MICHIGAN: is shrinking from 14 to 13 seats, and w/ a new citizens' commission, few incumbents are safe. Somewhat ironically, *Dems* might have more to lose switching from the current GOP gerrymander (left) to a more compact plan (example, right). Here's why...
In 2018, the GOP gerrymander crumbled and Ds picked up two suburban Detroit seats, #MI08 and #MI11. But now, every seat needs to expand. And w/ two Black majority seats to preserve (#MI13 and #MI14 below), there may not be enough blue turf left to protect all four suburban Ds.
For example, it's possible #MI09 Rep. Andy Levin (D) & #MI11 Rep. Haley Stevens (D) get thrown together (below), and #MI08 Rep. Elissa Slotkin is forced to run in a swingy, much more Lansing-centric seat. In the words of one House Dem, "I'm worried we've outkicked our coverage."
To be clear, I should have said "exclusive" control over redistricting. There will now be equal numbers of Ds & Rs on redistricting committees, which increases the likelihood Oregon courts will draw the new map.
Why is this such a big deal for Congress in 2022? If a court were drawing a compact, partisan-blind Oregon map, they might end up drawing 3/6 seats that at least *lean* Republican (below).
Check out @CookPolitical's brand new PVI report by yours truly and @alflinn on the latest trends, featuring a hover map w/ post-2020 PVI values for all 435 congressional districts.
Subscribers to @CookPolitical get exclusive access to a fully sortable, downloadable table of new PVI values, along w/ raw presidential vote totals by district calculated especially for this report by @uselectionatlas.
MARYLAND: there are creative maps, and then there's this work of art, which Dems passed in 2011 to seize a 7D-1R majority. But this time, they're poised go even further, by taking a sledgehammer to Rep. Andy Harris (R)'s #MD01 for an 8D-0R shutout.
In the example below, Harris's #MD01 would go from Trump +20 to Biden +15 (a 35 point swing!), by losing heavily R parts of Cecil/Harford/Carroll counties and picking up Annapolis, Columbia and Laurel. All seven other districts are still Biden +20 or more.
Remarkably, as the above hypothetical shows, Dems could simultaneously make MD Rs extinct at the federal level *and* draw a much cleaner map than the current one. And, they only need 3/5 support in the legislature to override Gov. Larry Hogan (R)'s veto.
LOUISIANA: in 2012, Rs packed Black voters in NOLA & Baton Rouge into one snakelike seat (#LA02 below), and dominate the other five. Dems view it as a blatant gerrymander, and now that they have the governorship, they'll have a seat at the redistricting table.
Louisiana's population is 33% Black, and it's now possible to draw *two* fairly compact Black majority seats: #LA02 based in NOLA & another connecting Baton Rouge w/ Lafayette, Alexandria or even Monroe (#LA05 below). Expect Dems to fight/sue for this additional seat.
However, drawing a second Black majority district would likely also mean a dramatic reconfiguration of #LA05, where Julia Letlow (R) was just elected and enjoys plenty of bipartisan goodwill. This is where the politics could get complicated for Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) & others.
KANSAS: Republicans hold a 3-1 lead in the delegation, but there's serious talk they could draw a 4-0 gerrymander by converting Rep. Sharice Davids (D)'s #KS03 from a double-digit Biden district (left) to a double-district Trump district (right).
However, Kansas Rs face some obstacles to doing so:
1) They'd have to override Gov. Laura Kelly (D)'s veto. That might not be easy given they can't afford many defections and in 2011, when Rs controlled it all, they couldn't even agree on a map and it went to federal court
2) To make #KS03 bright red, Rs would have to split up Wyandotte & Johnson counties. That could mean putting urban Wyandotte (Kansas City) in the rural "Big First" #KS01, an idea that's met huge resistance from KS civic leaders in the past
IOWA: is often held up as the "gold standard" for apolitical redistricting. Every 10 years, it tasks nonpartisan state bureaucrats w/ drafting maps, and counties are kept whole. But, maps are still subject to legislature/governor approval, and this round Rs control both.
Rep. Cindy Axne (D)'s #IA03 is the only D seat left in the state, and it's also IA's fastest-growing. It'll need to shed ~60k people.
In 2020, she won by 1.4% while losing every county except Polk (Des Moines). So, a more Des Moines-centric district would be good news for her.
One possibility: the state panel could propose one compact central Iowa district (Des Moines/Ames) that would have voted for Biden, surrounded by three Trump districts.
But until we have exact census numbers, IA's remap prospects are difficult to game out.
ILLINOIS: has the potential to be Dems' biggest redistricting weapon of the cycle. Once again, it's losing a seat. But Dems could replace the current 13D-5R map (left) with a 14D-3R map (right) - and they might need to to have any chance of holding the House majority.
Illinois Dems are likely to have three main map objectives:
1) Eliminate one of the five downstate GOP seats to account for the state's loss 2) Protect all 13 Dem incumbents, including vulnerable Reps. Lauren Underwood (D) & Cheri Bustos (D) 3) Finally beat Rep. Rodney Davis (R)
The Republican most likely to get eliminated? You guessed it: #IL16 Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R), one of just 10 House Rs to vote for impeachment.
Not only is his district geographically easy to chop up, but many Dems figure he'd lose a primary to a pro-Trump candidate anyway.
For decades, advanced redistricting technology was the domain of political insiders who could afford to pay for prohibitively expensive software. The public couldn't draft maps that met legal standards. But that's rapidly changing.
