Election News

Supreme Court Reinstates Alabama Congressional Map

In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated Alabama's previously enacted congressional map, allowing it to be used for the state's upcoming primary election and the November midterm elections.

The Justices issued a stay on a January 24 preliminary injunction by a lower court. 

While Alabama's new map is little changed from the one in place for the past decade, the earlier ruling had said that it likely violated the Voting Rights Act. Under the plan, Black voters would only having the opportunity to elect one representative of their choice, despite comprising 27% of the population. 

The Supreme Court did not rule on the claim itself and will hear arguments over the map at a later date. The stay, at least in part, was driven by the calendar. From the ruling:

"The stay order is not a ruling on the merits, but instead simply stays the District Court’s injunction pending a ruling on the merits. The stay order follows this Court’s election-law precedents, which establish (i) that federal district courts ordinarily should not enjoin state election laws in the period close to an election, and (ii) that federal appellate courts should stay injunctions when, as here, lower federal courts contravene that principle."  

The districts have been added back to the 2022 House Interactive Map. The consensus map is below; click for an interactive version.

Court Orders North Carolina Congressional Map Redrawn

On Friday, the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled the state's new congressional map was a partisan gerrymander that violated the State Constitution. It ordered that map, as well as those created for the General Assembly to be redrawn.

The Republican-controlled legislature had passed all the maps in early November. Although the state has a Democratic governor, the office has no veto power over the process.

As reported by the Charlotte Observer, the process from here will be under a tight timeline:

"The legislature will have a second chance to draw [the maps], the justices ruled. And the job of reviewing those maps to see if they pass muster unlike the current maps will be up to the trial court that initially heard the case. That adds an extra layer of intrigue since that trial court panel has a Republican majority, which had originally ruled in favor of the legislature in this case, a ruling now overturned by the Supreme Court.

In addition to the legislature, all other parties involved in the lawsuit will also be allowed to submit their own proposed replacement maps to the trial court for review. Everything must filed within two weeks, by Feb. 18, and then the court will have until Feb. 23 to make a decision."

The discarded congressional map significantly favored Republicans according to an analysis by FiveThirtyEight. In a politically competitive state, the consensus forecast had Democrats winning as few as 3 of the state's 14 districts under the plan.

North Carolina joins Ohio and Alabama as states with enacted maps invalidated by the courts. All have been removed from the 2022 House Interactive Map.

 

 

Gov. Hochul Signs New York Congressional Redistricting Into Law

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) has signed the state's new congressional map into law, one day after the plan was approved by the Democratic-controlled state Legislature. The new map has national implications, singlehandedly improving Democratic prospects to keep control of the U.S. House.

Democrats currently hold a 19-8 margin in the House delegation. As we wrote the other day, the new map will leave the Party well-positioned to gain up to three additional seats.  Those GOP-held Districts are 1 (Long Island), 11 (Staten Island), and 22 (Central New York). The state is also losing a district meaning Democrats could control as many as 22 of 26 seats next year. For a more granular look at the state of play in each new district, see these analyses by David Wasserman for The Cook Political Report ($) and Harrison Lavelle for SplitTicket.

The New York shapes have been added to the House Interactive map

Remaining States

13 states, with 120 total districts have yet to complete congressional redistricting.  The two largest, Florida and Pennsylvania, combine for 45 (38%) of these districts. 

