The St. Charles County Council approved changes to the township maps submitted by Rich Chrismer during the council’s Monday meeting. But some Republicans are not happy about it.
“The county council has politicized this by changing the boundaries to favor certain people,” said Chuck McNabb, a political blogger from Wentzville.
Council Chair Nancy Matheny, R-District 3, said the map changes are being blown out of proportion.
“We made very few changes, to the 5th District and the 7th District,” Matheny said.
She said the council members went to the St. Charles County Republican and Democratic political party chairs and asked for their input on the changes. The Democratic chairman, Morton Todd, had one change while Republican chair Eugene Dokes had two, Matheny said.
Dokes said the entire Republican committee had two issues with the map: it created nine vacancies on the Republican committee, and the lines were not compact and contiguous. He said only one committee member was against changing the map—Mary Chrismer, Rich Chrismer’s wife.
“They made sense and we went along with it,” Matheny said. “It really only affected one (current committee member), but it was a vocal person and there was dissent.”
The county council changes put Mary Chrismer into Brandy Pedersen’s township. Chrismer’s original map did put his wife into another committee member’s township, but Pedersen’s township had no current committeewomen.
Pedersen said she initially was upset that the entire Republican Central Committee was not asked for input into the maps, and she called Dokes on it.
“I’m the whistle blower, and now I have opposition in my district,” Pedersen said.
The county council made some changes to the Republican and Democratic recommendations later to correct for population, Matheny said.
Chrismer said there was no reason to change his original map, which was balanced according to population. He said compact and contiguous lines are not good reason to change the map.
“Penny (Henke) and Cheryl Bates (current committee members) did not like the lines because they were put in the same township,” Chrismer said.
Pedersen also said that Tom Smith, a paid political consultant for state Rep. Christine Sommer, had input on the map. Sommer also is on the county Republican committee.
Councilman Joe Brazil, R-District 2, said the changes were made for political purposes.
“Mr. Chrismer had those set up by population,” Brazil said. “On his map, his own wife was put out of her district. That tells me that was pretty unpolitical right there.”
But Dokes tells a different story.
Dokes said he talked to Matheny about changes to the map after getting the go ahead from the entire Republican committee. Matheny gave him just three days to get a recommendation to her.
“I didn’t have time to go back to the entire committee,” Dokes said.
Instead, Jon Bennett, a committeeman who was at the same function that day, offered his help. Dokes said they asked Dave Evans, a state Republican committee member and husband of county committee member Cindy Evans, and Smith for help because they had worked on redistricting before.
“My recommendations solved all the problems and did not create any new ones,” Dokes told Patch. “When I submitted my recommendations, my changes did not negatively affect her (Pedersen). That change was made later. At that point, it was out of my hands.”