There are now several commendable free web-based apps available, including DRA, DistrictBuilder and Districtr. All required an absolute ton of work to build, and redistricting nerds are lucky each has helped democratize mapping technology.
GEORGIA: Despite Dems' 2020 triumphs, GA Rs still control state gov't & redistricting may be their last chance to reverse the slide.
The likeliest scenario: merging #GA06 Rep. Lucy McBath (D) & #GA07 Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D) in northern ATL and drawing a 9R-5D map (right).
In the scenario above, McBath/Bourdeaux would have to face off in a primary for political survival. #GA07 and every other R district in the northern part of the state would have voted for Trump by 20%+ in 2020.
Rs would easily gain one seat towards the House majority. BUT...
There's also an outside chance Rs could attempt an even more aggressive gerrymander, targeting *both* #GA06 and #GA07 for a 10R-4D map.
In the scenario below, 10/14 districts would've voted for Trump by 15%+ points in 2020 - even though GA as a whole went for Biden.
FLORIDA: if you thought things couldn't get worse for Dems...it can. FL could be the GOP's biggest redistricting weapon of 2021.
FL is poised to gain two seats. At a minimum, Rs could easily add two new safe R seats (right) to the current 16R-11D map (left). But...
Because the FL Sup Ct has turned sharply right since 2015, Rs could be even more aggressive - in defiance of FL's Fair Districts amendments.
At the extreme end, Rs could attempt a 21R-8D gerrymander (below), which could cost Dems almost their entire House majority.
In the example above, Reps. Stephanie Murphy (D) #FL07, Charlie Crist (D) #FL13 and Al Lawson (D) #FL05 would all end up in double-digit Trump districts - which might help explain why Murphy & Crist are threatening statewide bids.
If CA does lose a seat, the commission is likely to axe a seat in slow-growing LA County. But even if it eliminates a Dem-held seat in central LA, that could pull surrounding seats inward, making #CA25 (right) a Biden +20 district - unwinnable for Garcia (R).
One LA district at risk of getting axed: Rep. Nanette Barragan (D)'s #CA44, which was originally drawn as a Black opportunity district and isn't performing. But she's bordered by three Dem incumbents age 79+, and could easily run for one of their seats if one retires.
ARIZONA: is poised to add a seat, its 7th straight decade with a gain. Perhaps fittingly after last decade's chaos, the commission has chosen a psychologist/life coach as its chair. For reference, the current map (5D, 4R) is below...
Republicans will likely push for more *compactness* - including putting Mohave Co. in #AZ01, which could doom O'Halleran (D) as well as creating a new R-heavy #AZ10 anchored by fast-growing Pinal Co., possibly converting 5D-4R to 6R-4D (below).
New York is poised to lose a seat. But if Dems end up drawing the map, it could be their biggest weapon of the redistricting cycle.
They could merge Stefanik/Tenney (if Tenney's lead holds in #NY22) and severely threaten other Rs, converting a 19D-8R map into 23D-3R (below).
Upstate: under the scenario (above) I've heard floated...
1. #NY27 Jacobs (R) would be axed 2. A safe new Syracuse/Utica #NY22 for Anthony Brindisi (D) 3. A new Ithaca/Kingston district, #NY12, for state Sen. Michelle Hinchey (D) 4. All current Dem incumbents get Biden +10 seats
One other feature of this play for Upstate: Dems would put Rep. John Katko (R)'s home in Camillus in a Syracuse-less #NY24 (purple), but keep it winnable for themselves in case Katko retires/loses a primary.
It's worth considering why Dems have succeeded in Georgia but failed in another state with a fairly similar demographic profile that's extremely important for their long-term prospects of winning power: North Carolina.
First of all, Georgia is simply a more "major metro" state. The Atlanta metro area now casts 59% of the state's votes, whereas the Charlotte/Research Triangle areas *combined* cast only 42% of North Carolina's votes.
NC is simply a more small town/rural state.
Second, whereas Dems "bottomed out" w/ rural GA whites a few years ago, they've continued to backslide w/ rural voters in NC - esp. in the Sandhills region - canceling out their suburban gains.
GA doesn't have an equivalent Robeson Co., which voted 58% Obama '12 & 59% Trump '20.
FWIW, I'm still very skeptical Hart/Dems can find 218 votes in the House, a partisan body, to overturn Iowa's state-certified results - especially when Hart never challenged the recount procedures in *court* during/after the recount. #IA02
On DCCC-facilitated press call, an IA reporter asks Hart attorney Marc Elias why they chose to take issue w/ some ballots before the House but not others. Elias says identifying these 22 ballots "made the cleanest presentation" - also notes they include four ballots not for Hart.
On call, Hart campaign says Hart has *not* been in touch with Pelosi/Dem leadership and that whether Miller-Meeks (R) is seated on 1/3 is ultimately up to the House Administration Committee. #IA02
Texas is set to gain three seats, and Republicans will likely try to expand their current 23R-13D edge to a 26R-13D edge - all while adding at least one new Hispanic majority seat and a new Dem seat in Austin. Here's how...
First, Rs would "pack" the districts held by Houston Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (D) #TX07 and Dallas Rep. Collin Allred (D) #TX32 w/ Dems, converting Fletcher's seat into a Hispanic majority seat. That would ease the creation of two new safe suburban R seats, #TX38 and #TX39.
Next, instead of dividing Austin six ways, Rs would create a new overwhelmingly blue Travis Co. seat (#TX37 here). The tradeoff? It would protect surrounding R districts against heavy D vote growth along the I-35 corridor for the next decade.