“Wisconsin Republicans vote to weaken their lock on the legislature”

Patrick Marley for WaPo:

Wisconsin Republicans approved maps Tuesday that would weaken their ironclad grip on the state legislature, backing new district lines supported by the Democratic governor out of fears that the state’s top court could impose ones that are even worse for them.

If approved by Gov. Tony Evers, the package would jettison what experts consider one of the country’s most gerrymandered set of maps in a state that has been one of the most competitive in presidential and other statewide races.

Republicans have known since last year that their majorities could face a severe blow, after liberals took control of the state Supreme Court following an expensive and bruising election for a pivotal seat.

“We kind of have a gun to our head, frankly,” state Sen. Duey Stroebel (R) said during the floor debate. After voting to approve the new maps, state Sen. Van Wanggaard, another Republican, compared his decision to choosing to be stabbed instead of guillotined.

Democrats, who had just secured one of their biggest wins in a decade, appeared no happier than Republicans. Nearly all of them voted against the maps and privately fumed over a missed chance to get a better deal….

Republicans were so alarmed by Protasiewicz’s victory and the prospect of losing their maps that they threatened to impeach her if she remained on the case. They backed off the idea weeks later, and Protasiewicz and the court’s other liberals issued a 4-3 decision in December striking down the maps.

The court urged Evers and the legislature to draw new maps and said it would impose ones that were politically neutral otherwise.

Of the proposals for new maps that court consultants have deemed viable, the ones by Evers provided the fewest gains for Democrats. Republicans on Tuesday decided to approve those maps.

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