Lawsuit claims Missouri redrew congressional districts to protect incumbents

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO (KPLR) - A St. Louis County man is asking a federal judge to redraw Missouri's eight congressional district maps. Paul Berry III, who is a candidate for the First Congressional District Republican nomination, argued in court Friday the district boundaries violate the state and federal Constitutions.

Barry, an African-American, told Judge John Ross the Missouri Legislature used race statistics to create the First Congressional District boundary and that impacted other district maps across the state. He says lawmakers failed to prove that an African-American candidate was denied a majority of votes because of the racial makeup of Missouri's First District.

African-American and Democrat Lacy Clay has served as the First District Congressman since 2001. The districts' boundaries were last redrawn after the 2010 Federal Census. At that time Missouri lost one of its districts due to a shift in national population. Berry argues the Missouri districts were designed to protect political incumbents.

Judge Ross could issue a ruling on the first stage of the case, a request for a temporary restraining order, on Monday. Barry said this was an effort to right a wrong and not a publicity stunt tied to his campaign. The party nominees for the congressional races will be chosen in Missouri's August primary election.

Berry also filed for personal bankruptcy in federal court this week. He said that was necessary due to major medical expenses.