Connecticut's current congressional district map.
Connecticut’s current congressional district map.

The bipartisan Reapportionment Commission asked the Connecticut Supreme Court on Wednesday to extend until Dec. 21 its deadline for suggesting three names of special masters to help the court oversee the commission’s remaining task: drawing a new map for the state’s five congressional districts.

Last week, the court agreed to give the Commission until noon on Dec. 21 to produce a congressional district map before assigning the task to a court-appointed special master, but it also demanded a progress report containing suggested names of special masters by 5 p.m. Wednesday.

The commission can only act under court supervision since missing a constitutional deadline of Nov. 30, a delay that a lawyer for the commission attributed to the pandemic, not a deadlock.

“As before, the Commission is not at an impasse and remains hopeful that an agreement can be reached,” the commission said in its progress report Wednesday.

Republicans and Democrats have exchanged proposals for how to equalize the population of the districts and they prefer to focus their negotiations on those maps, not potential special masters, the commission said.

“While the Commission believes it will be able to reach a consensus about names to propose in due course if it becomes necessary, such negotiations will substantially distract the Commission from its primary constitutional duty to create a congressional map and reduce the time it has available for that task,” the panel said.

Ten years ago, Democrats and Republicans agreed on General Assembly districts as they have done this year, then deadlocked over the congressional map. The GOP’s members pushed for dramatic changes that would have advantaged Republicans in two districts, but they are seeking more modest revisions now.

A special master was appointed on Dec. 30, 2011 and recommended a new map that was adopted by the court on Feb. 12, 2012, three days before the constitutional deadline for the justices.

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.