And You Thought Redistricting Was Done: Ballots & Boundaries

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Yes, there were congressional elections under new district lines last year. But no, those boundaries aren’t all locked in for the decade.

More redistricting is guaranteed in two states that operated under interim maps in 2022, and there’s a potential for fresh line-drawing in additional states, depending on the outcome of court cases.

We’re waiting for two big decisions from the US Supreme Court and watching for rulings in other state and federal courts. “The two cases at SCOTUS will define the next phase of this redistricting cycle,” said Adam Kincaid, executive director of the National Republican Redistricting Trust.

“We won’t really know what that will look like — lots of new lawsuits and maps or very few — until the court rules,” he said. “And those rulings may not come until late June.”

Among the open questions, as the Brennan Center’s Michael Li notes, is how much time states will require to react to court decisions.

Candidates need time to gather petition signatures in the correct districts and local officials need to plan for primary elections. “It’s not clear how many changes could get resolved in time to make changes for 2024,” he said in an interview. “The clock is ticking.”

READ MORE from Greg Giroux

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House ’24

Rep. Suzan DelBene, the new chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, turns to numbers in making the case for why she expects her party to win back the House in 2024.

Her favorite data point: Democrats only need to gain control of five seats to flip the chamber, and there are 18 Republicans in districts President Joe Biden won. That compares favorably to her party defending only five Democratic incumbents representing districts President Donald Trump carried.

“We need five more and the roadmap is there,” she said in one of her first interviews since taking over the party’s campaign arm last month. That, of course, presumes that the party’s shaky incumbents will prevail in races that are starting out as tossups. READ MORE from Emily Wilkins

Senate ’24

FLORIDA: ‘Scott Plan’
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell renewed his feud with Rick Scott, criticizing his fellow Republican’s proposal to sunset federal laws after President Joe Biden used it to tar Republicans as seeking to phase out popular programs like Social Security and Medicare.

“Unfortunately, that was the Scott plan. That’s not a Republican plan, that’s the Rick Scott plan,” McConnell told Kentucky radio host Terry Meiners. “I think it will be a challenge for him to deal with this in his own reelection in Florida.”

McConnell said his criticism of Scott wasn’t because of Scott’s unsuccessful effort to unseat him as party leader last year, but instead was because reducing entitlements is “a bad idea.” Scott has said repeatedly that he doesn’t support cutting Medicare or Social Security, but hasn’t specifically exempted them from his proposal to sunset all laws every five years unless Congress acts to keep the laws on the books. READ MORE from Steven Dennis.

WEST VIRGINIA: Undecided or Coy?
Sen. Joe Manchin continues to tease a bid for president, which would leave Democrats vulnerable to losing his seat representing deep-red West Virginia next year.

“The only thing I’m considering is what can I do to bring the country together,” Manchin said when asked at a Semafor event about his White House aspirations. “I don’t know what the next chapter will be.”

“I’m not saying that I have any aspirations or basically my whole life is based around one objective. No, not at all,” Manchin added.

Couldn’t help but notice two words that weren’t part of his response: West Virginia. — Zach C. Cohen

CALIFORNIA: Not Bonta’s Turn; Maybe a Lee Announcement Soon
We’ve been in an awkward phase when some Democrats are being deferential and patiently waiting for Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) to say whether she’s running or retiring, while others decided they just couldn’t wait.

So when California Attorney General Rob Bonta showed up on Capitol Hill, it was the perfect opportunity to scratch him off the speculation list.

“Should there be a time in the future where I have an opportunity to help more people and serve in a different role, that might be something I consider,” Bonta said in a brief interview outside the Capitol. “But I’m not considering that right now.”

Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports that Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) has settled on this month as the optimal time to announce her candidacy for Feinstein’s seat. — Zach C. Cohen


NEW YORK: What’s Next for Zeldin?
Former Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) said he can envision another government job in his future, but wouldn’t say which one, reports New York State of Politics. “I will reenter government service, but I don’t have anything to announce right now,” Zeldin said in Albany this week.

Zeldin got 47% of the vote in his unsuccessful challenge to Gov. Kathy Hochul (D). That’s better than any other Republican in the last two decades, hence the curiosity about whether he has another statewide race on his mind.

Two additional data points: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) is up for re-election next year, and Zeldin recently dumped the campaign treasurer he shared with Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) New York Post and New York State of Politics

Ballot Questions

CALIFORNIA: Fossil Fuels
A California law banning oil and gas drilling within 3,200 feet of homes, schools, and hospitals is on hold until voters decide its fate next year.

Drilling companies so far have pledged over $18 million to try to reverse the measure via a referendum that’s now qualified for the 2024 general election ballot.

Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) has begun soliciting donations to counter Big Oil in the new test of his ability to get allies to open their checkbooks. Lastyear, you’ll recall, he helped turn voters against a Lyft Inc.-sponsored electric-vehicle initiative.

California’s referendum process has become a winning tactic for business advocates who want to stall or end laws they don’t like. The restaurant industry last month won a nearly two-year reprieve from a new law that would raise the minimum wage in the fast-food sector to $22 an hour. — Tiffany Stecker

MISSOURI: Less Power to the People
The State House has advanced an effort to require 60% voter approval to pass citizen-initiated constitutional amendments (H.J.R. 43).

If the Senate agrees, the question, voters would decide next year whether to make future amendments meet the higher threashold along with other proposed changes. —Tiffany Stecker

Election Law

CALIFORNIA: Prison Ballots
The lawmaker who heads the Elections Committee in the California Assembly has begun a new push to give citiznes behind bars the right to vote.

To go before the voters, the proposed constitutional amendment (ACA 4) by Assemblyman Isaac Bryan (D) would need to be supported by two-thirds of lawmakers in each chamber.

“Maintaining and preserving and expanding democracy resonates” with California voters, Bryan said in a brief interview.

California is one of 24 states and D.C. that allows parolees to vote, according to the Sentencing Project. Only Maine, Vermont, and the District of Columbia allow ballots behind bars. —Tiffany Stecker

GEORGIA: People Power
Georgia voters have some new clarity on what the state Constitution allows them to change via the ballot box.

The Georgia Supreme Court unanimously rejected a legal challenge by Camden County commissioners who sought to have a referendum about a commercial spaceport declared invalid. The court consluded that citizens do have the power to veto decisions of county governments. Associated Press


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To contact the reporters on this story: Greg Giroux in Washington at; Tiffany Stecker in Sacramento, Calif. at; Zach C. Cohen in Washington at

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