In a split decision, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the state's Congressional Redistricting Act of 2011 violates the state's Constitution, ordering the General Assembly to submit a revised plan to the governor by February 9th. Failing that, or if the governor doesn't approve the plan submitted, the Court will develop a plan for redistricting. The Court further directed that the new districts will be effective for the May 15th primary. The changes will not affect the March 13th special election in the 18th congressional district.
The decision is being appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, according to this AP article. Providing some background, the article states that "Republicans who controlled the Legislature and governor’s office following the 2010 census broke decades of geographical precedent when redrawing the map...they shifted whole counties and cities into different districts in an effort to protect a Republican advantage in the congressional delegation. They succeeded, securing 13 of 18 seats in a state where registered Democratic voters outnumber Republicans 5 to 4."
Here's a map of the current district boundaries for the entire state, colored by party of the current incumbent, with the 18th currently vacant (was Republican-held).
This 2nd map is the Southeastern corner of the state, the districts in and around Philadelphia. This is where some of the worst gerrymandering took place. District 7 (shown in tan) is sometimes referred to as "Goofy Kicking Donald Duck"; it is one of the most oddly-shaped districts in the country.
Any approved redrawing of the lines will almost certainly benefit Democrats in November. In an already very competitive year, this will provide additional opportunities for that party to gain the 24 seats they will need to take control of the U.S. House.
There are elections for governor in 36 of the 50 states this year. 26 of those offices are held by Republicans and nine by Democrats, with one independent in Alaska. Only half of the Republican incumbents are running; all the departing governors, except for Idaho's Butch Otter, are term-limited. On the Democratic side, five of the nine incumbents are running; two of the four departures are due to term limits.
Overall, as of January 16th*, Republicans hold 33 governorships and Democrats 16, with one independent. This year's gubernatorial elections will take on more national importance than usual as the governors elected this year will be in office^ when redistricting occurs after the 2020 Census. In most states, the legislature draws the district lines, while the governor has veto power.
New Feature: Save and share maps
With heightened interest in these gubernatorial races, we've begun a process of upgrading the Interactive 2018 Governor Map. The first part of that, saving and sharing maps via social media, is now live. As with the presidential and Senate maps, click the 'Share Map' button that will be visible below the map (after you make one or more changes). Once you click that, the social media buttons below the map will become active, and you can share your specific projection via social media or email. The map image can also be embedded on a web page via the rightmost button.
In the table below, we've embedded the current race ratings from Sabato's Crystal Ball, The Cook Political Report and Inside Elections. Select any of them to use as a starting point for your projection.
Sabato's Crystal Ball
These are the default projections when you reset the map. We'll be adding other starting views in the weeks ahead.
The Cook Political Report
Inside Elections uses a 'tilt' rating between 'toss-up' and 'lean'. Illinois is 'tilt Democratic', while Ohio is 'tilt Republican'. We show these as 'lean' on the map below. Alaska is 'lean' independent.
* Democrat Phil Murphy replaced Republican Chris Christie on this date.
^ Assumes no early departures due to death or resignation. New Hampshire and Vermont have two-year terms; those seats will be contested again in November, 2020. It is a moot point with Vermont, as the state has one at-large congressional district.
Telling the national GOP to "grow a pair of ovaries", Rep. Martha McSally joined the U.S. Senate race in Arizona Friday. She will compete against former State Senator Kelli Ward and former Sheriff Joe Arpaio for the Republican nomination. The winner will likely face McSally's Democratic House colleague Kyrsten Sinema in November. Incumbent Senator, Republican Jeff Flake is retiring.
California Republican Darrell Issa will not seek reelection, he announced Wednesday. Issa narrowly won reelection in 2016. His roughly 0.5% margin of victory over Democrat Doug Applegate was one of the five closest congressional races in 2016. Hillary Clinton won the district by 7.5%, one of only 23 districts nationwide (7 in California) that elected a Republican to the House while supporting Clinton over Trump in the presidential election.
Sabato's Crystal Ball has moved the 2018 race for the 49th district from Toss up to Leans Democrat.
Serving #CA49 has been the privilege of a lifetime. From the bottom of my heart - thank you - to everyone for your support and the honor of serving you all these years. My full statement on my decision not to seek reelection: https://t.co/zjlkeiqnzs— Darrell Issa (@DarrellIssa) January 10, 2018
Issa is the 2nd California Republican to retire this week. Ed Royce announced his retirement on Monday. That race moved from Leans Republican to Toss Up.
Worth Noting: Ratings for these races assume a Democrat vs. a Republican face off in November. However, California has a non-partisan primary, where all candidates compete on a single ballot, with the top two, regardless of party, moving on to November. Depending on the composition of the ballot it is possible for two candidates from the same party to advance to November, even in swing districts like Royce's 39th and Issa's 49th.
45 members of the House are retiring or seeking another office in 2018. Arizona Rep. Martha McSally will be added to this list Friday if, as expected, Rep. Martha McSally (R, AZ-2) announces her candidacy for U.S. Senate in Arizona. Ohio's Pat Tiberi (R, OH-12) will be removed from the list when he resigns on January 15th.
A new poll from OH Predictive Insights shows a very competitive 3-way race for the Republican nomination in the Arizona U.S. Senate race. Rep. Martha McSally leads with 31%, just ahead of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio at 29%. Former State Sen. Kelli Ward is in 3rd at 25%. In a mid-November poll by the same firm, Ward held an 8 point lead over McSally; Arpaio was not included in that survey.
