Assessing The Cross-Voting Districts

By Jim Ellis

Feb. 23, 2021 — The Daily Kos Elections website staff have just completed the calculations they perform after every presidential election: that is, determining how all 435 congressional district electorates voted for president, and then cross-referencing that result with their US House vote.

In the 2020 election, they find that more than 96 percent of the districts voted for the same party’s candidate for President and US House, thus leaving 16 in the “cross-district” category. Nine of the 16 voted for President Biden but then chose a Republican House member. In seven others, the electorates backed former President Trump but reverted to the Democrat’s column for their US House Representative.

The districts that went for Biden for President
and a Republican for House are:

• CA-21: President Biden: 54.4% – David Valadao (R): 50.5%

It’s not a surprise to see this Bakersfield-Fresno district on the cross-district list. When Valadao first represented the seat, the CD was either the first or second-most Democratic seat in the nation to elect a Republican congressman.

• CA-25: President Biden: 54.0% – Rep. Mike Garcia (R): 50.0%

The more extraordinary vote here was Rep. Garcia overcoming a strong Biden vote in a district that has been trending Democratic for the past several elections. Hillary Clinton also won here with a 50-44 percent margin four years earlier. Garcia survived the 2020 election by a mere 333 votes. This district is likely to change significantly in redistricting.

• CA-39: President Biden: 54.1% – Young Kim (R): 50.6%

Republican Kim returned this Orange/LA County seat to the GOP column after a term under Democratic representation. The voters here also went for Hillary Clinton in 2016 with a 51-43 percent spread even while simultaneously re-electing then-Rep. Ed Royce (R-Yorba Linda), 57-43 percent.

• CA-48: President Biden: 49.7% – Michelle Steel (R): 51.1%

The coastal Orange County district somewhat returned to its Republican roots when the electorate swung back to Republican Michelle Steel after electing Democrat Harley Rouda in 2018. Previously, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R) held the district, or those with similar confines, for 30 years. President Biden carried the seat by 1.5 percentage points in November, similar to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 margin.

• FL-27: President Biden: 51.3% – Maria Elvira Salazar (R): 51.4%

The congressional vote was the outlier here as this seat was drawn as a Democratic district as part of the state Supreme Court’s mid-decade re-districting directive. Expect the Republican map drawers to improve this seat for freshman Rep. Salazar (R-Miami).

• NE-2: President Biden: 52.2% – Rep. Don Bacon (R): 50.8%

In a significant way, Nebraska’s 2nd District may have clinched the Presidency for Joe Biden. Nebraska is one of two states that split their electoral votes and when this CD went for Biden, opposite from the rest of the state, it made the Trump national victory path very difficult. Rep. Bacon survived another close election in the Omaha metro district, winning here for the third time with 51 percent or less.

• NY-24: President Biden: 53.4% – Rep. John Katko (R): 53.1%

Despite a nine-point win for President Biden in this Syracuse anchored district (53.4 – 44.4 percent), four-term Rep. Katko recorded a 10-point victory in his own right marking the widest swing of any cross-district.

• PA-1: President Biden: 52.4% – Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R): 56.6%

In a similar result to that found in NY-24, third-term Rep. Fitzpatrick was again able to swing the electorate hard in his direction and win a comfortable re-election victory despite the opposite result at the top of the ticket.

• TX-24: President Biden: 51.9%; Beth Van Duyne (R): 48.8%

Though this Dallas/Fort Worth metro district, which has become more Democratic over time, flipped to President Biden after voting 51-44 percent for Donald Trump in 2016, former Irving Mayor Van Duyne was able to keep the seat in the House Republican column with a plurality victory. Count on major redistricting changes coming to this district, which must shed close to 90,000 inhabitants.

The districts that went for Trump for President
and a Democrat for House are:

• IL-17: Donald Trump: 49.7% – Rep. Cheri Bustos (D): 52.0%

Despite Illinois going heavily for President Biden statewide (57.5 – 40.6 percent), then-DCCC chair Bustos used her national fundraising contacts and 3:1 resource advantage to win a close victory over a viable Republican challenger. The Democratic redistricting operation, in full control of the state plan, will attempt to make this district more favorable for Rep. Bustos, but the task may prove difficult since her western Illinois seat is surrounded by Republican territory.

• IA-3: Donald Trump: 49.1% – Rep. Cindy Axne (D): 49.0%

Trump’s victory margin here was only one-tenth of a percentage point, but another plurality victory for Rep. Axne could well motivate her to run statewide in 2022.

Redistricting will play a major role for the next congressional campaign as the 3rd District will be forced to shed more than 60,000 inhabitants while the state’s three other CDs require increased population.

• ME-2: Donald Trump: 52.3% – Rep. Jared Golden (D): 52.0%

While former President Trump has put together two winning coalitions in the northern Maine seat, Democrats have won the district at the congressional level in the most recent midterm and presidential election. Maine is the second state that splits its electoral votes, thus the 2nd District again proved important for Trump.

• MI-8: Donald Trump: 49.6% – Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D): 50.9%

Rep. Slotkin converted this Republican-leaning district to the Democratic column in 2018 and hung onto it against a relatively weak opponent in November. With Michigan expected to lose a congressional district in reapportionment (the 8th) in conjunction with every other Wolverine State district, will greatly change before the next election. Additionally, for the first time, Michigan redistricting will go to a citizens’ commission and not the state legislature.

• NJ-3: Donald Trump: 49.4% – Rep. Andy Kim (D): 53.2%

The Garden State’s 3rd CD that stretches from the Philadelphia suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean has generally been a reliable Republican district. With Rep. Kim winning re-election here this time with a more comfortable 7.7 percent margin suggests that his performance is the outlier as opposed to Trump’s close win here.

• PA-8: Donald Trump: 51.7% – Rep. Matt Cartwright (D): 51.8%

Ironically, the congressional district of President Biden’s birthplace is one of only seven Democratic seats that didn’t support him in the national election. This is the one Democratic district in Pennsylvania that became slightly more Republican after the state Supreme Court redistricted the state before the 2018 election, but incumbent Rep. Cartwright (D-Moosic/Scranton) has now won it for the second time.

Noting its geographic location that places it in the northeastern corner of the Keystone State bordered between New York and New Jersey, the 8th can only enlarge by moving south or west, and that likely means more Republican territory. PA-8 will need to add at least 50,000 inhabitants under the new redistricting map.

• WI-3: Donald Trump: 51.5% – Rep. Ron Kind (D): 51.3%

Former President Trump again carried the southwestern Wisconsin seat anchored in the city of La Crosse with a sizable margin. It is the second time that 13-term congressional veteran Kind (D-La Crosse) has won a tight general election with Trump carrying his district. Since the constituency appears to be moving closer to the Republicans, Rep. Kind will likely see more competitive general election opponents.

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