Category Archives: Redistricting

MAINE REDISTRICTING UPDATE

Maine Congressional Districts

The new Maine map made changes in the Augusta area, transferring the region from Rep. Chellie Pingree’s (D-North Haven/Portland) 1st District to Rep. Jared Golden’s (D-Lewiston) expansive 2nd District. The move meant 23,031 people were moved from the 1st to the 2nd.

Maine’s districts are important in that this is one of two states where congressional seats carry their own electoral votes in the presidential race. Though Maine went for Joe Biden in 2020 and Hillary Clinton in 2016, Donald Trump gained an electoral vote in each election because he carried the 2nd District. Under the new map, the Augusta area addition makes the 2nd slightly more Democratic, but it will remain competitive

Rep. Peter DeFazio to Retire

By Jim Ellis

Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Springfield)

Dec. 3, 2021 — Saying that he “…need[s] a little more time for myself, for my health and well-being, for my wife, my family, and the things I love in Oregon,” veteran Beaver State Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Springfield), chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, announced Tuesday that he will retire after completing his 18th term next year. He ranks sixth in House seniority.

Rep. DeFazio becomes the 19th Democrat, and third full committee chair, to not seek re-election in this cycle. The other retiring chairs are Reps. John Yarmuth (Budget) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (Science, Space, and Technology).

Through his 18 congressional elections, DeFazio averaged 64.4 percent of the vote, but his victory margins dropped precipitously since 2010. His 2020 performance, scoring just 51.5 percent of the vote, was the lowest of his long career. Since the 2010 election, inclusive, he failed to reach the 60 percent threshold and averaged 55.9 percent in a district that was becoming more Republican as the population grew substantially.

In all but the 2020 election during this 12-year period, Rep. DeFazio faced the same Republican opponent, college professor Art Robinson. Though Robinson ran five consecutive times from 2010 through 2018, he would make a maximum effort in only three of the campaigns.

In the most recent contest, a battle that DeFazio won 51-46 percent against Afghan War veteran and anti-terrorist hero Alex Skarlatos, the Republicans did target the contest. Skarlatos’ campaign committee spent almost $5.2 million, not counting the substantial independent expenditures that came into the district.

The 4th District of Oregon hugs most of the state’s beautiful Pacific Ocean coastline, and encompasses the Eugene-Springfield metro area as its population anchor. At the time of the 2020 election, 595,443 people were registered to vote in this congressional district, the second-highest total in the state. Of that number, 32.6 percent were registered Democrats, and 31.2 percent registered as non-affiliated, while 28.8 percent chose the Republican Party.

Despite the high number of registered voters, the 4th District’s population shed figure was 117,399 individuals, very large for most states, but actually the lowest total among Oregon’s five CDs. Such is the principal reason the state gained a sixth district in reapportionment.

When the new map was drawn, the state legislative leadership had a goal of creating a 5D-1R map. In order to achieve this ratio, at least one of the Democratic seats would be weak from a partisan perspective.

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OKLAHOMA REDISTRICTING UPDATE

Oklahoma Congressional redistricting map

The Sooner State was both a long way from gaining and losing a seat under the 2020 census, so the state remains constant with five congressional districts. Three of these districts will now come into Oklahoma County, the entity housing the state’s largest metropolis, Oklahoma City.

The big change, aside from feeding the 2nd District (Rep. Markwayne Mullin-R) with 69,793 additional residents needed to bring this seat into population balance, comes in the capital city area. Bringing Rep. Frank Lucas’ (R-Cheyenne) rural western state 3rd District into Oklahoma County and adding more rural territory into freshman Rep. Stephanie Bice’s (R-Oklahoma City) district creates a much safer 5th CD for her and yields a stronger 5R-0D delegation for the GOP.

NORTH CAROLINA REDISTRICTING UPDATE

(Please click on map for expanded view.)

Rep. G.K. Butterfield’s (D-Wilson) retirement announcement throws the state’s new 2nd District into the slightly competitive range. President Biden would have carried this seat only with a 51-48% margin, thus meaning it could become competitive in a strong Republican year with a viable GOP candidate. Such could be the situation in 2022.

With the 2nd District potentially in play, even the state’s projected 10R-4D delegation split could possibly tilt even more toward the Republicans. That could be balanced, however, because the new 14th District in western North Carolina is more attainable for the Democrats. Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-Hendersonville) deciding to run in District 13 means the more politically marginal 14th will move into the open seat category for 2022.

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.