State (Districts) Comments
Alabama (7) Returns to the list after a Federal Court issued a preliminary injunction against the newly-enacted map based on the Voting Rights Act. Any change to this ruling would need to be via the U.S. Supreme Court. How the Court rules may also impact redistricting in other Southern states covered by the Act.
Connecticut (5) Redistricting commission was unable to pass a new map, punting the responsibility to the State Supreme Court. The Court appointed a special master, who submitted his proposed map. It represents only minor changes from the map currently in use. The Court held a hearing on the merits of the plan late last month.
Florida (28) The state is gaining a district. The state Senate overwhelming approved a plan; the state House has developed a couple proposals of their own. The process is essentially on hold as Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has asked the Florida Supreme Court to weigh in on whether District 5 must remain largely intact. That district sprawls across the northern part of the state and connects Black voters such that they can elect a representative of their choice. DeSantis submitted his own map which essentially throws out that structure. 
Kansas (4) Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly vetoed the redistricting bill passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature. The plan splits Kansas City into two districts. The shift jeopardizes the state's lone Democratic member, Rep. Sharice Davids (KS-3). The Legislature will attempt to override the veto; a close vote is expected.
Louisiana (6) The Legislature is meeting in special session this month to pass a redistricting plan. A number of proposals have been introduced. At a high level, the GOP would like to roughly maintain the status quo, while Democrats favor the addition of a second majority-minority district
Minnesota (8) The legislature has until February 15 to pass a new map. They are more likely than not to miss that deadline, at which point a five-judge panel will take over the process. That panel has already held hearings and may be able to act fairly quickly if needed.
Missouri (8) A map that largely maintains the status quo 6-2 Republican edge was passed by the state House. It goes on to the full Senate, after being advanced by that body's redistricting committee. Some conservatives in the state Senate are pushing for a more aggressive map that would 'crack' Kansas City such that Democrat Emanuel Cleaver would have a difficult time getting reelected.
New Hampshire (2) The Republican-controlled state House approved a map that would make District 1 more favorable for the party. The Senate has not yet taken action; GOP Gov. Chris Sununu has asked that chamber to modify the House map to make both districts more competitive
Ohio (15) The state is losing a district. Ohio returned to the incomplete list after the State Supreme Court invalidated the enacted plan, calling it an unconstitutional Republican gerrymander. The legislature was given a month to draw a new map not dictated by partisan considerations.
Pennsylvania (17) The state is losing a district. The Democratic-controlled Pennsylvania Supreme Court has taken over the redistricting process. Commonwealth Court Judge Patricia McCullough, a Republican, is serving as a special master in the process. She will recommend a map, after which other parties can object. A hearing will be held February 18.
Rhode Island (2) Commission has approved a map with little change from the current one. It is not binding on the Democratic-controlled legislature. It will be interesting to see if there is an attempt to shore up District 2, which has a small chance of becoming competitive given the retirement of long-time Rep. Jim Langevin.
Washington (10) The state House recently approved a map that made very minor modifications to one passed by the state's redistricting commission in November. It heads to the Senate, which must also approve it with a 2/3 majority.
Wisconsin (8) In November, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers vetoed the map passed by the Republican-controlled legislature, passing the process to the State Supreme Court. The Court held a daylong hearing last month to consider various proposals. 

Redistricting Update: Hawaii and New York

Hawaii

The Aloha State has a new congressional map, after the state's Reapportionment Commission approved it on Friday. As expected, the changes made were extremely minor, shifting a few thousand people from District 1 to 2. The new map has been added to the 2022 House Interactive Map

14 states, with 146 districts, are still to be drawn. This includes 22 districts in Ohio and Alabama, where previously enacted maps have been thrown out by the courts. Florida (28 districts) and New York (26) are the largest states remaining. As we'll discuss next, New York may have a new map by the end of the week.

New York

Democrats in the state legislature released a congressional plan Sunday that will improve the party's midterm prospects in the national battle for control of the U.S. House.  Democrats hold a 19-8 edge in the current New York delegation; that may grow to as much as 22-4 if the plan is implemented. The state is losing a seat in redistricting.

Click or tap the image below for a larger version and analysis at The Washington Post. There you can hover over individual districts to see the shift in 2020 presidential results under the new boundaries.

According to the New York Times, legislators may vote on the new maps as soon as Wednesday. Democrats control both branches of the Legislature by wide margins: 43-20 in the Senate, and 104-43 in the Assembly. This gives Republicans little opportunity, outside of the courts, to affect the outcome. The Legislature took over the process after a bipartisan redistricting commission, approved by voters in 2014, failed to reach a consensus

In the new plan, Democrats are in a good position to pick up District 1 in Long Island, which shifts from Trump +4 to Biden +11. The plan does this by strengthening District 2 for the GOP. As of next January, that may be the only GOP-held district in the state not bordering a Great Lake or Canada. The current NY-1 incumbent, Rep. Lee Zeldin (R) is seeking the Republican nomination to challenge Gov. Kathy Hochul (D).

