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Valley’s congressional district lines to change again

Most of Mahoning and Trumbull counties were in the same congressional district for decades until the fall of former Congressman James A. Traficant Jr. and a loss of a seat in Ohio in the 2002 election changed things.

It’s now possible that all of both counties, along with Columbiana County, could end up in the same congressional district.

That’s up to the Ohio Redistricting Commission, which is likely to vote this week on a new congressional map.

But like a first Republican-proposed map that had the three counties together, it is subject to legal challenges and ultimately the Ohio Supreme Court to rule on its constitutionality.

The court decided Jan. 14 the first Republican-drawn map was unlawful because of gerrymandering.

Mahoning and Trumbull counties, with the exception of a section of western Trumbull County, were in the same 17th Congressional District — along with parts or all of Columbiana County, depending on redistricting — dating back to 1982, four years after Republican Lyle Williams was first elected in 1978, defeating four-term Charles J. Carney, a Democrat.

Two years after Williams won re-election for the last time, Traficant beat him in 1984.

Even before that, Mahoning and much of Trumbull’s population centers were in the old 19th District, represented for decades by Democrat Michael Kirwan.

Because of population declines in the Valley, the redistricting before the 1992 election brought most of Columbiana to the 17th while that small section of Trumbull stayed in the 13th District.

Read more about the history of the area’s congressional district in Sunday’s Tribune Chronicle.

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