Category Archives: House

Dissecting the New York Map

The recently enacted New York congressional map (go to FiveThirtyEight.com to see fully interactive map, or click on the map above.)

By Jim Ellis

Feb. 10, 2022 — The recently enacted New York congressional map is one of the most gerrymandered in the country and designed to reduce the Republican contingent to just four of 26 seats. While Republicans will no doubt challenge the map in court, some of the moves, however, will prove justifiable.

Since the Democrats control the redistricting process in only four states, national pressure came upon the party’s legislative leaders in New York, Illinois, New Mexico, and Oregon to draw the maximum partisan maps. They did so in each case, but when such a map is constructed, invariably some of the majority seats are weakened to the point of being competitive in wave election years for the opposite party. Such appears to be the case with the New York lines.

To begin, the map drawers were able to cut the Republican contingent in half by executing several fundamental strategic moves.

First, they reduced Democratic strength (even with the current map or weaker) in 15 of the current 19 party held districts but still made the seats untouchable. Second, the remaining four Republican districts saw an increase in GOP loyalty. Third, the Republicans were forced to absorb the seat the state lost in national reapportionment, and the Dems were able to take advantage of three GOP members not seeking re-election: Reps. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley; running for governor), Tom Reed (R-Corning; retiring) and John Katko (R-Syracuse; retiring).

Using the FiveThirtyEight statistical organization’s rating of each new district, we can draw conclusions about party performance in each of the new 26 CDs.

The Democratic members receiving politically safe seats ranging from D+20 all the way to D+77 are mostly from New York City: Reps. Gregory Meeks (D-Queens; D+54), Grace Meng (D-Queens; D+24), Nydia Velazquez (D-Brooklyn; D+65), Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn; D+55), Yvette Clarke (D-Brooklyn; D+55), Jerrold Nadler (D-New York City; D+52), Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan; D+67), Adriano Espaillat (D-Bronx; D+77), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Bronx; D+50), Ritchie Torres (D-Bronx; D+72), Jamaal Bowman (D-Yonkers; D+36), and Brian Higgins (D-Buffalo; D+20).

The four safe Republican seats are mostly in upstate New York, with one Long Island exception. Those seats are for Reps. Andrew Garbarino (R-Sayville; R+20), Elise Stefanik (R-Schuylerville; R+23), Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford; R+26), and Chris Jacobs (R-Orchard Park; R+25).

The collapsed seat is actually Rep. Tenney’s current 22nd District. It was justified combining the 22nd with Rep. Reed’s 23rd because those districts, located adjacent to one another, are the two lowest in population.

The current 22nd District was then combined with Rep. Katko’s current 24th to make the new open 22nd District, which resulted in a D+13 rating and a district again anchored in Syracuse. The voting trends in the new 22nd increase from the D+4 rating that the current 24th carries.

The new draw and Rep. Reed’s retirement allows Rep. Tenney to run in the new 23rd where she will likely have to win a competitive Republican primary, but would have a safe seat in the general election. The new 23rd, however, contains only 10 percent of her current constituency.

Rep. Jacobs’ current 27th District is then pushed northward from his Buffalo and Rochester outer suburbs district into a new safely Republican 24th CD that contains just under 60 percent of his current constituency. He, too, could face GOP primary opposition but will have a safe seat for the general election.

Democrats will have a strong chance of converting open District 1 on Long Island. This seat goes from a R+10 rating that Zeldin held to a D+6. Currently, with Suffolk County Legislators Bridget Fleming and Kara Hahn in the race, along with ex-Babylon Town Councilwoman Jackie Gordon who was the District 2 nominee in 2020, the Democrats have the stronger early contenders. The candidate filing deadline is not until April 7 for the June 28 primary, so the GOP has time to coalesce around a viable candidate of their own.

Rep. Tom Suozzi’s (D-Glen Cove) Long Island-anchored 3rd District increases to D+10 from D+6. He is running for governor and leaves behind a crowded Democratic primary field. The winner will face consensus Republican candidate George Santos (R) who performed surprisingly well as the 2020 nominee.

