Conventional wisdom since at least the end of the 2020 election was that Republicans were poised to win big in the decennial redrawing of congressional lines across the country.
While Democrats control all of the levers of power in political Washington, Republicans remain in charge in the lion’s share of critical state legislatures and governor’s offices.
Republicans have total line-drawing control (and map approval) in 187 congressional districts, while Democrats have that power in just 75. (The remaining 173 seats either have split party control or are drawn by bipartisan or nonpartisan commissions.)
The thinking was that Republicans could net the three seats they need to retake the majority in 2022 solely from beneficial line-drawing.
And yet, as the redistricting efforts have begun in earnest in most states, Democrats appear to be faring slightly better than most experts assumed, according to analysis from Cook Political Report redistricting expert David Wasserman.
“State-by-state estimates now show Rs netting just 1-2 House seats from redistricting alone, down from 3-4 a few months ago,” tweeted Wasserman on Thursday. “The outlook for Dems has slightly improved in IN, NJ & NY.”
In New York in particular, one of the few big states where Democrats control the entire process, Wasserman estimates that Republicans could lose four seats via redistricting alone.
To be clear: The Democratic House majority is still in considerable peril – especially given long historical trends that suggest the president’s party takes a battering in his first midterm election.
The Point: Redistricting efforts are ongoing nationwide. Maps can and will change. But the shift in redistricting outlook – at least at the moment – provides a glimmer of hope for Democrats heading into next year’s elections.