District 11, which includes all of Staten Island and a small part of Brooklyn will move from Trump +11 to Biden +9, endangering Republican incumbent Nicole Malliotakis. Democrats were able to swing the lean of this district in the new plan by adding Brooklyn neighborhoods Park Slope, Gowanus, and Sunset Park. 

Farther upstate, the new plan effectively eliminates any competitive districts. Some of disappearing District 27 will be folded into District 24, held by retiring Republican Rep. John Katko. The existing District 24 went for Biden +9, giving it the largest margin of any crossover district1 1A crossover district is one with a split ticket - where the elected representative is of a different party than the vote for president. in 2020. The new District 24 will be safely Republican at Trump +20, as Syracuse shifts to District 22. However, this will be a net loss of one seat for the GOP.

Adding Syracuse, Democrats will be favored to pick up District 22, held by Republican Claudia Tenney. It will shift from Trump +12 to Biden +18. Tenney is expected to run in the new District 23, which moves from Trump +12 to Trump +21. Incumbent Republican Tom Reed is retiring there.

Tennessee and South Carolina Redistricting Added to House Interactive Map

Congressional redistricting bills have cleared the Republican-controlled legislature in both South Carolina and Tennessee.  South Carolina governor Henry McMaster (R) has already signed his state's bill into law. Gov. Bill Lee (R) will need to do the same in Tennessee, but there's no reason to think that won't happen. As such, shapes for both states have been added to the 2022 House Interactive Map

Tennessee

Nashville - the vast majority of the existing 5th district - was split into parts of three districts. According to FiveThirtyEight, the partisan lean of the new 5th shifted 32 points toward Republicans, from D+15 to R+17, making it all but unwinnable for Democrats this cycle. Noting the handwriting on the wall, long-time Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper announced his retirement earlier this week. 

Republicans currently hold a 7-2 edge in the delegation; this will likely move to 8-1 when the new House is seated next January.

South Carolina

Republicans hold a 6-1 edge in the state; that is unlikely to change. District 1, which leans Republican but was won by Democrats as recently as 2018, was made a bit safer for the GOP. This was done by shifting part of Charleston into the adjacent District 6th district held by Democrat James Clyburn.

Remaining States

15 states, with 148 total districts have yet to complete congressional districting.  Two of the states, Florida and New York, combine for 54 (36%) of these districts. 