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Alabama Map Ruling Stayed; Redistricting Update

By Jim Ellis

Alabama redistricting map (Click on the map above or go to DavesRedistricting.org to see interactive map)

Feb. 9, 2022 — On a 5-4 vote, the US Supreme Court voted to stay the lower court ruling that invalidated the new Alabama congressional map. A Republican three-judge panel had ruled that a second majority minority district could have been drawn among the state’s seven congressional districts, and thus disqualified the plan on Jan. 23.

Writing a concurring opinion, Justice Brett Kavanaugh stated that the lower court decision was made too close to the 2022 election, meaning that the judicial process would not have proper time to hear the appeal and make an educated ruling prior to the state’s scheduled primary election. The ruling does not mean the appeal was granted, but merely postpones hearing the case to a later date.

Analysts say the stay ensures that the original map will be in place for this year’s election. It does not mean, however, that the map won’t be altered for the 2024 election and beyond.

The new plan is virtually an extension of the current map, which elected six Republicans and one Democrat in the 2020 election. It was a curious original decision, not only because the judges that ruled against the GOP map drawers were appointed by former President Donald Trump (2) and the late President Ronald Reagan (1), but that the same map footprint stood unencumbered for the past 10 years.

The major change made from the current map to the new draw came in the 7th CD, which is the Voting Rights district. The legislature, however, had no choice but to make a substantial change. AL-7 was 53,143 people short of reaching the state’s congressional district population quota of 717,754 individuals.

The previous ruling also postponed the Jan. 28 candidate filing deadline for the Alabama US House candidates. Those running for all other offices have now already filed and been qualified for the respective party primary ballots. The congressional candidates will now file on Feb. 11.

Redistricting Notes

• Summarizing the legal action in other states, the North Carolina map has been disqualified and the legislature will now return to redraw the congressional and state legislative maps. As has been the case throughout the previous decade, the partisan Republican legislature and the partisan Democratic state Supreme Court continue to go back and forth over the issue of partisan gerrymandering.

• The lower court ruling in Michigan rejected the Detroit area Democratic current and former state legislators’ claim that the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission members violated the Voting Rights Act in drawing the city of Detroit’s congressional and state legislative maps. Unless an appeal is granted, the new Michigan maps will stand for this year’s elections.

• The Kansas legislature adjourned without voting to override Gov. Laura Kelly’s (D) veto of the state’s congressional map. The hasty adjournment move, however, allows the legislature to reconsider the veto override. Without a successful override vote, the map will go to the courts for a redrawing of the Kansas City metro area.

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North Carolina Map Rejected

Rejected 2022 North Carolina Congressional Redistricting map (click on map above or here to go to an interactive map at DavesRedistricting.com)

By Jim Ellis

Feb. 8, 2022 — In what has almost been a decade-long game of gerrymander ping pong, the state Supreme Court on Friday rejected the new North Carolina congressional and state legislative maps, thus repeating their actions from the two previous times the panel’s majority disqualified a Republican legislature’s map.

The vote was 4-3, with all four Democrats voting in favor of declaring the map a partisan gerrymander, consistent with their past action, while the three Republicans voted to uphold the plans.

We are again looking at a relatively quick re-draw situation because the twice-postponed North Carolina primary is now scheduled for June 7. If an agreement cannot be reached, it is possible the candidate filing deadline and statewide primary are again postponed.

The high court’s move was expected, but this is a serious setback to Republicans from a national perspective since North Carolina appears to be the only state where the party can gain multiple seats through redistricting.

It is likely that the inter-party pairing of Reps. Virginia Foxx (R-Banner Elk) and Kathy Manning (D-Greensboro) will be re-drawn when a new congressional version is passed. The Greensboro area has been the major focal point of this and the previous maps, with the partisan Republican legislature and partisan Democratic court continuing to battle over a map that will eventually become the state’s 2022 political playing field.

As drawn, the legislature’s map — under North Carolina law and procedure, the governor, in this case Democrat Roy Cooper, has no veto power over redistricting — would have returned either 10 Republicans and 4 Democrats or possibly has high as 11 Republicans and 3 Democrats. Under the current draw, the Republican advantage is 8-5.

