(Adds comments from 2022 candidates Dingell and Barrett in paragraphs 7, 8, 9, and 10.)
Democrats will have a tenuous edge under new congressional district lines adopted Tuesday by the state’s independent redistricting commission.
The plan creates competitive-but-leaning-blue districts around Flint, Lansing, and Grand Rapids, allowing Democrats to preserve their seven current congressional seats. Because of reapportionment, Republicans lost one district and the state now has 13. A poor showing by Democrats in 2022 could shift the competitive districts to the GOP because each is within five points, according to a Princeton University analysis.
Conservative and liberal groups already have pledged to sue, with Republicans angered by the breaking up of communities to achieve partisan fairness, and Democrats in Detroit angered that there won’t be majority-minority congressional districts.
The new map also will create jockeying among current U.S. House members, many of whom will be combined or pushed into new districts.
Commissioner Anthony Eid (I), the primary drawer of the map, said that the lines represent a compromise. The commission sought to keep districts in Detroit close to Black majorities while still respecting the communities of interest in other parts of the state.
Commissioner Rhonda Lange (R) voted against the plan, arguing that the commission needed to go back to the drawing board to better account for transitional community boundaries.
(Click HERE to sign up for Ballots & Boundaries, your check-in on redistricting and state voting laws.)
The new lines prompted immediate reaction from U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D) who said she’s preparing to move from the old safe-Democratic 12th District centered in Dearborn into a home in the new safe-Democratic 6th District centered in Ann Arbor.
“It has long been clear that Dearborn would be incorporated into a voting rights district with communities in Detroit, and I have always believed representation matters so I will not run in a VRA district,” she said in a statement, referring to the Voting Rights Act.
Michigan state Rep. Tom Barrett (R) announced that he’d run in the newly formed competitive 7th District centered around Lansing.
“This seat is very competitive for Republicans and I know that we will be able to flip it red and help win a House Majority,” he said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Ebert in Columbus, Ohio at firstname.lastname@example.org