The first time in history, California lost a House seat could spark political uproar as obligatory Democrats and a few Republicans jockeys to survive the decennial redrawing of congressional boundaries by the state’s independent redistricting commission.
Insiders say Democrat-held congressional districts in and around Los Angeles County are most endangered threatening to end the careers of veteran Reps. Alan Lowenthal, Grace Napolitano, Lucille Roybal-Allard, and Maxine Waters, who range in age from 79 to 84.
California’s 15-member Citizens Redistricting Commission divided equally among Democrats, Republicans, and independents are prohibited from drawing maps that benefit or disadvantage any particular politician. But redistricting observers believe such an outcome is likely.
Garry South, a Democratic strategist in California said, “The loss of a congressional seat will throw the line-drawing into some turmoil”. “It is probably inevitable that there will be one or more cases of two incumbents being thrown into the same seat — and it may not be only two Democrats.”
California controls 53 House seats, by far the most of any state.
Since 1849, the number is set to drop. As per the 2020 census, after lethargic population growth and outbound migration left the Golden State just shy of 40 million residents. Adding to the political ambiguity instigated by that loss, new district boundaries are not expected to be revealed until maybe next year in February, forcing the state to push back its June 2022 primary.
Democrats are at risk because they control the California House Seat. It is a political dynamic neither the state’s independent redistricting commission nor its top-two primary system managed to affect, but that reflects the will of the vast majority of voters there.
Democrats hold roughly a five-seat that could favor Republicans are factored in. As Democrats hold the White House, historical trends would suggest the GOP has a considerable edge in its quest to recapture the chamber after four years in the minority.
“Don’t you think a few of the members who have been around since the early ’90s might hang it up if it looks like Dems lose the House? We have quite a few members over 75,” a Democratic operative in California said. “We also have state legislators who might want to jump.”