Latest California Redistricting Maps Could Hurt GOP

December 22, 2021 Updated: December 22, 2021

Commentary

Despite speculation of Republicans regaining the party’s majority in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2022, they may find it tough to maintain their 11 congressional seats from California. Democrats have a good chance of increasing their total from the current 42, although the state will lose one seat, from 53 to 52.

That’s because the nonpartisan California Citizens Redistricting Commission’s new map, according to FiveThirtyEight, “creates 41 Democratic-leaning seats, seven Republican-leaning seats and four highly competitive seats. … Notably, despite being drawn by an independent commission, all of the maps are moderately biased toward Democrats, according to our fairness metrics.”

The Commission finalized the maps late Dec. 20. Here’s my analysis of the data.

1. It would take the strong anti-Biden national tsunami some are predicting for the GOP to win all four of those “highly competitive” seats. If that happens, Republicans only would keep their current number of 11. Democrats would drop from 42 to 41 because of a lost seat. That seat probably would be in one of the growing Republican seats in Florida (one new seat) or Texas (two new seats), although we could never know exactly.

2. Republican Rep. Devin Nunes made the right decision to retire from Congress and head President Trump’s new social media platform. His 21st District will become plus-16 points Democratic registration. Nunes has been in the Democratic Party’s crosshairs since, as the head of the House Intelligence Committee in 2017, he cast doubt on the Russia Hoax concerning Trump’s 2016 election. (Even from fall 2016, I wrote in several places the Russia Hoax was an absolute and obvious fraud.)

For example, here’s the headline of an April 2018 article in the pro-Democratic New York Times, which also won a Pulitzer Prize for its Russia Hoax fake news: “How Devin Nunes Turned the House Intelligence Committee Inside Out.” Subhead: “In inquiries on Benghazi and Russia and beyond, the California congressman has displayed a deep mistrust of the expert consensus on reality—a disposition that has helped him make friends in the current White House.”

Of course, recent revelations by Special Counsel John Durham have shown the Russia Hoax was concocted by the Hillary Clinton campaign and its associates in the intelligence community, aided and abetted by the New York Times and other legacy media.

If Trump becomes president again, Nunes would be a prime candidate to become Director of Central Intelligence. In June 2017, I saw Nunes speak at our local Republican Flag Day gathering and was impressed at his courage against what was even then a giant disinformation machine conducted by these masters of deceit.

3. Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, Nunes’ nemesis and the current chairman of the Intelligence Committee, will enjoy a plus-45 points Democratic registration advantage for his 30th District. No worries there for one of the most irresponsible members of Congress ever.

4. Rep. Katie Porter’s new 40th District would be plus-4 points Republican. In her current 45th District, she won just 53.5 percent of the vote in 2020 against Greg Raths’ 46.5 percent. And 52.1 percent in 2018 against incumbent Mimi Walters in the year that was anti-Trump because of the witch hunt against him conducted by Schiff.

5. Conversely, Rep. Michelle Steel could have difficulty facing re-election. Her new 47th District would be plus-6 points Democratic registration. She barely won in 2020, 51.1 percent to 48.9 percent against incumbent Harley Rouda, who is running to take back his old seat. According to Spectrum News 1, at a campaign stop, “He talked policy like common-sense gun control, changing the tax code to incentivize renewable energy and how to better reach the Vietnamese vote he lost.”

Good luck on that. I lived in that area a long time, and the voters there are pro-gun and want tax cuts, not credits for “renewable energy.” And the Vietnamese look on a lot of Democratic Party policies, such as “equity”—a code word for socialism—as what they fled in 1975 on boats.

Spectrum News 1 continued, “And, perhaps most notably, he lamented his choice not to run a ground campaign at the direction of national Democrats. Republicans across Orange County ran aggressive door-to-door campaigns, commonly considered the most effective way to advertise a given candidate and persuade them. Democrats, on the other hand, largely holstered the most potent weapon in the campaign arsenal. As a result, they lost two seats in Orange County: Rouda’s and the District 39 seat held by Gil Cisneros. …

“Rouda told the audience that without Trump on the ticket, the ‘Trumpkins’—in his words—won’t be the factor they were last year.

“The fact that 6 more million morons voted for him is mind-boggling to me.”

Maybe insulting voters you want to win back isn’t the best victory strategy. And with President Biden sinking further every day in the polls, a lot of voters might be looking more fondly on the president of the days of $2.99 gas and $3.99 hamburgers.

5. Cisneros lost to current Rep. Young Kim. A retired Navy lieutenant commander who won $266 million in the 2010 Mega Millions lottery, he was recently appointed the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness.

Kim has been squeezed into the new 38th District and will face fellow incumbent Democratic Rep. Linda Sanchez. The Democrats’ registration is plus-28 points there, making it tough for the GOP to win.

6. In addition to Schiff’s district, here are the most pro-Democratic ones, by Democratic registration advantage:

  • Barbara Lee in the 12th District is plus-77 points.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the 11th District is plus-71 points.
  • Karen Bass in the 37th District is plus-72 points.
  • Maxine Waters in the 43rd District is plus-63 points.
  • Mike Thompson in the 8th District is plus-50 points.
  • Jared Huffman in the 2nd District is plus-44 points.

7. Republicans do have several locks in the new mapping, by GOP registration advantage:

  • House Minority Leader (and possible future Speaker) Kevin McCarthy in the 20th District is plus-31 points.
  • Doug LaMalfa in the 1st District is plus-24 points.
  • Darrell Issa in the 48th District is plus-19 points.
  • Josh Harder in the 5th District is plus-17 points.
  • Jay Obernolte in the 23rd District is plus-15 points.
  • Tom McClintock in the 3rd District is plus-8 points. Democrats dearly would love to win this one against the state’s most conservative congressman, but he should win again.
  • Ken Calvert in the 41st District is plus-7 points.

Finally, notice how low the top GOP numbers are compared to the top Democrats’. Once the bastion of Presidents Nixon and Reagan, California is now a tough state in which to be a Republican.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

John Seiler
John Seiler is a veteran California opinion writer. He has written editorials for The Orange County Register for almost 30 years. He is a U.S. Army veteran and former press secretary for California state Sen. John Moorlach. He blogs at JohnSeiler.Substack.com