The battle for control of the House of Representatives increasingly resembles a sporting event in which the teams are changing the dimensions of the playing field even after the game is underway.
As many as a dozen or more states could redraw the lines governing their congressional elections again before the 2024 election, more than enough to shift the balance of power in a House where the two parties have only managed to eke out mirror image five-seat majorities over the past two elections.
Experts agree it’s unprecedented in modern times for this many House seats to remain in flux this long after the decennial redrawing of Congressional districts that last occurred following the 2020 Census.
While it’s not likely that all of these states will ultimately draw new lines, a combination of state and federal lawsuits and shifts in the balance of power in state legislatures and courts virtually ensure that an unusually large number of districts may look different in 2024 than they did in 2022, with huge implications for control of the House. “It’s just trench warfare back and forth,” says Kelly Burton, president of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, the leading Democratic group involved in congressional redistricting.
The possibility that so many states could still reconfigure their House districts reflects the uncertainty looming over the political system as the Supreme Court considers momentous cases that will shape the future of voting rights challenges to congressional maps and the authority of state supreme courts to police partisan gerrymandering. “We are kind of all in a holding pattern until we determine what the Supreme Court does in those two cases,” said Nick Seabrook, a University of North Florida political scientist and author of two books on the history of gerrymandering.