North Carolina gained one seat under national reapportionment, and the last iteration of the state Supreme Court map, ordered before the 2020 election, resulted in the Republicans losing two seats, one in Raleigh and the other in the Greensboro area.

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House Money: Year-End 2021

By Jim Ellis

Feb. 7, 2022 — The Federal Elections Commission finally posted the year-end 2021 campaign financial disclosure numbers, and the Daily Kos Elections site statistical team has already compiled the totals for both the House and Senate.

We concentrate on the House financial picture since all of the competitive Senate races will feature each party’s nominee having more than enough funding with which to communicate their message to the targeted voter segments.

Our first table illustrates the House leadership’s fundraising totals, as they are a key focal point of national funding for their candidates. With a close House partisan division, and a large number of competitive races slated for November, the political dollars will be flowing abundantly.

The text shows the member’s name (party identified by color: red = GOP; blue = DEM ), the amount (in thousands) raised in the 4th quarter of 2021, the cash-on-hand reported in the member’s campaign account on Dec. 31, 2021, and how much the income each campaign committee reports for the entire 2022 election cycle.

Leadership

NAME ST-DIST 4TH QTR CASH-ON-HAND CYCLE-TO-DATE
McCARTHY, KEVIN CA-20 $3,758       $8,350       $14,890
PELOSI, NANCY CA-11 $2,844       $5,420       $15,941
SCALISE, STEVE LA-1 $2,652       $6,524       $12,888
STEFANIK, ELISE NY-21 $1,078       $3,140       $5,050
CLYBURN, JIM SC-6 $523       $2,452       $1,761
HOYER, STENY MD-5 $443       $1,164       $1,916

$1 Million in Qtr 4 – Non-Leadership Incumbents

NAME ST-DIST 4TH QTR CASH-ON-HAND CYCLE-TO-DATE
SCHIFF, ADAM CA-30 $2,806       $16,766       $9,997
PORTER, KATIE CA-47 $2,515       $16,125       $10,231
CRENSHAW, DAN TX-2 $2,115       $4,516       $10,794
CHENEY, LIZ WY-AL $2,043       $4,715       $7,221
JORDAN, JIM OH-4 $1,448       $8,532       $6,891
OCASIO-CORTEZ, AL. NY-14 $1,422       $6,236       $9,879
KIM, YOUNG CA-40 $1,216       $2,564       $4,009
GREENE, MARJORIE T. GA-14 $1,185       $3,512       $8,690
JACKSON, RONNY TX-13 $1,126       $1,079       $2,450
KRISHNAMOORTHI, RAJA IL-8 $1,108       $11,551       $4,447
GOTTHEIMER, JOSH NJ-5 $1,041       $12,012       $3,950
SCHRIER, KIM WA-8 $1,002       $4,022       $3,026

$1 Million in Qtr 4 – Open Seats & Challengers

NAME ST-DIST 4TH QTR CASH-ON-HAND CYCLE-TO-DATE
FLOWERS, MARCUS GA-14 $1,321       $1,544       $4,603
LUTTRELL, MARCUS TX-8 $1,186       $1,618       $1,923
HUNT, WESLEY TX-38 $1,004       $1,555       $2,029