McSally is the establishment favorite, and her number is little changed from November. Arpaio's share came primarily from Ward; this makes sense in that they both will appeal to many of the same voters. It is also notable that Arpaio & Ward's combined share exceeds 50%, well ahead of McSally. This indicates that a three-way race all the way to the August 28th primary may make McSally's path to the nomination easier than if Arpaio or Ward drop out at some point and endorse the other.
Arpaio just announced his entry to the race yesterday, with McSally expected to officially join the race Friday.
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that North Carolina's congressional districts must be redrawn in advance of this year's U.S. House elections. The court ruled that "Republican state legislators, seeking to address a racial gerrymander the court struck down in a previous map, put too much partisan intent into their redraw, drawing the lines to guarantee Republican victories in U.S. House races despite North Carolina's more purple political hue."
The court ordered the General Assembly to redraw districts by January 24th, indicating that it would issue its own map if the revision was unacceptable.
The case is likely to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
North Carolina's current congressional districts can be seen on the map below, which is a partial preview of a state page from our soon to be launched updated House map. Each state will have its own map, and there will be a national map that can be zoomed and panned to view any desired region of the country. All the maps will be interactive and will work in conjunction with each other.
Included on the state pages will be information on the incumbent and a race rating for 2018. Additionally, they will show each district's margins from 2016, both from the race for Congress and the presidential election. The results in North Carolina highlight how effective the state legislature's gerrymander was --- none of the 13 districts was decided by less than 12%.
The Republican field in the Arizona U.S. Senate race is expected to add two prominent names this week: Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Rep. Martha McSally. Both present a challenge to the current front-runner, former State Senator Kelli Ward. The incumbent Republican Senator, Jeff Flake, is retiring.
The Washington Examiner reports that "Arpaio, a close ally of President Trump and former sheriff known for his provocative approach to combating illegal immigration, is running for Senate in Arizona." Meanwhile, Politico's Kevin Robillard tweets that Arizona Republican Rep. Martha McSally has "special announcements" set for Friday. It is likely that she will enter the race at that time.
McSally has events scheduled beginning in Tucson then moving on to Phoenix and Prescott. Her 2nd district covers the Southeastern corner of Arizona, including much of Tucson. It was reported in early November that McSally was planning to join the race, so her expected announcement will not be a surprise.
The new entrants set up a three-way battle for the Republican nomination. McSally, in her 2nd term in Congress, is the preferred candidate of the establishment. The conservative Ward has received support from President Trump and an endorsement from Steve Bannon, although she's distanced herself from Bannon in recent days. Arpaio is likely to appeal to many of the voters drawn to Ward. This could actually ease McSally's path to the nomination.
Whomever emerges as the nominee will likely face Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema in the general election. That contest is seen as a toss-up at this time.
McSally's district is also seen as a toss-up. While she won reelection by 14% last November, Hillary Clinton won the district by 5%. It is one of just 23 districts nationwide that elected a Republican to Congress and voted for Clinton over Trump.
Fox News reports that "House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce on Monday became the latest influential Republican lawmaker to announce plans to retire from Congress at the end of his term." Royce is in his 13th term, and represents California's 39th district which sits just east of Los Angeles. He is the first of California's 53 House members to announce they are not seeking reelection this year.
While Royce won reelection by nearly 15% in 2016, the district is one of just 23 nationwide that elected a Republican to Congress and voted for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. Clinton won here by 8.6%. With the incumbent retiring, Sabato's Crystal Ball has moved this race to toss-up from Leans Republican.
Royce brings to 44 the number of House members retiring or seeking another office; that's over 10% of the body's 435 seats.
Florida Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis has joined the state's 2018 race for governor. Incumbent Republican governor Rick Scott cannot run again due to term limits. DeSantis, who is in his 3rd term in the House, was recently endorsed by President Trump for the position.
Congressman Ron DeSantis is a brilliant young leader, Yale and then Harvard Law, who would make a GREAT Governor of Florida. He loves our Country and is a true FIGHTER!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 22, 2017
DeSantis represents the 6th district, which runs from south of Jacksonville through Daytona Beach to north of Orlando. Both DeSantis and Donald Trump won here by 17 points in 2016, and the district is seen as safe Republican.
The gubernatorial race is one of 36 to be held in 2018. It is considered a toss-up at this point.
43 House members have announced they aren't running in 2018. One of them, Ohio's Pat Tiberi, will be leaving Congress on January 15th. Gov. John Kasich has set August 7th as the date for a special election, which will be preceded by a primary on May 8th.
Mississippi Republican Gregg Harper announced Thursday that he would not seek reelection in 2018. Harper, who is in his 5th term, represents the state's 3rd district, a safe Republican area that Donald Trump won by nearly 25 points in 2016. The district crosses the state, from the border with Louisiana to that with Alabama. It includes part of the Jackson area, as well as Meridian.
Related: Full list of House Retirements
Separately, Ohio Republican Pat Tiberi, who announced this past October that he would leave Congress by the end of January, has set January 15th as his departure date. Gov. John Kasich, who represented the 12th district prior to Tiberi (both of them served nine terms) will set the date for a special election. Donald Trump won this district by about 11% in 2016 and it likely will remain in Republican hands.
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