The Senate adjorned Thursday after tabling the amendment.
Cleary told party members he voted last week in favor of a committee report that places all of Georgetown County in the 6th District, currently held by Rep. James Clyburn, a Democrat and one of two blacks in the state's congressional delegation. The county is currently split between the 1st District, centered on Charleston, and the 6th District, which is a black majority district.
Cleary's vote drew criticism last week from the former county GOP chairman, Tom Swatzel. "It's clear, based on the public record, Sen. Cleary has taken actions on this redistricting plan that are perplexing and contrary to his own constituent's interests," he said.
But Cleary told Republicans the choice was between a plan that created the 7th District in the Pee Dee or one that placed it in the Beaufort County area. He voted for the Pee Dee plan even though it put Georgetown County in the 6th District because he knew he could get that plan amended, he said.
"I'm going to get criticized for it," he told Jim Jerow, the current party chairman. "This is take down Ray Cleary time."
Ultimately, the federal courts will decide the congressional districts, Cleary said. That's what happened following the last two censuses. The goal of each region that wants to form the basis of the new district created by population growth between 2000 and 2010 is to get enough information in the record to support its redistricting plan when the plans are reviewed by federal judges, Cleary said.
Republicans said after meeting with Cleary Saturday they understand what Cleary is tyring to do. They plan to submit more comments to the Senate Judiciary Committee in support of shifting all of Georgetown County to the 7th District.