The finalized congressional maps of all 50 states are now available for use in elections this November. This is a significant milestone in the once-in-a-decade process to redraw lines for political representation.
On Tuesday, New Hampshire became the last state that fully enacted its map. While Florida, Texas and Alabama are still fighting legal battles over partisan gerrymandering and other issues, the maps they have enacted will be in place for the midterm elections.
These maps show us what we can expect from the midterm elections in 2022:
According to CBS News' analysis of data from Dave’s Redistricting App, Democrats will see a net gain in 2020 U.S. House Elections that will favor their party by at most 5 points.
According to a CBS News analysis, 181 seats favor Democrats and 173 lean towards Republicans. 81 seats, however, are considered competitive (within 5 percentage points for each party).
This is the party's most fair map in three decades.
Although Democrats were able to redraw less seats than Republicans (187 to 75 seats), they were able to gain some ground by pressing their advantage in states such as Oregon and Illinois where they control the legislature. They also gained an advantage through legal victories at the Supreme Courts of North Carolina and Pennsylvania, as well as independent commissions in California (and Michigan) that helped them.
Reapportionment is the process by which states are determined to gain or lose congressional districts based upon their census data. It also led to more Democratic states losing a seat (New York and Illinois, California) that Republican states (West Virginia and Ohio).
Kelly Ward Burton, president and CEO of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee believes that the party has an advantage on the map that will last for the remainder of the decade. According to her, their numbers showed 215 districts where Biden received more than 52% of votes, as opposed to the 196 seats in which he won less than 48%.
However, Democrats were able to see their advantage from redistricting shrink when a heavily Democratic gerrymander in New York was removed. This happened while Republicans in Florida successfully mapped an errymander that would give them four additional seats in Congress.
"At DCCC, we understand the difficulty of that [New York] map for 2022 incumbents. We also know the work that must be done in 2022. Burton stated that Democrats will be able to see the entire landscape of the decade when they pull out the map and examine it.
"The 2022 redistricting story has a different ending. Redistricting is about setting the stage for the next decade. She added that this map is not only the map of '22 but also the map of '24, '26."
Any gains made by Democrats may not be immediately apparent, particularly if Republicans win the House by a wide margin.
"Republicans were not going to depend on redistricting to win majority support. This was clear from the beginning. "We've always said that we need great candidates, a winning message, and sufficient resources to make history and remove Nancy Pelosi," Michael McAdams, spokesperson for the National Republican Congressional Committee said.
McAdams said that the current political climate "has created tremendous opportunities for Republicans to win, regardless of the new maps." There is a tremendous opportunity for Republicans when you look at Joe Biden's performance as well as his numbers with Independents.
President of the National Republican Redistricting Trust Adam Kincaid stated that Democratic legislators had "extended themselves" in Nevada and Illinois by drawing districts that have been voted more Democratic in previous elections but are still within Republican reach this November.
He referred to Nevada as the "dummymander", calling it the "dummymander". Nevada's Democratic majority "unpacked" some voters from the heavily Democratic 1st District to shore up the 3rd, and 4th Districts which both have Democratic incumbents.
"Democrats tried to draw as many seats at Biden +8 and Biden +12 as possible," he said. He said that he didn't think those seats would hold up in the fall.
Burton replied, "Let's accept that they do [win Nevada seats]," It's a bad cycle. Democrats can win it back in a presidential election, and in a better period, since the voters decide the outcome. That's the way it should be, by definition.
Kincaid said that the numbers showed that states with an independent commission or bipartisan commission were a wash for both parties. He called this a "big win".
The NRRT also found that the 18 states in which Republicans held control increased the number 17 of the seats that favor former President Donald Trump by at least 10 percentage points in 2020. This was possible because of states like Texas which supported incumbent Republicans by drawing in more rural areas to their districts at the expense of competitive seats.
The NRRT's total map shows a rise of 11 Trump seats compared with a decrease of 2 Biden seats. Kincaid stated that this raises the floor for House Republicans, and allows them to spend more money on offensive targets rather than defending incumbents.
