By CHRIS BLANK and WES DUPLANTIER
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri's Republican-led Legislature voted Wednesday to override Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of a congressional redistricting plan, allowing the new map to take effect despite objections from the Democratic governor.
Senators voted 28-6 in favor of the override. A few hours earlier, the House voted to override the veto 109-44. Four Democrats joined the entire 105-member Republican House caucus in supporting the move to give GOP leaders the minimum two-thirds majority required to overcome Nixon's objections.
Missouri's redistricting plan merges two Democratic congressmen into the same St. Louis district to help consolidate nine current congressional districts into eight. The state lost a U.S. House seat after the 2010 census because Missouri's 7 percent population growth failed to keep pace with the rest of the nation. The new map also must account for population shifts within the state, including an exodus from St. Louis to its outer suburbs.
Republican leaders said the final map was fair and represented the state well. Democratic critics argued that it was partisan, while others expressed disapproval for how some congressional borders cut through their home counties.
Nixon said in his veto message Saturday that the map approved by lawmakers "does not adequately protect the interests of all Missourians."
Missouri's legislative maneuvering over redistricting started last week when lawmakers gave their map final approval. Nixon rejected it and urged lawmakers to come up with a new plan before the end of the legislative session May 13. Instead, the Legislature overrode Nixon's veto.
Under the redistricting plan, the city of St. Louis is put entirely into the 1st Congressional District now held by Democrat William Lacy Clay. The city currently is split with the 3rd District, represented by Democrat Russ Carnahan.
Carnahan's district is divided among Clay's district, the suburban St. Louis district held by Republican Todd Akin, an overhauled district held by Republican Blaine Luetkemeyer of central Missouri, and the southeastern Missouri seat held by Republican Jo Ann Emerson.
Jefferson County, near St. Louis, is split into the districts of Akin, Emerson and Luetkemeyer.
In the Kansas City area, Democrat Emanuel Cleaver's district is extended farther east to pick up several rural counties, while a swath of Jackson County is carved out and added to the district of Republican Sam Graves, whose district spreads across the northern half of the state.
Southwest Missouri, currently represented by freshman Republican Billy Long, sees the least change because its population grew faster than most regions of the state.
Redistricting is HB193.