State (Districts) Comments
Alabama (7) Returns to the list after a Federal Court issued a preliminary injunction against the newly-enacted map. Further litigation will determine if the map will return or if a new one will be drawn.
Connecticut (5) Redistricting commission was unable to pass a new map, punting the responsibility to the State Supreme Court. The Court appointed a special master, who recently submitted his proposed map. It represents only minor changes from the map currently in use.
Florida (28) The state is gaining a district. The state Senate overwhelming approved its proposed map last week, essentially ignoring Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) who submitted his own map earlier this month. The Senate map left things fairly status quo from a partisan perspective, while DeSantis' map was much more aggressive in favor of his party. The House has yet to approve a map. While DeSantis doesn't have a direct say in how the lines are drawn, he can veto what eventually is passed by the legislature.
Hawaii (2) A new map, whenever finalized, will likely only change to incorporate population shifts. In any case, both districts are expected to remain safely Democratic.
Kansas (4) The Republican-controlled legislature has sent a redistricting bill to Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly. The plan splits Kansas City into two districts. The shift jeopardizes the state's lone Democratic member, Rep. Sharice Davids (KS-3). It is possible Kelly vetoes the measure. If she does, it is unclear if the legislature will be able to override.
Louisiana (6) The Republican-controlled legislature will meet in special session beginning February 1.  According to FiveThirtyEight, the state is the only one remaining without at least one proposed map.
Minnesota (8) The legislature has until February 15 to pass a new map. They are more likely than not to miss that deadline, at which point a five-judge panel will take over the process. That panel has already held hearings and may be able to act fairly quickly if needed.
Missouri (8) A map that largely maintains the status quo 6-2 Republican edge was passed by the state House. It now goes on to the full Senate, after being advanced by that body's redistricting committee. Some conservatives in the state Senate are pushing for a more aggressive map that would 'crack' Kansas City such that Democrat Emanuel Cleaver would have a difficult time getting reelected.
New Hampshire (2) The Republican-controlled state House approved a map that would make District 1 more favorable for the party. The Senate has not yet taken action; GOP Gov. Chris Sununu has asked that chamber to modify the House map to make both districts more competitive
New York (26) The state is losing a district. Unable to reach agreement, the bipartisan redistricting commission submitted two maps along party lines. These were rejected by the state legislature. After additional effort, the committee failed to draw new maps, essentially handing the process over to the Legislature. (This was not a surprising outcome). Controlling the entire process, a very aggressive map favoring Democrats is possible. The New York Times reports that "as many as half a dozen seats [hang] in the balance". 
Ohio (15) The state is losing a district. Ohio returns to the incomplete list after the State Supreme Court invalidated the enacted plan, calling it an unconstitutional Republican gerrymander. The legislature was given a month to draw a new map not dictated by partisan considerations.
Pennsylvania (17) The state is losing a district. The Republican-controlled legislature is at odds with Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf. As reported by Spotlight PA, "If Wolf and the legislature do not agree on a final plan by Jan. 30, Commonwealth Court said it will take over the process as part of an ongoing lawsuit and select a map from those submitted by parties involved in the case."
Rhode Island (2) Commission has approved a map with little change from the current one. It is not binding on the Democratic-controlled legislature. It will be interesting to see if there is an attempt to shore up District 2, which has a small chance of becoming competitive given the retirement of long-time Rep. Jim Langevin.
Washington (10) Legislature has a couple more weeks to alter commission-approved map. By law, any changes can't affect more than 2% of the population of each district, and must be approved by a 2/3 majority in each chamber. 
Wisconsin (8) In November, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers vetoed the map passed by the Republican-controlled legislature, passing the process to the State Supreme Court. The Court held a daylong hearing earlier this month to consider various proposals. 

Live Results: Legislative Special Elections in Connecticut and South Carolina

One vacancy in the Connecticut State House will be filled today via special election. In South Carolina, Republicans will choose a nominee for an upcoming State Senate special election.

Connecticut State House District 144

Democrats hold 95 of the 151 seats in the Connecticut State House. There are 53 Republicans and three vacancies. Terms are for two years; the next regular elections are in November. These will be contested using redistricted boundaries.

District 144 is in the southwestern part of the state and includes parts of Stamford. Democrat Caroline Simmons resigned on December 1 to become that city's mayor; she won the office in a November election. First elected to the House in 2016, Simmons was unopposed in 2018 and 2020.

The major party nominees are Hubert Delany (D) and Danny Melchionne (R). Polls close at 8:00 PM Eastern Time.

South Carolina State Senate District 31 (Primary)

Republicans hold 29-16 lead over Democrats in the 46-member South Carolina State Senate. Terms are for four years; the next regular elections are in 2024. These will be contested using redistricted boundaries.

District 31 is located near Florence. Republican Hugh Leatherman, who had been in the State Senate since 1981, died on November 12. Leatherman was unopposed in the three elections (2012, 2016, 2020) since the last redistricting.

Democrats will field a candidate in the March 29 special general election, however. Suzanne La Rochelle was the only qualifier; she will be the nominee.

Jay Jordan and Mike Reichenbach are competing for the GOP nomination. Polls close at 7:00 PM Eastern Time.

