Author Archives: Jim Ellis

MONTANA REDISTRICTING UPDATE

Missoula Current news site

The Montana Districting and Apportionment Commission passed a congressional map that will likely send two Republicans to Washington, though the new western 1st District is potentially competitive. The map passed because one of the Democratic commissioners voted for the Republican plan.

Montana is the first state in history to be reduced to at-large status – this happened in the 1990 census – only to regain their lost seat. The state was awarded a second district in the current national reapportionment.

INDIANA REDISTRICTING UPDATE

FiveThirtyEight.com

Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) signed the new congressional redistricting legislation in early October, becoming one of the first states to complete the decennial re-drawing process.

The main change in the nine-district map was to make freshman Rep. Victoria Spartz’s (R-Noblesville) seat more Republican by sending the previous 5th District’s Marion County precincts to other congressional districts. The Spartz seat was the most over-populated district in the state, having to release 50,921 individuals to other districts. Therefore, this district became the focal point of the new map.

The Indiana legislature drew a map that should return a 7R-2D delegation to Washington for most, if not all, of the current decade.

IDAHO REDISTRICTING UPDATE

Idaho Press.com

The Gem State map was enacted with little change to the state’s two-district map. A total of 35,338 people were switched from Rep. Russ Fulcher’s (R-Meridian) 1st District to Rep. Mike Simpson’s (R-Idaho Falls) 2nd District. With a per district state population quota of a huge 919,553 residents, the nation’s second-fastest growing state during the past decade is in strong position to gain a third district in the 2030 reapportionment.

For the current decade, expect Idaho to retain a 2R-0D congressional delegation.

The Open and Collapsed Seats

By Jim Ellis

A look at how things might play out in key states in the redistricting tug of wars

Dec. 2, 2021 — In a redistricting year, tracking the open seats can be a bit confusing. Not only do we record retiring members and those seeking other offices, as we do in every election cycle, but in a redistricting year we also see new seats awarded to states in reapportionment, new districts created through map drawing, and collapsed seats. This, in addition to members being paired and certain incumbents choosing to run in districts other than the one they currently represent.

The open seat numbers have grown significantly during the past month. As a result, we see 24 members leaving their current districts either for retirement or to run for another office. Sixteen are from the majority Democratic conference, with eight coming from their Republican counterparts.

One seat, FL-20, remains in special election cycle and will be filled on Jan. 11. At that point, the House will have its full compliment of 435 members for the first time in this Congress.

Reapportionment changed locations within states for seven congressional seats, and map drawing has added an additional four new seats to date for a total of 11 nationally. The new seats also lead to a commensurate number of incumbent pairings or collapsed districts.

Adding the numbers from all of these categories tells us that 43 House seats have been affected in addition to four members who have declared for seats they don’t currently represent.

The collapsed seats tell their own story. In this category, certain members have nowhere to run, typically in states that lost a seat in reapportionment. In many instances, the member without a place to run is one who had previously indicated that he or she is leaving the House.

In California, the first draft redistricting map shows that Rep. Karen Bass’ (D-Los Angeles) seat would be the one collapsed, because the state is, for the first time in history, losing a district. Bass, however, previously announced that she is running for mayor of Los Angeles, so seeing her seat as the one forfeited was not a surprise.

Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Channahon) was geographically in a difficult position because the map drawers needed the leftward voters in his district to enhance two adjoining Democratic seats. Therefore, he became the odd man out.

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UTAH REDISTRICTING UPDATE

Utah 2021 Congressional redistricting map

Gov. Spencer Cox (R) signed the congressional and state legislative maps. The congressional map will lock in the Republicans’ 4R-0D advantage. The legislature adopted a pie-shaped option, meaning that all four of the state’s CDs receive a portion of the state’ largest metro area, Salt Lake County.

The biggest change occurs in the state’s 4th District, where Rep. Burgess Owens’ (R-Salt Lake City) district goes from being the most politically marginal seat to the safest Republican domain in the state. The 4th was also Utah’s most over-populated seat, having to disperse 65,265 residents to other districts. This allowed the map drawers more latitude in making the seat more Republican for the freshman incumbent.