Democrats currently have the lead in redistricting efforts with four states still working on new maps.
Forty states – 46 if the states that have one congressional district are included – have finished the process of drawing new maps for U.S. House of Representatives districts. Only Florida, Missouri, Louisiana, and New Hampshire have yet to finish their redistricting process.
Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight is one of the websites that provides partisan ratings for U.S. House districts. As of March 8, they currently rate 181 districts as being Democratic-leaning, 177 districts as being Republican-leaning, and an additional 33 districts as being highly competitive seats. There are 44 districts not accounted for in the math because they are located in the four states that have not completed the process.
FiveThirtyEight states that those ratings have resulted in 11 more Democrat-leaning districts, with Republicans losing six GOP-leaning seats. There are also six seats that are no longer rated highly competitive. New York’s redistricting alone, where the Democrats controlled the process, resulted in a minimum of a three-district partisan rating gain for the Democrats. Court decisions in other states have also been blamed for contributing to those numbers.
Florida, with its 28 U.S. House districts, has the opportunity to make a big difference for the GOP if the decision makers chose to go that route. Republicans in Florida have total control of the redistricting process, as they control the legislature and the governor’s mansion. Florida’s current congressional delegation has 27 members, 16 Republicans and 11 Democrats, and the census gave Florida an additional congressional seat.
There are two maps currently making their way through the process, with both creating an additional Republican-leaning seat. The Florida Capital Star previously reported that one of the maps, labeled the House primary plan, took Governor Ron DeSantis’ recommendations regarding the 5th Congressional District, a district that DeSantis says is an “unconstitutional gerrymander.”
Republicans have full control of the Missouri redistricting process since they control the governor’s mansion and the legislature. Republicans are currently trying to pass maps that would largely keep the partisan makeup of the districts in tact, except for strengthening Missouri’s 2nd district for the incumbent. Missouri has eight congressional districts.
In Louisiana, the Republicans have control of the state legislature, but the Democrat governor has to sign off on the new maps. The current proposal, passed by the legislature in February, keeps the partisan makeup of five strong Republican seats and one majority Democrat seat. Democrat Governor John Bel Edwards may veto the plan, as he has stated his preference for an additional majority-minority district.
New Hampshire has both a Republican governor and a GOP majority in the legislature. Under the current maps for two congressional districts, one seat leans very slightly Republican in partisan rating and the other leans slightly Democrat. Both districts are currently represented by Democrats. The current proposal that is making it way through New Hampshire’s legislature, if enacted, would significantly strengthen one district for the Democrats and almost certainly make the other a Republican district.
The current partisan analysis of the redistricting process is not complete. With the four states remaining that have not completed their redistricting process and states like North Carolina and Georgia in litigation, the full picture is likely not going to be clear for several months.
One thing the GOP has going in their favor is that 31 Democrat incumbents have announced retirement, compared to 16 Republican incumbents.
Under the current makeup of the House, Republicans need to win seven seats to attain a majority of the seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.
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Aaron Gulbransen is a reporter at The Florida Capital Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]. Follow Aaron on GETTR.
Photo “Florida Capitol” by Michael Rivera. CC BY-SA 3.0.