Several states are likely to have new congressional maps in place for 2024, forcing candidates to compete in new districts while altering the chances for pickup opportunities across both parties in November.

North Carolina, Alabama and Georgia have officially redistricted, while new congressional maps are still pending in New York, Louisiana and Florida. Republicans appear to have several pickup opportunities because of the new map in North Carolina, while Democrats could see gains in Alabama, New York and Louisiana.

“So at the moment, the Republicans are ahead because of North Carolina, but the Democrats may eventually come out of this cycle with a net gain in redistricting,” Kyle Kondik, nonpartisan polling analyst and managing editor for Sabato’s Crystal Ball, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “I’d describe the overall race for the House majority as a Toss-up.”

Democrats could lose several House seats in North Carolina after the Republican-controlled state legislature approved its new map in late October, which will likely be challenged in court over gerrymandering accusations. State Republicans argued that they expect the new districts to stay put, as they drew the maps with the anticipation of a court challenge. Democrats have challenged GOP-drawn maps in North Carolina three times since 2010. The state currently has 14 seats equally divided between Republicans and Democrats.

Since the map was approved, three Democratic Congress members in the state have announced their retirement, citing concerns over the new districts — Kathy ManningWiley Nickel and Jeff Jackson, who opted instead to run for attorney general.

A federal court approved Alabama’s new congressional map in early October, including a second majority-black district that favors a Democratic pick-up in 2024. The three-judge panel previously appointed a special master to redraw the map and include a second majority-black district. The Republican-held state Legislature’s original map was rejected by the Supreme Court in June, ruling that the plan violated the Voting Rights Act.

Democrats are likely to secure Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District, which will include all of Montgomery and part of Mobile with a majority-black population, according to The Cook Political Report. The move pushes together the districts represented by Republicans Jerry Carl and Barry Moore for a single, ultra-red seat.

“Rather than address voter concerns about their mismanagement of the economy, the border, and crime, Democrats are suing to tilt the playing field instead,” Jack Pandol, communications director for the National Republican Congressional Committee, told the DCNF in a statement. “Republicans are more committed than ever to growing our majority despite Democrats’ legal end-runs around the voters who reject their extreme policies.”

After Democrats and voting rights groups challenged Georgia’s Republican-drawn maps, an Obama-appointee federal judge upheld the new plan on Dec. 28. State lawmakers redrew the maps in a special session after the judge found in October that the GOP’s plan violated the Voting Rights Act. The Republicans reconfigured the existing districts to keep the partisan control of the state the same at nine Republicans to five Democrats, but addressed the judge’s concerns by creating another majority-black district.

Republicans came to their new plan by reconfiguring the diverse 7th Congressional District on the east side of Atlanta to make the 6th a majority-black area in the western suburbs, according to The Cook Political Report. This puts Democratic Rep. Lucy McBath of the 7th Congressional District in a difficult position for 2024.

Additionally, New York, Louisiana and Florida could also have new approved maps by November.

The New York Court of Appeals granted the Democratic-controlled state Legislature the ability to redraw their congressional districts in early December for the upcoming election.

The court previously rejected the original 2022 map drawn by a redistricting commission and approved by Democratic lawmakers due to partisan gerrymandering. A special master was appointed to draw the maps fairly, causing several competitive, high-profile Democratic primaries, and allowing Republicans to win in swing districts.

New York’s Independent Redistricting Commission has until Feb. 28 to present new maps to be approved by the state Legislature, which could allow Democrats another chance at crafting districts to their political favor.

“At this point, the redraw in New York has the greatest capacity to change the numbers. The [Republicans] could lose [three] or [four] seats,” Mike McKenna, GOP consultant and president of MWR Strategies, told the DCNF.

Republican wins in New York, and particularly across Long Island, were essential to the GOP gaining a majority in the House in 2022.

Conversely, another Republican strategist, granted anonymity to speak candidly on the dynamics of the race, argued that New York Republican Reps. Nick LaLota, George Santos, Anthony D’Esposito and Nicole Malliotakis would have still won their seats if Democrats used their original map in 2022.

The strategist added that even if Democrats return to these maps, described as the “worst case scenario,” Republicans would still be in a strong position to hold these seats.

Additionally, GOP Reps. Mike Lawler and Marc Molinaro would likely move to the toss-up category along with Republican Rep. Pat Ryan, according to the strategist. The only Republican who the strategist views could be in a “tough position” if the maps are redrawn is Rep. Brandon Williams.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in early November that Louisiana’s congressional map was racially gerrymandered, ordering the state Legislature to redraw the lines by Jan. 15 by including two majority-black districts.

The court cited the Supreme Court’s decision regarding Alabama’s map from June in its ruling, maintaining that Louisiana’s map too violated the Voting Rights Act.

Kondik noted that Louisiana’s new map could be similar to Alabama’s, potentially giving Democrats another pickup opportunity if approved by November.

“Fair maps that reflect the diversity of our nation and allow for equal representation in the House of Representatives is a cornerstone of our democracy,” Viet Shelton, a spokesperson for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told the DCNF in a statement. “For us, the math is straightforward: when you have districts that ensure all voices are represented equally, voters will say ‘yes’ to Democrats who deliver meaningful results to help working families and ‘no’ to the chaos and dysfunction of extreme MAGA Republicans who are incapable of governing.”

A Florida appeals court reversed a lower court’s decision in early December that struck down the Republican-drawn congressional map for violating a state amendment.

A circuit court judge ruled in September that the new districts, backed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, violated the state’s Fair Districts Amendment, according to The Cook Political Report. The amendment bars maps from “diminish[ing]” minorities’ “ability to elect representatives of their choice,” the text reads.

While Democrats and voting rights group have appealed to the state Supreme Court, it is likely to favor Republicans, as its bench is chock-full of conservative DeSantis-appointees.

The 2022 map in question reconfigured Florida’s 5th Congressional District, which previously had a 46% black population and was represented by Democrat Al Lawson. The seat, now held by Republican Rep. John Rutherford, was moved from “Toss Up” to “Likely Republican” following the appeals court decision.

“I think that if you look at all of the cases that are still pending, some of them may not even be decided before there’s a deadline for 2024,” Matt Dole, a Republican strategist based in Ohio, told the DCNF. “But if all of those come down, and all of them are in favor of the Democrats, I think you’re looking at like an eight to ten seat maximum Democrat potential gain on paper, and I don’t think that that overcomes their deficit on paper because of the context of the election.”

Mary Lou Masters on January 6, 2024

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