DCCC Argues Redistricting Was a Wash
We have reported on several occasions that although redistricting was not the resounding Republican sweep that some predicted after the GOP won many state legislatures in 2010, Republicans still came away with an advantage because they shored up so many vulnerable incumbents, including many freshmen. But the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee argues that redistricting was a true wash for both parties, and the committee released a memo Tuesday outlining its argument for why redistricting was more level than it seems.
Chief among the DCCC's arguments is that while competitive opportunities closed in some states, they opened in several strongly Democratic states: California, Illinois, and New York. In California especially, the chaos of redistricting by commission hit both parties, but it came down especially hard on Republicans in southern California, and Democrats hope to net three to six seats in that state alone, as DCCC executive director Robby Mook writes in the memo.
The DCCC's main argument, though, lies in the breakdown of districts by presidential vote under the new maps. After 2010, the DCCC counted 60 Republicans representing districts won by President Obama in 2008. (National Journal's calculations show 61 "Obama Republican" seats after 2010.) After redistricting, Mook writes that there are now 64 Republican-held or new seats across the country. Sen. John Kerry also won 18 of those seats in 2004, compared to 14 under the old maps.
Some of those new seats came into being at the expense of states that merged Democratic congressmen into member-versus-member seats, but the overall presidential breakdown -- whether Obama or Sen. John McCain carried Republican-held seats -- has remained similar. The problem for Democrats is that a number of those Obama Republican districts became less Obama-friendly; Rep. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., for example, is still in an Obama district, Pennsylvania's 7th. But it's about four points less Democratic than it was before.