Redistricting has so far given Democrats six seats ahead of 2022 midterms: analysis

The new maps so far seemingly benefit Democrats despite the fact that more people are moving to red states.

Updated: January 2, 2022 - 11:12pm

At least six Democratic-leaning seats have been added to the House of Representatives so far ahead of the midterm elections this fall. 

Twenty-five states have finished redrawing their congressional maps using data from the 2020 census. Analysis from FiveThirtyEight found that compared to the old maps, there are now six more Democrat-leaning seats, one fewer Republican-leaning seat, and four fewer "highly competitive seats."

The new maps for now seemingly benefit Democrats, despite the fact that more people are moving to red states. Blue states California, New York and Illinois were the top three to lose seats following the 2020 census. Texas, Florida and North Carolina were the top three states to gain seats.

Two of the new Democratic-leaning seats come from Illinois, which also lost one seat. The maps were drawn to force Republican Reps. Adam Kinzinger and Darin LaHood as well as Mike Bost and Mary Miller to primary each other. 

Rumors flew around Springfield that Rep. Rodney Davis would run against Gov. J.B. Pritzker in 2024, and Democrats drew his district to be the only safe one for an Illinois Republican. However, Miller received former President Donald Trump's endorsement Sunday to primary Davis, despite the fact that she does not live in that district.

Oregon has also added two more Democrat-leaning seats after gaining a representative and drawing out one highly competitive district. 

Some states have yet to propose a congressional map. Connecticut has already passed its deadline and is asking the state supreme court to handle redistricting. Other states, such as Arkansas and Florida, are debating 10 proposed maps.

Many states are simply taking formerly competitive seats and making them solid red or blue. For example, while New Jersey will gain three Democratic-leaning seats and lose one Republican seat, the state is also losing two highly competitive seats. 

FiveThirtyEight explains that "because many of those newly blue seats are already held by Democrats, it's actually Republicans who have gained a handful of House seats through the redistricting process so far." 

Republicans in Indiana, Oklahoma and Utah made light-red seats safer. In North Carolina, Republicans removed two Democrat-leaning seats and created two GOP-leaning seats.

On a positive note for the GOP, FiveThirtyEight writes that "redistricting hasn't drastically changed the House landscape so far — but that's good news for Republicans, since the old maps already tilted the House playing field in their favor."

However, the outlet says it was "unexpected" for Democrats to have picked up more seats than Republicans at this point. "Democrats have gone for the jugular in each of the few opportunities they've had so far to gain seats," FiveThirtyEight reports.

As of right now, Democrats have gained ground in Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico and Oregon, while Republicans have gained in Arizona and North Carolina. 

Some states are facing court cases over redistricting. The NAACP filed a lawsuit against Georgia's map last week. They argued that "Republican map drawers diluted the voting strength of voters of color across Georgia, 'particularly in areas that witnessed significant growth of communities of color in the past decade, packing or cracking communities of color into districts' in violation of the VRA," Democracy Docket reports.

The Ohio Supreme Court heard two challenges to the state's newly passed map on Tuesday and voting rights groups argue the map was gerrymandered by the state GOP. 

Many states still have to submit congressional maps. Another factor influencing the midterms is that 23 House Democrats have announced so far that they will not seek reelection. In addition, President Joe Biden's low approval rating is expected to contribute to Republican wins in the House this fall.