Sunday 21 November 2021

Gov. DeWine Signs Ohio Redistricting Bill, Could Add One GOP House Seat in 2022

 Gov. Mike DeWine (R-OH) signed a bill into law on Friday that sets new boundaries for congressional districts in Ohio and could add an additional GOP seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2022 midterm elections.

The new Ohio redistricting plan is yet another indication that Republicans are well positioned to reclaim the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, where Democrats currently hold a slight majority, with 221 seats compared to 213 Republican seats and one vacancy in a seat likely to go to a Democrat in a pending special election.

During the current 117th Session of Congress, Ohio has 16 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Twelve seats are held by Republicans and four are held by Democrats.

Due to its relatively stagnant population growth between the 2010 U.S. Census and the 2020 U.S. Census, Ohio will lose one seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2022 midterm elections, which will determine who controls the lower chamber when the 118th Session of Congress convenes in January 2023.

The redistricting bill signed by DeWine on Friday could “very possibl[y]” result in a 15 member congressional delegation from Ohio that skews even more heavily Republican in 2023, as reported on Thursday:

Ohio adopted a brand-new redistricting process this year designed to produce fairer maps, but it has amounted to nothing: The state has blown past two deadlines to pass a new congressional map with bipartisan support, giving the Republican-controlled legislature the final say. The week before Thanksgiving, the state Senate and state House both passed Republicans’ latest proposed map without any Democratic support — which means it would only be valid for the next two general elections. (Under the state’s new redistricting law, only a map passed with bipartisan support would be allowed to stay in place for the entire decade, but that may not matter to Republicans, since a four-year map would give them a chance to strengthen it in 2025 in response to shifting voting patterns.)

While it is not as aggressive as some of Republicans’ earlier proposals, the proposed map is still highly biased toward the GOP. The plan has an extremely high efficiency gap (a measure of which party has fewer wasted votes) of R+16 and would create 11 red seats to just two blue seats and two competitive seats.

What’s more, the two competitive seats are both just barely Republican-leaning, meaning a 13-2 Republican congressional delegation is very possible under this map. That’s even more lopsided than Ohio’s current delegation of 12 Republicans and four Democrats. The new map eliminates Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan’s swingy 13th District (from which Ryan was already retiring to run for Senate), and also converts Rep. Marcy Kaptur’s safely Democratic district into an R+8 seat. However, the map does offer Democrats a couple new pickup opportunities by making Republican Rep. Steve Chabot’s and retiring Republican Rep. Anthony Gonzalez’s districts more evenly balanced.

On Saturday, Dave Wasserman, editor U.S. House of Representatives for the Cook Report, tweeted that Gov. De Wine signed “a map that could balloon Republicans’ advantage from 12R-4D to 13R-2D in 2022.”



The Republican-friendly redistricting plan signed into law by DeWine on Friday was not always a certainty,  as Breitbart News reported in October:

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, state auditor Keith Faber, and Secretary of State Frank LaRose are considering offering and adopting a redistricting map ahead of the 2022 midterm elections that would be overly beneficial and lopsided toward helping Democrats retain their U.S. House majority, Breitbart News has learned.

Two senior Republican officials briefed on the proposal before its expected introduction next week told Breitbart News that DeWine, Faber, and LaRose are considering drawing a number of pro-Trump Republicans into Democrat-leaning districts as part of retaliation against former President Donald Trump, who the three establishment GOP leaders dislike. The two senior Republicans briefed on the plan told Breitbart News they believe this retaliation from DeWine and others is an effort to steer the GOP away from Trump, who won the the state of Ohio by huge margins in both 2016 and 2020, because they do not like the direction the party is currently going.

Earlier this month, Rep. Jim Jordan’s (R-OH) allies claimed one of the redistricting plans under consideration was designed by establishment Republicans to redistrict him out of Congress, but those concerns were less pronounced in the redistricting plan that is now the law in Ohio for the next four years.

Under Ohio law, redistricting plans that have the support of only the majority party in the state legislature are in place for just four years. Consequently, the Ohio State Legislature will be required to develop a new redistricting plan for the final six years of this decade subsequent to the November 2024 general election.

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