New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu has unveiled his redistricting plan for the state’s two congressional districts.
This comes after Sununu, a Republican, promised to veto the GOP-controlled legislature’s approved redistricting plan.
Sununu’s plan would keep NH-1’s status as a swing district, slightly changing NH-1’s current FiveThirtyEight R+1 partisan rating moving to a R+3. It also sees NH-2 going from a D+2 to a D+4.
New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District is currently a swing district. Democrats currently control the seat, and they’ve swapped control of the seat back and forth with the Republicans four times. A D+2 or a new D+4 partisan rating would traditionally mean that NH-2 would be considered a swing district as well. However, Republicans last won an election for New Hampshire’s 2nd Congressional District in the 2010 wave year election, which saw the GOP pick up over 60 seats in the U.S. House. The Democrats promptly took control back over NH-2 in the 2012 election and have yet to lose it since then.
The Republican legislature’s plan would have made New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District a virtual lock for the GOP by removing a large number of Democrat voters from that district and giving them to the 2nd district. The Legislature-proposed map would have seen NH-1’s current FiveThirtyEight R+1 partisan rating moving to a R+9. Political insiders saw incumbent U.S. Representative Chris Pappas’ (D-NH-01) chances at reelection as slim to none under that scenario. NH-2 was slated to move from a D+2 partisan rating to a D+10, giving Democrats a major advantage for that seat.
As soon as the GOP legislature passed their plan, Sununu announced his planned veto. “The proposed congressional redistricting map is not in the best interest of New Hampshire, and I will veto it as soon as it reaches my desk. The citizens of this state are counting on us to do better.”
NH-1 Democrat incumbent Pappas was pleased with Sununu’s reaction. WMUR reported that Pappas said in a statement, “I couldn’t agree more with Governor Sununu.”
Sununu’s stated preference is for a map that would keep both NH-1 and NH-2 competitive in line with the makeup of New Hampshire. “I think what you have to appreciate is that New Hampshire is a purple state,” Sununu said. “The idea of always keeping those seats in play keeps what we already have as a very engaged electorate — keeps them even more engaged.” Both of New Hampshire’s congressional districts are currently represented by Democrats.
Sources tell The Connecticut Star that they believe Sununu’s plan would have the likely effect of keeping of NH-2 in Democrat hands, while keeping NH-1 in play. The likely end result, sources say, is instead of one solid Democrat district and one solid Republican district like the legislature wanted, Sununu’s plan will result in one likely or probable Democrat district and one tossup district that leans Republican.
It is currently unclear if the New Hampshire legislature will be receptive to the governor’s plan.
– – –
Aaron Gulbransen is a reporter at The Connecticut Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]. Follow Aaron on GETTR.
Photo “Governor Christopher T. Sununu” by Office of Governor Christopher T. Sununu CC BY-SA 4.0 and photo “New Hampshire Capitol” by AlexiusHoratius CC BY-SA 3.0.