Gerrymandering, hubris and court battles: how redistricting shaped the battle for the House

Republicans will likely benefit from redistricting more than Democrats, having pushed through aggressive and knockdown gerrymanders in states like Florida. Meanwhile, some Democratic attempts to draw cards to their advantage, including in New York, have been struck down by the courts.

And even in some of the states where Democrats were able to attract their own gerrymanders, the party’s aggressiveness in spreading Democratic voters across more districts actually put it at risk of losing more seats in a possible surge. of GOPs.

Here are the trends to watch on Tuesday as the House battleground shaped by redistricting generates its first general election results.

Partisan redistricting has reduced the number of close neighborhoods

In 2020, there were 51 congressional districts where Biden and Trump finished within 5 percentage points of each other in bipartisan voting, according to analysis by POLITICO. This is quite low historically – and under the new charts it has gone down even further.

Now, only 34 districts would have been so close at the presidential level.

Half of that drop can be explained by one state — Texas — where Republicans had full control of the map-drawing process. Eleven congressional districts in Texas produced presidential results within that 5-point range in 2020, but the state’s GOP has massaged its districts to the point that now only one seat — the open, Democratic-held 15th district — would have been within 5 percentage points in the 2020 presidential race. Democrat Michelle Vallejo and Republican Monica De La Cruz face off there on Tuesday.

Democrats also attempted to improve maps where they could at the expense of competitive districts, though their scrutiny was limited to small states. New Jersey, where a deciding vote on the bipartisan redistricting commission chose the map proposed by Democrats, fell from three close districts to just one, the 7th congressional district. This still leaves an opening for Republicans: the seat, currently held by Democratic Representative Tom Malinowski, is now ranked lean republican in POLITICO’s election forecast.

A number of new competitive districts are the work of independent commissions or court-drawn maps. In Colorado, the newly added 8th district was narrowly carried by Biden in 2020, and POLITICO notes it lean republican this year in a national environment that favors Republicans. Pennsylvania, where the maps were chosen by the state Supreme Court, maintained the same number of competitive seats despite losing a district due to its demographic lag.

Some Democratic gerrymanders seem problematic for the party

In several states where Democrats controlled the redistricting process, they sought to draw maps with more districts that bowed slightly to fundamentals. But this year, it could cause them more problems.

After Oregon added a new seat due to population growth, Democrats approved a six-district map with five seats won by Biden. But the 5th District — where progressive Jamie McLeod-Skinner ousted incumbent Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) in a primary earlier this year — and the newly drawn 6th District have troubled Democrats this fall. POLITICO assesses the 5th District as a lean Republicanwhile the The 6th arrondissement is a draw.

In Nevada, the new maps leave Rep. Dina Titus in a more competitive neighborhood — a development she decried last year – while Reps. Susie Lee and Steven Horsford saw their districts turn slightly bluer. But now POLITICO now considers all three races with incumbent Democrats to be draws.

It looks better for Democrats in New Mexico, where the new maps give challenger Gabe Vazquez a chance to unseat Rep. Yvette Herrell (RN.M.) in the state’s 2nd District — which rose from a district won by Trump by 12 percentage points to a Biden won by nearly 6 – while Republicans haven’t made major investments in the state’s other two districts. POLITICS rates 2nd district race a tosup.

Aggressive Gerrymanders mean Republicans will take a few seats based on redistricting alone

Republicans’ assertive map drawing in Florida will likely net them at least four new seats — and the GOP only needs a net gain of five districts nationwide to win the House.

According to the old map, former President Donald Trump won 15 of 27 districts – 55% – in 2020 while winning just over 51% of the vote statewide. Under the new map pushed by Governor Ron DeSantis, Trump would have won 20 of the 28 districts. Among the Democratic incumbents facing eviction is Rep. Al Lawson (D-Fla.), who was pushed into a member-to-member clash with Rep. Neal Dunn (R-Fla.) in the northern part of the state , after the elimination of its black pluralist district.

The GOP’s success in cracking the Nashville-area seat held by Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) is also likely to earn them a seat in Tennessee. Cooper announced he would not run again after the district he had represented for more than three decades fell from a seat Biden won by 24 points in 2020 to one Biden would have lost by 11 points.

Democrats’ attempts at equally aggressive gerrymandering in New York have been overruled by the courts, though the party was able to draw favorable maps in Illinois, where they could win up to two seats if they win. cling to all the new districts won by Biden, including the repot the 17th arrondissement. That’s not a sure thing — and it still wouldn’t be enough to offset Republican gains in other states.

The redistricting could create other surprises

The new maps add a degree of uncertainty to races that would otherwise look solid. One of the main factors: a number of incumbents are running in ridings where voters are relatively new to them.

That’s one of the challenges facing Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (DN.Y.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. His 17th district overlaps only slightly with the old 18th district he’s represented since 2013. Biden still won the new 17th district by 10 points, but — after a heavy Republican investment in the race — POLITICO think it’s a tossup.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *