The nation is watching closely as California works to wrench the redistricting process away from gerrymandering and toward a map that better represents Californians, and several national media outlets are writing about the process this week, as we await the release of the preliminary maps.
This week, the Citizens Redistricting Commission will unveil its first round of maps, which were painstakingly drawn after months of travels around the state to hear from Californians from various communities about their concerns, desires, and needs.
Preliminary “visualizations” were posted online earlier this week, and commentary has been prolific. Many groups and individuals have found much to like with the online maps. Others say they want more of a voice in the process as it moves forward.
State and Congressional lawmakers are also paying close attention, because the new district lines affect who is in their district, their chances in future elections, and in some cases, whether they have a district at all.
Alex Isenstadt of the national online news outlet Politico spoke with several lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who stand to lose a lot as the maps are redrawn to better reflect California communities, regions, and citizen interests.
Pols who have become fixtures in the state and on Capitol Hill and who have skated to reelection are preparing to face a political Armageddon. Decades-old seats will vanish. Some members will retire. Others will be forced to run against fellow incumbents from the same party.
“To say every politician in California is holding their breath would be an understatement,” said Jim Ross, a Bay Area-based Democratic consultant, who pointed out that a rough blueprint the commission released last week “sent some people into a fit.”
This day of reckoning has long been on the horizon. The independent citizen-led commission, initially proposed by former Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and approved by voters in a referendum last year, has been meeting for the past two months with an eye toward demolishing each of the state’s 53 incumbent-coddling districts.
Friday’s draft will not be the final version: The committee is slated to unveil its final plan in August after soliciting public feedback. But those familiar with the process said any changes made to the draft version will be minor.
To read Alex’s full story in Politico, click here.