan divided fewer smaller towns.


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