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How did redistricting impact the 2022 midterms?

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(NewsNation) — Democrats were able to avoid the widely predicted “red wave” in the 2022 midterms despite optimism in the GOP that last year’s redistricting process favored Republicans.

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After a year of partisan battles and court challenges, the once-a-decade congressional redistricting cycle largely ended in a stalemate. That was seen as a victory among some in the GOP because it meant Republicans could theoretically win a House majority with less than 50% of the national popular vote.

The redistricting process, which occurs after each Census, varies from state to state. In most states, the party in control of the legislature determines the boundaries. But in other states, like California and Arizona, independent redistricting commissions draw the boundaries.

Here are five states where redistricting likely impacted the balance of power in the U.S. House.

arizona

Despite losing the governorship and failing to flip a U.S. Senate seat, Arizona Republicans picked up two U.S. House seats in the state’s 2nd and 6th congressional districts. Both those districts became more favorable for Republicans after the state’s independent redistricting commission unanimously approved the new boundaries in December 2021.

Even though the GOP made gains, other solidly Republican districts became more competitive under the new map. GOP incumbent Rep. David Schweikert narrowly held onto his seat in the state’s 1st congressional district after winning by nearly five points in 2020.

“When we talk about Arizona going to the left, a lot of that leftward shift is concentrated in those suburbs, specifically around Phoenix, and that hammer really falls on people like David Schweikert,” said Kiel Williams, a senior data scientist at Decision Desk HQ.

Redistricing favored: Republicans

Who drew congressional lines: Arizona’s Independent Redistricting Commission

2022 Outcome: Republicans control 6 seats, Democrats control 3 seats

Seats gained: +2 GOP

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florida

If there was any “red wave” in the 2022 midterms, it happened in Florida. Some of that is likely attributable to partisan gerrymandering in the Sunshine State. In April, GOP lawmakers approved a congressional map backed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, who had vetoed a more balanced map put forward by the Legislature earlier in the year.

Democratic lawmakers objected to the DeSantis map, arguing that it strongly favored the GOP but the redrawn districts eventually passed with a 68-38 vote along party lines.

“The Florida gerrymander is probably the most clear cut example of a new congressional map this cycle that benefited one party in a significant way,” said Williams.

Multiple groups sued in court alleging that the new boundaries were unconstitutional. After multiple rulings, a Florida appeals court allowed the DeSantis map to remain for the 2022 midterms. However, the litigation is ongoing and the map could still be ruled unconstitutional in the future.

Redistricing favored: Republicans

Who drew congressional lines: Republican-controlled state legislature with input from GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis

2022 Outcome: Republicans control 20 seats, Democrats control 8 seats

Seats gained: +4 GOP

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new york

Unlike the GOP in Florida, Democratic lawmakers in New York saw their gerrymandered congressional map struck down by the state’s highest court.

In April, the New York Court of Appeals rejected the maps put forward by the Democratic-led legislature after determining that the district boundaries were unconstitutionally gerrymandered in Democrats’ favor.

Instead, the Appeals Court — which consisted of judges appointed entirely by Democratic governors — handed the authority to a special court master who drew a far more balanced map than what had been proposed.

That outcome ultimately benefitted Republicans, who picked up four congressional seats in the Empire State, including the seat held by the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Sean Patrick Maloney.

“There was something like a local red wave that caused some of these districts in New York — that should have been, on paper, favorable to Democrats — to go in the other direction,” said Williams.

Redistricing favored: Neither party

Who drew congressional lines: A special court master. The state’s Independent Redistricting Commission was unable reach a consensus and the state’s Court of Appeals threw out the map drawn by the Democrat-led Legislature.

2022 Outcome: Democrats control 15 seats, Republicans control 11 seats

Seats gained: +3 GOP (Republicans flipped four seats but New York lost a congressional seat following the 2020 Census)

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new mexico

Democrats now control all three U.S. House seats in New Mexico after defeating GOP incumbent Rep. Yvette Herrell in the state’s 2nd congressional district. Herrell’s loss comes after the state’s Democratic-controlled legislature approved a map in December 2021 that Republican opponents accused of being partisan.

The new map made the state’s two Democrat-leaning districts slightly more competitive while also making Herrell’s district much more competitive.

The Republican Party and several other plaintiffs sued over the new map and the New Mexico Supreme Court is set to hear the case in January.

Redistricing favored: Democrats

Who drew congressional lines: Democrat-controlled state legislature

2022 Outcome: Democrats control all 3 seats

Seats gained: +1 Democrats

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oregon

Oregon Republicans defied expectations and flipped a seat in the state’s 5th congressional district, overcoming a map that appeared to favor Democrats.

The district — which was redrawn after Oregon gained a 6th congressional seat following the 2020 Census — had been held by Democrat Rep. Kurt Schrader since 2008. The region had a +3 Democratic advantage, according to FiveThirtyEight.

The race for Oregon’s new 6th congressional district remains too close to call, although Democrat Andrea Salinas is favored. That district leaned Democrat +7 after the Democrat-controlled state legislature completed its congressional map.

Redistricing favored: Democrats

Who drew the congressional lines: Democrat-controlled state legislature

2022 Outcome: Democrats control 4 seats, Republicans control 2

Seats gained: +1 GOP

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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