FiveThirtyEight: Republicans Won Almost Every State Where Redistricting Was At Stake
down-ballot races were much better for Republicans. In fact, the GOP’s victories in state-level elections could pay dividends long after Biden leaves office, thanks to their influence over next year’s redistricting process.
Every 10 years, after the census, congressional and state legislative districts are redrawn to account for population changes. This gives whoever is drawing the maps the power to maximize the number of districts that favor their party — a tactic known as gerrymandering. And as we wrote last month, the 2020 election represented the last chance for voters to weigh in on who would draw those maps. Both parties went into the election with a chance to draw more congressional districts than the other, but the end result was just about the best-case scenario for Republicans. As the map below shows, Republicans are set to control the redistricting of 188 congressional seats — or 43 percent of the entire House of Representatives. By contrast, Democrats will control the redistricting of, at most, 73 seats, or 17 percent.
How did Republicans pull that off? By winning almost every 2020 election in which control of redistricting was at stake:
The GOP kept control of the redistricting process in Texas by holding the state House. Given that Election Data Services estimates Texas will have 39 congressional seats for the next decade, this was arguably Republicans’ single biggest win of the 2020 election.
Republicans successfully defended the Pennsylvania legislature from a Democratic takeover, although they’ll still need to share redistricting power over its projected 17 congressional districts, as Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has veto power.
Republicans held the majority in both chambers of the North Carolina legislature, which will enable them to draw an expected 14 congressional districts all by themselves.
Amendment 1 passed in Virginia, taking the power to draw the state’s 11 congressional districts out of the hands of the all-Democratic state government and investing it in a bipartisan commission made up of a mix of citizens and legislators.
In Missouri (home to eight congressional districts), Gov. Mike Parson was elected to a second term, keeping redistricting control in Republican hands.
In an upset, Republicans managed to keep their majority in the Minnesota state Senate, thus ensuring Democrats wouldn’t have the unfettered ability to draw the state’s projected seven congressional districts. The parties will share redistricting responsibilities there.
The GOP kept control of the state House in Iowa, with its four congressional districts.
Republicans maintained their supermajorities in the Kansas Legislature, enabling them to pass a new congressional map (worth four districts) over Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto.
Finally, Republicans surprisingly flipped both the state Senate and state House in New Hampshire (worth two congressional districts), seizing full control of both the state government and the redistricting process.