Most Cash-on-Hand – $3 Million +

NAME ST-DIST 4TH QTR CASH-ON-HAND CYCLE-TO-DATE
SCHIFF, ADAM CA-30 $2,806       $16,766       $9,997
PORTER, KATIE CA-47 $2,515       $16,125       $10,231
GOTTHEIMER, JOSH NJ-5 $1,041       $12,012       $3,950
JORDAN, JIM OH-4 $1,448       $8,532       $6,891
McCARTHY, KEVIN CA-20 $3,758       $8,350       $14,890
SCALISE, STEVE LA-1 $2,652       $6,524       $12,888
HARDER, JOSH CA-9 $867       $6,316       $3,660
OCASIO-CORTEZ, AL. NY-14 $1,422       $6,236       $9,879
DELGADO, ANTONIO NY-19 $708       $5,481       $3,219
DOGGETT, LLOYD TX-37 $166       $5,476       $582
PELOSI, NANCY CA-11 $2,844       $5,420       $15,941
SHERRILL, MIKIE NJ-11 $771       $5,078       $2,911
THANEDAR, SHRI MI-13 $5       $5,000       $5
CHENEY, LIZ WY-AL $2,043       $4,715       $7,221
HOULAHAN, CHRISSY PA-6 $464       $4,545       $2,005
CRENSHAW, DAN TX-2 $2,115       $4,516       $10,794
SLOTKIN, ELISSA MI-7 $957       $4,509       $3,894
KHANNA, RO CA-17 $310       $4,330       $3,556
FOSTER, BILL IL-11 $383       $4,264       $917
LaHOOD, DARIN IL-17 $550       $4,244       $2,080
SCHRIER, KIM WA-8 $1,002       $4,022       $3,026
SHERMAN, BRAD CA-32 $244       $3,956       $1,083
PALLONE, FRANK NJ-6 $362       $3,836       $1,296
BROWNLEY, JULIA CA-26 $223       $3,658       $930
SCHRADER, KURT OR-5 $427       $3,563       $1,408
GREENE, MARJORIE T. GA-14 $1,185       $3,512       $8,690
CONNOLLY, GERRY VA-11 $199       $3,497       $1,079
KILMER, DEREK WA-6 $258       $3,464       $1,147
KIM, ANDY NJ-3 $761       $3,300       $3,369
CHU, JUDY CA-28 $214       $3,177       $656
STEFANIK, ELISE NY-21 $1,078       $3,140       $5,050
JEFFRIES, HAKEEM NY-8 $787       $3,119       $3,046
SPANBERGER, ABIGAIL VA-7 $776       $3,036       $3,066

Michigan House Action Wave

Michigan Congressional Redistricting Map. (Click on image to go to FiveThirtyEight.com to see interactive map.)

By Jim Ellis

Feb. 3, 2022 — Though the Michigan congressional lines are in litigation and filing time is still more than two months away in preparation for the state’s August 2nd primary election, Tuesday was a busy day on the Wolverine State’s US House front.

First, in the paired Republican incumbent 4th District where Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Holland) is seeking re-election and appears ready to face fellow Rep. Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph), a third candidate announced that he would not abandon his own Republican campaign despite seeing an unfavorable district draw.

State Rep. Steve Carra (R-Portage) said that he intends to remain in the new 4th Congressional District race despite potentially having to face two incumbents and not having any of his current state House District lying in the new 4th. His legislative district will now be fully contained in Rep. Tim Walberg’s (R-Tipton) new 5th CD that stretches the width of Michigan along the state’s southern border. Carra earned former President Trump’s endorsement in his pre-redistricting bid against Rep. Upton.

When queried about the difficulty of the paired nomination race for a non-incumbent such as himself, Carra said, “It doesn’t matter whether there’s one or two status quo Republicans in the race.”

For his part, Rep. Upton is not yet committing to run for a 19th term, saying he wants to further study the new district and see whether the courts disqualify the current map. A group of current and former Democratic state legislators have filed suit against the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission claiming the members violated the Voting Rights Act with their draw of the congressional and state legislative districts in Detroit and Wayne County.

The 4th District will be one of the most interesting primary campaigns in the state and possibly the nation if Huizenga and Upton ultimately face each other. With Carra coming to the race with the Trump endorsement and potentially testing just how much the ex-President’s support actually means, he becomes a wild card entry.

Another incumbent who did not fare well in the redistricting process is freshman Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Grand Rapids). His 3rd District moves from an R+9 to a D+3 seat according to the FiveThirtyEight statistical site. Dave’s Redistricting App scores the CD at 50.1 percent Democratic and 46.5 percent Republican. President Biden would have carried the new 3rd, 53-45 percent. Therefore, Rep. Meijer, along with potential primary problems because he, too, voted in favor of the Trump impeachment, has a difficult political road ahead.

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