Republican chances to retake the House in next year’s midterms are receiving a major boost as GOP mapmakers are preparing to shore up more than a dozen of the most hotly contested battlegrounds from the past four years, Politico reported on Wedensday.
Of the 33 GOP incumbents who won last year by eight points or fewer (in other words, competitive races), 15 represent states where Republicans have total control over redistricting, according to an analysis by Politico.
In contrast, of the 33 Democrat incumbents who won by the same margin, only five live in a state where their party will control the drafting of the new maps.
With the power to redistrict, the GOP can easily bolster the increasingly purple suburbs with red rural areas in competitive districts in places such as South Carolina, Missouri, Indiana, North Carolina, Florida, Utah, and — perhaps most significantly — Texas, where Republicans are gettinig ready to shore up at least a half-dozen vulnerable members.
On Tuesday, the first example of this happening occurred in Indiana, as Republican state lawmakers presented a draft congressional plan that would change the state's most competitive district, the 5th, into a relatively safe red seat by siphoning off voters in a deep-blue area.
"Clearly, this is a bit of a kneecapping to anyone who's interested in running as a Democrat in Indiana-05," said Christina Hale, the 2020 Democrat nominee who narrowly lost to GOP Rep. Victoria Spartz.
"The deck is stacked," Hale said. It's not impossible for Democrats to seriously contest the seat again, she conceded, but it won't be competitive soon. "We probably won't see a real race for a number of years."
Texas is an even more pronounced example.
Democrats competed for 10 GOP seats in the suburbs of the state's biggest cities last year, even though they did not manage to flip any of them.
"I saw Texas as being a state that could go from red, to a little bit purple, to blue in a matter of, I used to say two, four, six, eight years," said Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos, the former chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. "And now with the Republican control of the Legislature and the governor's mansion, and you just kind of wonder what's going to happen."
However, Adam Kincaid, the executive director of the National Republican Redistricting Trust, said this is just the natural process.
"That's just what happens every redistricting cycle," he said "People want to make it sound like something nefarious. But to me, it's just a simple analysis: Yes, I expect that there will be fewer competitive seats, just like there were a decade ago and the decade before that."
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