Thursday, February 2, 2023
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Calif. Incumbents Jockey for New Districts after Brazen Gerrymandering

'Although the district lines have changed, my mission has not...'

(Headline USA) After California Democrats succeeded through shameless gerrymandering in giving themselves an even greater political advantage, the once-a-decade reshaping of California congressional districts set off another round of political maneuvering Wednesday.

California is one of the nation’s most Democratic states, where the party holds every statewide office and dominates the Legislature and congressional delegation.

In many cases the new district lines appear to favor Democrats. Republican registration has been withering in the state for years, and registered Democratic voters outnumber Republicans by nearly 2-to-1 statewide.

Rep. Mike Garcia, a Republican who saw his district north of Los Angeles stripped of the Republican-rich community of Simi Valley, said Monday that “the commission has shown they were not acting independently when they drew all the Democratic incumbents into safer seats while making five out of the 11 Republican districts more vulnerable.”

Upon seeing their safe districts redrawn into more competitive ones, the state’s few remaining GOP House members began their wrangling over who would be the best candidates to run in the new ones.

Among those leaving was prominent GOP Rep. Devin Nunes, who decided to take a lead role with the forthcoming Trump social-media venture, Truth Social.

Republican U.S. Rep. Michelle Steel announced she will run in an inland district anchored in Orange County, avoiding a potential showdown on her old political turf with Democratic Rep. Katie Porter, a powerhouse fundraiser.

Porter announced plans Monday to switch districts after her hometown of Irvine was drawn into the new coastal seat, the 47th.

“Although the district lines have changed, my mission has not,” Steel said in a statement. “Californians today are facing so many challenges, from high taxes to concerns over affordability, crime, and the quality of education our children receive.”

Nationally, Democrats are defending a fragile eight-seat House majority in a midterm election next year where a red wave is widely anticipated.

Historically, the party that controls the White House historically loses seats in Congress. President Joe Biden’s approval ratings have been deep underwater, adding further anxiety for Democrats hoping to hold the House and Senate.

California will lose a House seat next year, dropping to 52 from 53 seats, because the population in other states is growing faster. It will remain the largest House delegation.

Nonetheless, leftist are looking to deep blue states like California to carve out new seats for themselves in order to offset their losses.

Meanwhile, they have shrilly denounced the same redistricting practices in red states, where Democrat lawyers—led by high-profile figures including Eric Holder and Marc Elias—have charted an aggressive “lawfare” campaign.

California’s revised boundaries were endorsed Monday by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission, which was tasked with drawing new districts to account for shifts in population, a requirement that happens once a decade. Each district must represent 760,000 people.

In other moves, Republican U.S. Rep. Young Kim said she would run in an inland district anchored in Orange County, the 40th. The district has a Republican tilt and was vacated by Porter, who jumped to the neighboring contest where the the number of Democratic and Republican voters is nearly equal.

In the state’s farm belt, Democratic U.S. Rep. Josh Harder announced he would run for reelection in the 13th District, which includes his hometown of Turlock. The district is firmly Democratic in registration, with a large Latino population.

Former Democratic U.S. Rep. Harley Rouda, who was ousted by Steel in 2020 and planned to run against her next year, said on Twitter that he would “evaluate all the options” after Porter entered the race, a statement that didn’t preclude he might drop out.

“I firmly believe that I am the most electable Democrat in this district but I am also a realist whose goal has always been to put my constituents … first,” he wrote.

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press

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