Republican representatives from three counties in Western Maryland are requesting that their counties be allowed to join West Virginia. In order to do so, they will need the permission of the Maryland Assembly and the state of West Virginia as well as the House of Representatives in Washington. West Virginia would be no problem and by then republicans will have a comfortable majority in the House, but Maryland will be unwilling to give up the tax dollars or the population.
The three counties involved are Garrett, Allegany, and Washington counties, all in western Maryland. Those three counties went for Trump by large majorities such as with him winning 77% in Garrett County, 68.5% in Allegany, and 59% in Washington County. Biden won the state as a whole with 65% of the vote. Yet these counties are represented in the US Congress by a Democrat thanks to heavy gerrymandering in 2010.
The Hill reported:
“The counties are represented in Congress by Rep. David Trone (D) after a Democratic-engineered gerrymander in the 2010 redistricting cycle drew then-Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R) out of what had long been a Republican-held seat.”
Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R) said:
“Some of the stuff they come up with is pretty darn far left and it seems pretty far out of step with the communities in Maryland. I’m happy to be the leader of the group that will push back against that.”
Del. Mike McKay added:
“First, you have to knock on the door and see if the person is willing to answer before we can discuss how it would work out.”
Several of the lawmakers said that their constituents had asked about the possibility of leaving Maryland proper before, and maybe forming their own state. Issues many were concerned with included fracking, guns, and taxes.
“Over the years different people have come to us asking either for that or to form their own state,” Del. Wivell said, “and I just don’t think it’s potentially feasible to form your own ‘West Maryland.’”
Del. Neil Parrott, although he did not sign the letter, agreed with the idea of breaking away from Maryland.
He said as Republican Governor Larry Hogan’s term expires, “we’ve seen a return in the General Assembly to a war on rural Maryland. They’re just not listening, and they’re not caring about the needs of Western Maryland.”