"Republicans are more likely to recoup votes in suburbs than Democrats in rural areas. All we have done is given ourselves the opportunity to build on our alliance while they hope their Biden coalition stays together. He said that he doesn't see any evidence of this happening on their side.
According to a CBS News analysis, the number of competitive districts (those with a +/– 5 point partisan lean), has dropped by ten. Analysts and redistricting experts warn that primary elections are now more important than ever due to the decline in competitive House races over recent decades.
This could lead to a more polarized and partisan U.S. House.
"Everything in a lot of the country boils down to the primaries now, and primary electorates make up a small portion of the general election electorate. Redistricting expert Michael Li from the Brennan Center said that those are the decisive factors. "There will be less competition in the foreseeable future."
Republican states like Texas, Georgia, and New York effectively took the board's seats by drawing more rural areas into suburban district districts. However moderate Republican members of Congress such Adam Kinzinger from Illinois and John Katko from New York were forced to retire due to the Democratic maps in their respective states.
Democrat Carolyn Bouredeaux, a Georgia Democrat and centrist Democrat was forced to face incumbents in Georgia's 7th District. She was defeated by Rep. Lucy McBath who is a progressive Democrat and an advocate against gun violence.
Tim Persico is the executive director of Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He stated that while there has been a decline in competitive seats, it's not a permanent decrease.
He said, "Quote unquote competitive can refer to different things in different cycles. But largely it's a similar number of seats so that our work doesn’t change much." "We entered this cycle with the goal of leaving redistricting with a map we could win on. I think we feel quite good about having a map we can win."
According to the NRRT, there was a 13-seat decrease that was within 10 points for Trump or President Biden under the new map. The NDRC only found 31 seats that met their definition of competitive. This is within two percentage points of 50% on a general partisan scale.
Despite the increase in minority and biracial citizens as shown in the 2020 Census. Their representation was not included in many of these new maps.
According to 2020 Census data, Texas' Hispanic and Latino residents have closed the gap to White residents to 0.5%. Despite the fact that the state was awarded two new Congressional seats due to their population growth, the number Latino-majority Congressional district numbers remained the same in the Republican legislative map.
Florida's Republican Governor. Ron DeSantis drew a map to dismantle Florida's 5th District. This sprawling Democratic district ran from Jacksonville, Tallahassee, and was dominated by Black residents. It is now about a third its original size, solidly Republican, and has a 12.8% Black voter age population.
New York Democratic legislators claimed that the court-adopted Congressional Map targeted Black members of Congress, drawing multiple Democratic incumbents to the same seat.
California and Illinois were able increase the number of seats with Latino-majority or Asian-majority residents. After the release of census data, both states lost a congressional district.
Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana are Republican-led states with racial gerrymandering lawsuits that will be resolved after the 2022 elections. Multiple federal and state court rulings ruled that the cases were not close enough to the primary elections to alter the map.
After the November elections, Alabama's Supreme Court will hear a case about whether two of the Republican-led states should have majority-Black districts. According to the 2020 Census, only one of six districts in the state has a majority-Black population. However, 26.8% of the state’s population is Black.
Michael McDonald, a redistricting data expert at the University of Florida, said if the conservative-majority court chips away at the Voting Rights Act (VRA) in that Alabama case, it will be pivotal to the future of voting rights and result in a lack of racial voting protections in federal statute or law.
It's not just about how many votes you cast, but also how effective they are. There are many ways to make your vote less effective. Gerrymandering is one of them. You could see these states going back and deciding that they are going to redraw the districts they have now that they know they don't need to worry about section 2 of the Voting Rights act.
The Upper East Side and Upper West Side of New York City will share the same congressional district for the first time ever in modern history. This union will result in a matchup of incumbents and incumbents between Jerrold Nadler (long-serving Democratic Rep) and Carolyn Maloney (New York's 12th District).
Redistricting has created at least five additional primary matches in the United States with the same incumbent party. Two of these have already taken place: Alex Mooney (a Trump-backed Republican) beat David McKinley, West Virginia's 2nd District. McBath beat Bourdeaux, Georgia's 7th District.