Upcoming

  • February 8
    • Arkansas State Senate District 7 Special Election
    • Oklahoma City Mayor
  • February 15
    • California State Assembly Districts 17 and 49 Special Primaries
    • Milwaukee Mayor (All Party Special Primary)
    • New York State Assembly Districts 60 and 72 Special Elections
  • February 22
    • Connecticut State House District 71 Special Election
    • Kentucky State House District 42 Special Election
  • March 1
    • Connecticut State House District 5 Special Election
    • Michigan State House Districts 15, 36, 43, and 74 Special Primaries
    • Texas Primary (first statewide primary for 2022:  Election Calendar)
  • March 8
    • Florida State House District 88 Special Election
    • Florida State Senate District 33 Special Election
    • South Carolina State House District 97 Special Primary

 

Citing Redistricting, Tennessee Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper to Retire

Long-time Tennessee Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-05) announced Tuesday that he won't seek reelection this year.  In his announcement, Cooper cited congressional redistricting, which cleared the Republican-dominated General Assembly after a state House vote Monday.

The plan cracks Nashville - which is the vast majority of the existing 5th district - into three districts, effectively putting it out of reach for Democrats this year. According to FiveThirtyEight, the partisan lean of District 5 will move from D+17 to R+15. 

Cooper is the 42nd House member - and 29th Democrat - to announce they are retiring or seeking another office this year. 

Federal Judges Toss Alabama's New Congressional Map

In a preliminary injunction issued Monday, Federal judges blocked Alabama's new congressional map from being used. The three-judge panel said that since the state's Black population is 27%, should have two districts — instead of one — "in which Black voters either comprise a voting-age majority or something quite close to it." 

As the New York Times reports, "The case is certain to be appealed and could lead to the U.S. Supreme Court addressing the question of whether lawmakers can draw political maps to achieve a specific racial composition, a practice known as racial gerrymandering. In 2019, the Supreme Court ruled that federal courts have no role to play in blocking partisan gerrymanders. However, the court left intact parts of the Voting Rights Act that prohibit racial or ethnic gerrymandering."

The judges moved the candidate qualification deadline from January 28 to February 11 to give the Legislature time to draw a new map.

The invalidated map was nearly identical to the one that has been in place for the last decade.

Although the map could return unchanged if defendants are successful on appeal, it is not valid currently and has been removed from the 2022 House Interactive Map.

 

Kentucky, Mississippi Added to House Map; Update on Redistricting in Remaining States

New shapes for Kentucky and Mississippi have been added to the House Interactive Map.  Kentucky's map was enacted after the legislature overrode Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear's veto.  In Mississippi, the new plan awaits the signature of Gov. Tate Reeves, but there's little reason to think that won't happen.

16 other states, with 157 total districts have yet to complete congressional redistricting. Florida and New York, with 54 combined, make up more than 1/3 of the total.

This includes Ohio, where the State Supreme Court invalidated the plan previously signed into law.

