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Redistricting panel chooses replacement tie-breaking member

The panel of state lawmakers charged with redrawing Connecticut’s legislative and congressional district lines has chosen another former state senator to be its ninth tie-breaking member after the group’s original choice resigned.

John McKinney, a Republican former leader of state Senate, was chosen unanimously Tuesday by the bipartsian Reapportionment Commission. He replaces former Democratic state Sen. Kevin Johnston, a former state auditor, who recently informed the panel he would not be able to serve as the ninth member.

The commission’s members did not provide a reason for Johnston’s resignation during Tuesday’s meeting. Johnston, of Pomfret, had served as the ninth member during the 2011 redistricting process.

“I know he feels badly that he’s unable to follow through on the appointment, as he did 10 years ago and did such a fine job then,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney, D-New Haven, of Johnston.

McKinney, who lives in Westport, represented the 28th state Senate district from 1999 until 2015. He served as minority leader for seven years and was a GOP candidate for governor in 2014, losing to businessman Tom Foley in the party’s primary.

Both Republicans and Democrats said they believe McKinney will do a good job in his role of helping the panel reach a bipartisan agreement on how to redraw Connecticut’s legislative and congressional district boundaries. In 2011, lawmakers couldn’t reach agreement on the congressional district boundaries and the Connecticut Supreme Court ultimately named a special master to redraw the lines.

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