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Split Douglas or Sarpy County? Public testifies to legislature as they consider redistricted maps

Posted at 6:27 PM, Sep 16, 2021

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The Nebraska Legislature continues to fight out two competing plans for redistricted congressional and legislative maps: one from Republicans, one from Democrats.

Thursday, the spotlight was on whether Douglas or Sarpy County should be split off into a separate district. Currently, parts of Sarpy are in the first district with Lincoln.

The numbers don’t work for the legislature to include Douglas and Sarpy into the second district seat that is currently held by Republican Don Bacon.

The redistricting committee heard from both sides today on whether to split up Democratic-leaning Douglas County or Republican-leaning Sarpy County.

“No one is going to be happy with where those lines fall,” said Hal Daub.

That line from Hal Daub, who used to be a member of Congress for Nebraska's second district set the tone for the hours-long hearing Thursday in which well over a hundred people showed up in Omaha.

The divides were clear in the room, with many asking to keep Douglas County in NE-2, while others wanted to make sure Sarpy didn’t get split up for a third decade in a row.

Testimony was given on two separate maps with Republican Lou Ann Linehan showing her map, which breaks off northern Douglas County along I-680 and Dodge Street, with the north portion of Sarpy County going into the Lincoln-based District One.

District Two would then include all of Sarpy County and Saunders County.

She says this map would have still led to Pres. Joe Biden winning District two last November.

“It does not eliminate a blue dot, nor does it guarantee it,” Linehan said.

Democratic state senator, Justin Wayne had a map that is similar to the current version with all of Douglas County, and portions of Bellevue and La Vista in District Two, with the rest of Sarpy County in District One.

“It would not be logical or justifiable to split Douglas County, at which the core has been Douglas County in CD-2 for over 130 years,” said Sen. Justin Wayne.

The majority of folks testifying were in favor of the Wayne map, with many saying they want to see Douglas County unified and not in the same district as rural Saunders County.

“We do not have the same school district or legislative concerns and so it does not make to me to be lumped together,” said Carmen Bundy.

Alisha Shelton, a Democrat who has already announced a District Two run for Congress, would actually be in District One under the GOP proposal, she says the county should be whole.

“What shared experiences do we have with Saunders County? I’m proud to be in Douglas County,” said Shelton.

But the opposite argument was made to put Sarpy in one district, with multiple people saying the communities of Papillion, Bellevue, La Vista and Gretna work together already.

“We are one county in spirit and we want to be one county in our congressional district,” said Nora Sandeen.

And they believe Wayne's map heavily favors district two going to Democrats in the future.

“Senator Wayne’s map chose the most Democratic precincts in Sarpy County and chose the most Democratic representation by four to five percentage points,” said Roberta Adams.

As of now it doesn’t appear like either map will have the 33 votes necessary to overcome a filibuster and pass, so it’s likely more compromise maps will be coming in the next few days, or even tonight.


Republican Plan, whole state:

Republican Plan, NE-02:

Democratic Plan, whole state:

Democratic Plan, NE-02:

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