The Districting and Apportionment Commission tasked with setting the state legislative districts for the next 10 years switched positions on two Hi-Line towns Thursday, although it does not appear to change the situation for a HI-Line senator who will be out of a job in two years due to the redistricting process.
The commission approved a compromise motion by presiding officer Jim Regnier to move Malta north into House District 33 north of U.S. Highway 2, and Harlem south into House District 32, which stretches from Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation in Chouteau County east across the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation into Valley County where it borders the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.The area is represented by Democratic senator Jonathan Windy Boy.
The district is half of the senate district in that area, where redistricting has prevented newly re-elected Sen. Greg Jergeson of Chinook, a Democrat, from keeping his seat in two years if he remains in Chinook.
Jergeson was elected to serve the last half of the term vacated when Sen. Rowllie Hutton, R-Havre, resigned in the middle of the last legislative session, his first. He would have to run for re-election in 2014, but because the new district includes the residence of Sen. John Brenden, R-Scobey, who was just won his four-year seat, Jergeson cannot run in two years. The next election in the district will be in 2016.
The commission voted unanimously for Regnier’s motion, which included adjustments in Cascade County, although both Republican commissioners Linda Vaughey and Jon Bennion said they were submitting a “reluctant” vote in favor.
In order to run again in 2014, Jergeson would have to move from Chinook into a district up for election, such as the new district that includes Havre.