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Deciphering Congressional District 6, 8 Boundaries

We bravely go where few have gone before.

Emails and phone calls have been pouring in from residents entirely confused about the Maryland Congressional redistricting.

The loopty-loops of Congressional Districts 6 and 8 around the communities of Potomac, Bethesda, Cabin John, Glen Echo, Rockville, North Potomac and Darnestown are mind-boggeling to many. After a futile attempt to explain these new lines using the written word, we decided visuals would work better. Luckily, there’s a nifty map from the Maryland Department of Planning that details every street, court, lane and cul-de-sac in the county.

First some background:

Skip our explanation of redistricting and go straight to the Maryland Department of Planning map that will help pinpoint your new Congressional district.

Why Redistricting 

The redrawing of U.S. Congressional lines is conducted after the national census, to align district boundaries with changes in population and number of congressional representatives. Maryland has eight Congressional districts.

Gerrymandering

Critics of the 2011 Maryland Congressional map have accused the Democratic party of splitting communities to gerrymander representative lines. The fate of plan approved in October by the Maryland General Assembly is currently in question, as petitioners have collected enough validated signatures to put the plan to referendum on the November ballot, according to a Washington Post report.

“Republicans have been particularly critical of significant changes to the 6th Congressional District in western Maryland that they say were made to try to oust 10-term Republican incumbent Rep. Roscoe Bartlett,” the Post reported.

Navigating the Redistricting River

The boundaries between Districts 6 and 8 are some of the most meandering of the redistricting. 

River Road in Potomac, may be the longest straight line of redistricting, and there we will start.

  • Anything south of Swains Lock Road and west of River Road is District 8. Among other neighborhoods, this includes the Oaklyn, Potomac Manors and Brickyard communities, as well as Congressional. 
  • Anything inside of the I-495 Beltway and the I-270 loop is District 8. This includes Cabin John and Glen Echo.
  • Anything east of River Road, and outside of the I-495 Beltway to I-270, is District 6. This includes the Bells Mill, Scotland, Willerburn Acres and Montgomery Square neighborhoods. However, this is where things get complicated.
  • Driving north up I-270, District 8 is to the east and District 6 is to the west – until you hit Montrose Road. There, District 8 circles around the city lines of Rockville, shoehorning various unincorporated areas of Potomac. It just misses I-370 and loops back south, down Maryland 355, along East Gude Drive and Rock Creek, pulling in areas of Twin Brook. District 8 then loops back up and captures many more areas in Montgomery, Carroll and Frederick Counties, essentially creating a lopsided “W” with elephantiasis.  
  • The northern areas of Darnestown and Poolesville are District 6. North Potomac areas around Piney Meetinghouse Road, Travilah Road and Muddy Branch Road have cloudy congressional district boundaries.

In an effort not to confuse you further, here is a link to an extremely detailed map on the Maryland Department of Planning website. This map is so detailed, that you should be able to find your address and pinpoint, exactly, the district in which your house lies.

macadoodle July 27, 2012 at 04:54 PM
Gerrymandering, anyone? Up back alleys, up a creek and down a stream, cutting communities with a political cookie cutter ensuring chaos. Only one word applies: Atrocious.

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