Republican state legislators see this year’s decennial redistricting process as a prime opportunity to gain House seats in next year’s midterms — with some believing those gains alone can help the GOP take back the majority.
Legislators are preparing for the most public redistricting process in American history. Both Democrats and Republicans stand ready to accuse each other of radical gerrymandering, while advances in technology give each side the chance to draw ideal districts that are both pleasing to the eye and politically favorable.
Republicans start with an advantage.
Their party will hold complete power over the redistricting process in 20 states that collectively send 188 members to the House, including Nebraska’s ostensibly nonpartisan state Senate, which is in practice run by Republicans.
Democrats will control the process in seven states that send 72 members to the House. Districts in 16 other states are drawn either by independent commissions or by divided government. The seven remaining states send only one at-large member to the House.
The GOP’s level of control, especially in critical battleground states, may be sufficient to gain the five extra seats they would need to reclaim the majority.