redistricting

Drawing new congressional lines won’t be easy for Democrats
Maps must withstand shifts in attitudes, and parties should not assume Trump era patterns continue

In redrawing district maps after the 2020 Census, Democrats need to be careful not to expect results during the Trump era to continue all decade. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The next round of redistricting shouldn’t sneak up on anyone. After coverage of the recent Supreme Court decisions and renewed interest in state-level races because of their role in selecting who draws district lines, parties and political observers are tuned in to the mapmaking process. But there’s one aspect that hasn’t been discussed enough.

In short, too much success can be a bad thing when it comes to drawing the next set of district lines.

After court defeat on redistricting, Democrats look to state courts and legislative races
Supreme Court said it would not police political gerrymandering, left battles to the states

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling on political gerrymandering was “an insult to democracy.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats on Thursday seized on a Supreme Court decision they called a “green light” for partisan gerrymandering, pledging to redouble their efforts to win control of state governments, judicial appointments and the U.S. Senate.

In fundraising appeals and calls to action, Democratic politicians and aligned groups outlined a series of moves they said would become the next stage of the battle over political maps, largely drawn by Republican-controlled legislatures in the past decade, that have entrenched GOP control of elected offices.

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and run somewhere else
Comeback trail for 2020 candidates sometimes means running in a different district — or state

Rep. Susie Lee won Nevada’s 3rd District last fall after losing the Democratic primary in the 4th District two years earlier. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A handful of House candidates this cycle aren’t letting previous losses — or geography — get in the way of another congressional run. Dozens of members of Congress lost races before eventually winning, but some politicians are aiming their aspirations at different districts, and in some cases different states, to get to Capitol Hill.

In Arizona, Democrat Hiral Tipirneni lost two races to Republican Debbie Lesko in the 8th District last year, including a special election. This cycle, she is seeking the Democratic nomination in the neighboring 6th District to take on Republican incumbent David Schweikert.

Power of New York, Texas hinges on immigrant count
Census will determine which states win or lose in redistricting

Texas could gain as many as three seats in Congress after the 2020 census — but not if the census response rate falls among noncitizens in the Lone Star State. (Courtesy Scott Dalton/U.S. Census Bureau)

Two states that have the most on the line in the Supreme Court case over the citizenship question in the 2020 census are taking drastically different approaches to the decennial count next year.

New York and Texas could have the biggest swings in congressional representation after the 2020 census. New York is projected to lose two seats, and Texas could gain as many as three, according to forecasting by the nonpartisan consulting firm Election Data Services. 

Another Democratic challenger announces bid to unseat Sen. Thom Tillis
Cal Cunningham drops out of North Carolina lieutenant governor race for Senate run

Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., arrives in the Capitol for the Senate policy luncheons on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Thom Tillis will face a Democratic opponent with some name recognition next year in the battleground state of North Carolina.

Former state senator and Army Reserve counsel Calvin Cunningham III will challenge the first-term Republican, The Associated Press reported Monday. Tillis was already one of the more vulnerable Republicans facing re-election next year. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Tilts Republican.

It’s not just the citizenship question. 2020 census faces other woes
From cybersecurity concerns to untested methods, last-minute hurdles remain

The 2020 census is not the first to face last-minute challenges. Problems with handheld electronics during the 2010 census required the bureau to reintroduce paper enumeration. (Mario Tama/Getty Images file photo)

A project meant to be a decade in preparation, the 2020 census, still faces a number of uncertainties, which experts warn could lead to an inaccurate count with potentially large impacts on federal spending and congressional maps.

Though a pending Supreme Court decision over a citizenship question has dominated much of the conversation surrounding the census, other hurdles include the Census Bureau’s overall funding, cybersecurity concerns and untested methods.

Democrats pounce on citizenship question revelations
Documents show gerrymandering, not Voting Rights Act, was true motivation, Cummings alleges

People protest outside the Supreme Court in April against the Trump administration’s proposal to include a citizenship question in the 2020 census. (Win McNamee/Getty Images file photo)

Democrats on the House Oversight and Reform Committee charged Thursday that new documents cited by an advocacy group show that President Donald Trump added a citizenship question to the 2020 census primarily to give Republicans the upper hand in the next round of congressional redistricting.

The documents, which allegedly show that a Republican strategist pushed the administration to include the question for partisan gain, were revealed amid months of conflict between the committee and the administration that culminated recently in the head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division defying a subpoena. They also emerged as the Supreme Court nears a decision on a challenge to the citizenship question.

Supreme Court delays redrawing of Ohio and Michigan House districts
Lower-court rulings found partisan gerrymandering, ordered new maps within months

The Supreme Court on Friday put on hold orders from lower courts for Michigan and Ohio to redraw their congressional maps.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court on Friday put a hold on lower-court decisions mandating that Ohio and Michigan draw new congressional maps this year.  

Federal three-judge panels had struck down portions of Michigan’s map and all of Ohio’s map as partisan gerrymanders in separate cases earlier this spring. The court ordered Michigan to draw a new map by Aug. 1, while the Ohio was given a June 14 deadline.

Supreme Court requests response from Ohio and Michigan gerrymander challengers
Justices give challengers a week to respond to requests from GOP state officials to stop court-ordered redrawing of district lines

Anti-gerrymandering activists gather on the steps of the Supreme Court in March 2018 as the justices prepare to hear a case challenging Maryland’s congressional map. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court on Monday gave the challengers of congressional maps in Ohio and Michigan until May 20 to respond to requests from state officials to stop court-ordered redrawing of district lines. Lower courts found the maps were partisan gerrymanders, an issue the high court is now considering in two other cases.

Republican lawmakers and officials in both states had argued that they did not have enough time to comply with recent federal court mandates to redraw their districts by June 14 in Ohio and Aug. 1 in Michigan.

Federal court strikes down Ohio congressional map as partisan gerrymander
Republicans last year got 52 percent of the vote, won 12 of 16 districts

Ohio Rep. Rep. David Joyce defeated his Democratic challenger by more than 10 points last fall. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A federal three-judge panel on Friday struck down Ohio’s congressional map as a partisan gerrymander, providing fodder for voting rights advocates seeking a definitive Supreme Court ruling about the way electoral lines are drawn.

The ruling comes a week after a different federal court in Michigan also ordered district lines redrawn to address boundaries that unfairly benefitted one party. In both cases, the maps favored Republicans, and the decisions gave Democrats hope of making inroads in 2020.