JEFFERSON CITY - Following the release of a congressional district map of the St. Louis area negotiated by U.S. Rep. Richard Gephardt and Rep. William "Lacy" Clay earlier this week, a freshman Republican senator offered his own alternative.
Sen. Michael Gibbons, R-St. Louis, submitted a map to the Senate Redistricting Committee Wednesday night that narrows Clay's minority-dominated 1st district, moving it farther north and south than in the Clay-Gephardt compromise map.
Gibbons's map puts St. Charles County squarely in Republican U.S. Rep. Todd Akin's 2nd district. It differs from the Clay-Gephardt map, which places some eastern parts of St. Charles County, including Florissant and Bridgeton, in Clay's district.
Gibbons, who serves on the committee, said his map allows Clay to retain a solid minority population in his district.
"There's merit in maintaining a majority minority district in the 1st," he said.
Earlier in the day, Gibbons said he was concerned that the compromise reached by Gephardt and Clay allowed Gephardt to strenghten his Democratic base only by taking black voters from Clay's district.
Akin also expressed disappointment in the compromise map, saying that he was not included in the Clay-Gephardt negotiation session and calling the proposal "neither bi-partisan nor a true compromise".
Both Gephardt and Clay must gain people based on 2000 census data. Each district must have about 621,690 residents once the district lines are redrawn.