CHARLESTON -Although state lawmakers have been given an extension in the amount of time they have to come up with a new map for the state's three congressional districts, local lawmakers say they do not see any plan gaining traction as a favorite.
Sen. Donna Boley, R-Pleasants, said she has proposed a plan that will be introduced next week. Under her plan the state would have three districts with almost the same number of people in each.
Boley said her plan would be similar to the map now in place.
"This would cause the least amount of disruption in the state and two districts would have the same number of voters," she said.
Boley said by splitting off portions of two counties the 2nd District would have one less voter than the 1st and 3rd districts.
"Right now the 2nd District has 3,000 more voters than the others," she said. "By moving a small portion of northern Lewis County containing 1,524 voters into the 1st District and a small portion of southern Braxton County containing 1,600 voters into the 3rd, the districts would be almost equal.
State lawmakers are dealing with a federal court ruling declaring a new congressional district map for West Virginia unconstitutional.
Sen. Donna Boley, R-Pleasants, said she has drawn up a plan to give the state three districts with almost the same amount of voters.
Delegate John Ellem, R-Wood, said he sees the plan that was struck down as the favorite and they are waiting to see how an appeal of the decision will turn out.
Sen Dave Nohe, R-Wood, said the mood seems to be one of wait and see on the appeal.
"There would be 16,665 voters in the 1st and 3rd districts and 16,664 in the 2nd; that's about as close as you can come with our population."
Delegate John Ellem, R-Wood, said he and others are waiting for action on the appeal they filed of the federal court ruling.
"For me and others the plan we prefer is the one we passed in the first place," he said. "There were different plans but we reached a consensus on this plan."
Ellem said they hope the U.S. Supreme Court will rule in their favor that the plan was constitutional.
Sen. Dave Nohe, R-Wood, said one problem faced in making districts for West Virginia is working with West Virginia's unusual shape.
"With the two panhandles it is almost impossible to make up compact districts," he said. "Right now with the extension it's time to wait and see."
Nohe said he and others want to avoid new districts where two of the state's existing representatives would have to run against each other in a primary or general election.
"Some plans have Rep. David McKinley and Rep Shelley Capito running against each other by putting Wheeling and Charleston in the same district," he said. "There are plans that could have Capito and Rep. Nick Rahall running against each other."
Nohe and Boley said there is opposition to Wood County going into a district with Kanawha County or having Wood, Kanawha and Ohio counties in one district.
Another proposed plan would move Jefferson County in the Eastern Panhandle out of the 2nd District shared with Charleston and into one with the Northern Panhandle. This new 1st District would also contain Morgantown, which along with the Eastern Panhandle saw the most growth in the 2010 Census.
Wood County and others in the Mid-Ohio Valley would be part of a new 2nd District that would include Charleston. The 3rd District would continue to represent the southern coalfields but would also gain nearly all of Randolph County.
Taylor would be the only other county divided between districts. This alternative would keep the U.S. House incumbents in separate districts. Lawmakers have balked on proposals that would prompt run-offs among them.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)