First redistricting maps: Texas, Georgia, and Oregon
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Texas Republicans, who control the redistricting process, released a draft proposal for a new congressional map (pdf) that would add two new congressional seats to the state’s delegation. The suggested boundaries eliminate the most competitive districts and protect incumbents. The effect would be keeping the status quo in which Republicans hold a 10-seat advantage over Democrats, with approximately 24 districts likely to be won by a Republican and 14 seats by a Democrat.
- Safe Republican seats would double from 11 to 22. Districts that Trump won in 2020 would increase from 22 to 25.
- Safe Democratic seats would increase from eight to 12. Districts that voted for Biden would shrink from 14 to 13.
- Toss-up seats would be reduced from 12 to one. This single competitive seat (with a margin between Biden and Trump voters of less than five points), Congressional District 15 held by Rep. Vicente Gonzalez Jr. (D), would go from being narrowly Democratic to narrowly Republican.
- Black and Hispanic populations were divided across the board, diluting their vote in safely Republican districts. This is particularly significant because people of color accounted for 95% of the state’s growth over the last decade. In the proposed map, here’s one less Hispanic majority district and zero districts with a Black majority.
- “This map is clearly gerrymandered by politicians to protect incumbents and totally discriminate against Hispanic voters,” Domingo Garcia, national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens said. “LULAC has filed suit against the state of Texas every 10 years since 1970 and we’ve prevailed every 10 years. Unless there’s new maps drawn, we expect we will wind up in federal court again.”
Georgia’s Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan (R) and Senator John F. Kennedy (R-District 18) released their proposed map of the Georgia Congressional Districts (pdf), likely to be the first of many versions. Their suggested boundaries for Georgia’s 14 districts is a weaker gerrymander than many anticipated (source and source). The final map will likely be chosen during the state legislature’s special session set to start in November.
- Republicans currently hold eight seats. The proposed map creates eight safe Republican seats.
- Democrats currently hold six seats. The proposed map reduces creates four safe Democratic seats.
- Two seats are deemed competitive: District 2 would have a 7-point Democratic lean and District 6 would have a 6-point Republican lean.
- The biggest change targets Atlanta’s 6th District, held by Lucy McBath—a Democrat who upended decades of Republican incumbency by defeating Rep. Karen Handel in 2018. Under the proposed map, McBath’s district would become more Republican: from Biden +11 to Trump +6.
- Strangely, the map draws Andrew Clyde (R-District 9) into a reconfigured 10th Congressional District for no obvious reason. This is another reason experts doubt the final map will resemble Duncan and Kennedy’s proposal.
Oregon became the first state in the nation to pass its new congressional and legislative district maps, with Gov. Kate Brown (D) signing the bills Monday just hours before the midnight deadline. The new congressional district plan (image) was created after Republicans boycotted the legislative session in protest of the original map, which was drawn to heavily benefit Democrats. In order to lure Republicans back to the chamber—to obtain a quorum—Democrats created a more balanced map.
Rep. Suzanne Weber, R-Tillamook, said many Republicans were motivated to show up and vote for a congressional district map they abhor by fear that Democratic Secretary of State Shemia Fagan, a left leaning Democrat seen by some as particularly partisan, would draw legislative districts more beneficial to her party than the fairly representative Legislature-drawn maps. “Many of us (Republicans) are only here because we don’t trust the secretary of state to draw these maps,” Weber said.
The final map includes four seats that are likely to be won by Democrats, one safe Republican seat, and one toss-up district. In comparison, the initial proposal would have guaranteed Democrats five of the state’s six seats.
Democrats’ state House and Senate district plans would likely give Democrats a good chance of maintaining their supermajority in the House and expanding it in the Senate, while giving most current state representatives and senators a good chance to win reelection, according to The Oregonian/OregonLive’s analysis. Additionally, the nonpartisan group PlanScore, which is affiliated with the Campaign Legal Center, found in its statistical analyses of the Democrats’ legislative maps that they would result in relatively representative districts with a slightly disproportionate benefit for Republicans in the House and a slightly disproportionate benefit for Democrats in the Senate.