High Court Scrambles 2024 House Races: Ballots & Boundaries

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Republicans took over the House this year after their New York candidates won in districts that chose Joe Biden for president and their colleagues in other states built GOP advantages into congressional district maps. Now the Supreme Court has upended the redistricting part of that and clearly declared that Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act has to be obeyed.

The prospect of new districts drawn to avoid racially discriminatory outcomes is such a jolt to the 2024 landscape that the Cook Political Report with Amy Walter changed its race projections to move four seats to “toss up” status from “solid Republican.”

Those projected pickups would help Democrats offset almost certain losses in North Carolina, where the Republican legislature plans to implement a map more favorable to their party.

The ruling in Allen v. Milligan is about this Alabama congressional district map:

Source: Dave’s Redistricting
Under the congressional district map rejected by the US Supreme Court, Alabama sent just one Democrat to Congress.

The implications of the case extend into Louisiana, Georgia, and perhaps South Carolina.

In Louisiana, a federal court ruled that the Republican-led legislature must redraw its map to include a second Black-majority district in a state that’s about one-third Black. In Georgia, a pending VRA Section 2 lawsuit contends that the Black population in the western Atlanta metropolitan area is sufficiently large and compact to form an additional majority-Black congressional district.

As for South Carolina, the Supreme Court said it would review a lower court’s conclusion that the state legislature’s map engaged in unconstitutional racial gerrymandering in violation of the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.

Read more about the electoral shakeup and learn about this week’s decision:

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We pay extra attention to the incumbents who’ll have the toughest time convincing their bosses to keep them on the job. Which ones double down on appealing to the base? Which ones do the opposite?

Particularly interesting this cycle is a one-of-a-kind freshman: the only member of the House first elected in November who’s a Democrat in a district that Donald Trump won. Data compiled by Bloomberg Government shows that only two members of her party have voted with Republicans more often than Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (D-Wash.).

She was one of the two Democrats who voted to rescind Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan (H J Res 45). She was among just four Democrats who voted for House Republicans’ energy package (H.R. 1). And she bucked most Democrats on partisan votes more than 40 other times her first five months in Congress.

All the nonpartisan race-rating outfits call her re-election contest a tossup. READ MORE about that, including what she and her chief rival have to say, from Greg Giroux.

Data visualization by Seemeen Hashem

House ’23

It’s official. We now know when Rep. Chris Stewart is leaving Congress and when his successor can be seated. Stewart (R-Utah) formalized his early-departure plans, telling Gov. Spencer Cox (R) he plans to step down on Sept. 15 because of his wife’s health issues.

Cox called a special primary election for Sept. 5. The special general election will be Nov. 21.

Stewart probably will be succeeded by a fellow Republican in a district Donald Trump won by 17 percentage points in 2020. Candidate filing ends next week, so we don’t have to wait long to see the whole field. — Greg Giroux

WISCONSIN: Gallagher’s a No-Go
Rep. Mike Gallagher announced his re-election plans today, raising a big question about the race he’s not running: Who will Republicans put up against Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.)? Gallagher was the highest profile Republican said to be considering a run against two-termer Baldwin. — Associated Press

PENNSYLVANIA: Rejected Ballot Suit
A legal dispute involving roughly a half-dozen voters may determine whether Pennsylvanians are allowed to go to their polling places to vote in person after a technical error led to the rejection of their mailed-in ballots. Spotlight PA


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To contact the reporter on this story: Greg Giroux in Washington at ggiroux@bgov.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Katherine Rizzo at krizzo@bgov.com; Bennett Roth at broth@bgov.com

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