With California losing congressional seat, new map could play big role in who controls Congress

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Tuesday, December 28, 2021
With California losing congressional seat, what happens now?
California lost a U.S. House seat for the first time, going from 53 to 52, because the state grew more slowly than others.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- With a decreasing population and demographic changes, California's independent redistricting commission had the difficult job of translating information obtained through the 2020 census and re-drawing the state's maps.

That includes California's congressional map, which lost a seat - now at 52 seats in Congress instead of 53.

"When it comes to Congress, every congressional district has to have an equal population. They have to comply with the federal Voting Rights Act. That means making sure that you're not diluting racial power, racial voting power. People on both sides are not particularly thrilled," said Jessica Levinson, a professor at Loyola Law School. "There are a lot of different interest groups that are not particularly thrilled and that frankly is as it should be."

"The maps we created and improved are far from perfect, but they represent the wishes of the people of California to transform the redistricting process from one that used to take place behind closed doors to one that is public and fully transparent," said Isra Ahmad, the chair of the California Citizens Redistricting Commission.

RELATED: Los Angeles area loses US House seat in new California congressional maps

"All 14 of us wanted fair and equitable maps, and such maps should not be and are not a partisan matter. Fair and equitable maps are essential for free and fair elections and free and fair elections are the heart of American democracy," said Russell Yee, the vice-chair of the California Citizens Redistricting Commission.

The commission is made up of citizens, not elected representatives with five Democrats, five Republicans and four no party preference members. On Monday, the commission signed their final report and delivered the new maps to the secretary of state's office.

So does the new congressional map favor a political party? Levinson says yes.

"This is a pretty good map for Democrats," Levinson said. "Does that mean that it was purposefully drawn to try and ensure Democrats would gain power? It means that it's drawn in a way that there are fewer incumbent Democrats who are going to face challenges, who are going to be vulnerable, who were drawn into the same districts then there are Republicans in that situation."

The new congressional map for California will be in effect for the June 7, 2022 primary elections.