State (Districts) Comments
Connecticut (5) Redistricting commission was unable to pass a new map, punting the responsibility to the State Supreme Court. The Court appointed a special master, who recently submitted his proposed map. It represents only minor changes from the map currently in use.
Florida (28) The state is gaining a district. The state Senate overwhelming approved its proposed map last week, essentially ignoring Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) who submitted his own map earlier this month. The Senate map left things fairly status quo from a partisan perspective, while DeSantis' map was much more aggressive in favor of his party. The House has yet to approve a map. While DeSantis doesn't have a direct say in how the lines are drawn, he can veto what eventually is passed by the legislature.
Hawaii (2) A new map, whenever finalized, will likely only change to incorporate population shifts. In any case, both districts are expected to remain safely Democratic.
Kansas (4) Big picture, the only issue is what happens to District 3, currently held by Democrat Sharice Davids. Several maps have been proposed, including one recently passed by the state Senate.  The Senate plan is the most aggressive one thus far in shifting District 3 toward the GOP.
Louisiana (6) The Republican-controlled legislature will meet in special session beginning February 1.  According to FiveThirtyEight, the state is the only one remaining without at least one proposed map.
Minnesota (8) The legislature has until February 15 to pass a new map. They are more likely than not to miss that deadline, at which point a five-judge panel will take over the process. That panel has already held hearings and may be able to act fairly quickly if needed.
Missouri (8) A map that largely maintains the status quo 6-2 Republican edge was recently passed by the state House. Some conservatives in the state Senate are pushing for a more aggressive map that would 'crack' Kansas City such that Democrat Emanuel Cleaver would have a difficult time getting reelected.
New Hampshire (2) The Republican-controlled state House approved a map that would make District 1 more favorable for the party. The Senate has not yet taken action; GOP Gov. Chris Sununu has asked that chamber to modify the House map to make both districts more competitive
New York (26) The state is losing a district. Unable to reach agreement, the bipartisan redistricting commission submitted two maps along party lines. These were rejected by the state legislature.  The commission has until later this week to submit a new proposal. Whether that happens or not, it is likely that the legislature will ultimately draw its own maps. With Democrats controlling the entire process, a very aggressive map favoring the party is possible. The New York Times reports that "as many as half a dozen seats [hang] in the balance". 
Ohio (15) The state is losing a district. Ohio returns to the incomplete list after the State Supreme Court invalidated the enacted plan, calling it an unconstitutional Republican gerrymander. The legislature was given a month to draw a new map not dictated by partisan considerations.
Pennsylvania (17) The state is losing a district. The Republican-controlled legislature is at odds with Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf. As reported by Spotlight PA, "If Wolf and the legislature do not agree on a final plan by Jan. 30, Commonwealth Court said it will take over the process as part of an ongoing lawsuit and select a map from those submitted by parties involved in the case."
Rhode Island (2) Commission has approved a map with little change from the current one. It is not binding on the Democratic-controlled legislature. It will be interesting to see if there is an attempt to shore up District 2, which has a small chance of becoming competitive given the retirement of long-time Rep. Jim Langevin.
South Carolina (7) Both branches of the legislature have passed similar maps; differences need to be reconciled. The Republican 6-1 edge is likely to be maintained, with efforts made to shore up District 1 for the party; that was won by Democrats as recently as 2018.
Tennessee (9) The House and Senate have both passed maps; minor differences need to be reconciled. Both maps 'crack' Nashville into three districts, which will make it very difficult for Democrat Jim Cooper to hold his seat. The map will likely yield an 8-1 GOP edge in the 2022 election.
Washington (10) Legislature has a couple more weeks to alter commission-approved map. By law, any changes can't affect more than 2% of the population of each district, and must be approved by a 2/3 majority in each chamber. 
Wisconsin (8) In November, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers vetoed the map passed by the Republican-controlled legislature, passing the process to the State Supreme Court. The Court held a daylong hearing earlier this month to consider various proposals. 

Overview and Live Results: New York Assembly District 68 Special Election

New York State Assembly District 68

Democrats hold 103 of the 150 seats in the New York State Assembly. There are 43 Republicans as well as one member from the Independence Party. There are three vacancies. Terms are for two years; the next regular elections are in November. These will be contested using newly redistricted boundaries that have not yet been finalized.

Vacancies in Districts 60 and 72 will be filled in special elections on February 15. The prior incumbents of these two districts, both Democrats, were elected to the New York City Council in November.

District 68 is a New York City district largely comprised of the East Harlem area of Manhattan. Democrat Robert Rodriguez resigned in early November after being nominated to become New York's Secretary of State by Gov. Kathy Hochul (D). He is acting in that position now, awaiting confirmation by the State Senate. Rodriguez had been in the State Assembly for about 10 years.

The major party nominees are Eddie Gibbs (D) and Daby Carreras (R). Polls close at 9:00 PM Eastern Time.

Upcoming

  • January 25
    • Connecticut State House District 144 Special Election
    • South Carolina State Senate District 31 Special Primary
  • February 8
    • Arkansas State Senate District 7 Special Election
    • Oklahoma City Mayor
  • February 15
    • California State Assembly Districts 17 and 49 Special Primaries
    • Milwaukee Mayor (All Party Special Primary)
    • New York State Assembly Districts 60 and 72 Special Elections
  • February 22
    • Connecticut State House District 71 Special Election
    • Kentucky State House District 42 Special Election
  • March 1
    • Michigan State House Districts 15, 36, 43, and 74 Special Primaries
    • Texas Primary (first statewide primary for 2022:  Election Calendar)