State legislators in three conservative western Maryland counties are seeking permission to secede from the state to join neighboring West Virginia.
In letters to West Virginia state House Speaker Roger Hanshaw (R) and Senate President Craig Blair (R), six Republican Maryland state legislators who represent Garrett, Allegany and Washington counties asked the legislature to consider adding their residents to the Mountaineer State.
“We believe this arrangement may be mutually beneficial for both states and for our local constituencies,” the identical letters read. “Please advise on next steps.”
Garrett and Allegany counties are west of the West Virginia panhandle. Washington County, home of Hagerstown, is north of Martinsburg, W.Va.
All three counties are far more conservative than Maryland as a whole. President Biden won 65.3 percent of the vote in Maryland, and just 21 percent in Garrett County, 30 percent in Allegany and 38 percent in Washington County.
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.
The proposal is all but certain to go nowhere: It would require consent from the Maryland General Assembly, which is unlikely to willingly surrender territory and constituents; a formal deal struck between Maryland and West Virginia; and the approval of the U.S. Congress.
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