Why Democratic Departures From the House Have Republicans Salivating

Along with Florida, Republicans are expected to draw themselves more favorable congressional districts in Georgia, where Democrats hold two competitive districts in Atlanta’s northern suburbs, and Texas, which will add two new seats for the 2022 elections.

Mr. Ryan’s Democratic district in northeast Ohio is likely to disappear when Ohio Republicans draw a map with one fewer House seat, and Representative Filemon Vela of Texas, whose Rio Grande Valley district became eight percentage points more Republican from 2016 to 2020, chose retirement rather than compete in what was likely to be his first competitive re-election bid.

“This is where Democratic underperformance in 2020 really begins to hinder Democrats downballot,” said Ken Spain, a veteran of the House Republicans’ campaign arm. “Republicans fared well at the state level last cycle and now they’re going to reap the benefits of many of those red states drawing a disproportionate number of the seats.”

Because Republicans hold majorities in more state legislatures, and Democrats and voters in key states such as California, Colorado and Virginia have delegated mapmaking authority to nonpartisan commissions, the redistricting process alone could shift up to five or six seats to Republicans, potentially enough to seize the majority if they don’t flip any other Democratic-held seats.

Democrats are expected to press their advantages where they can, particularly in Illinois and New York, states that lost one House district each in last week’s reapportionment. New York’s new map is certain to take a seat from Republicans in Upstate New York, and one Republican-held seat in Central Illinois may be redrawn to be Democratic while another is eliminated.

For the moment there are more House Republicans, six, not seeking re-election, than the five House Democrats retiring or running for aiming for a promotion to statewide office. But of the Republicans, only Representatives Lee Zeldin and Tom Reed of New York represent districts that are plausibly competitive in 2022.

With Democrats holding supermajority control of the New York State Legislature, Mr. Zeldin, who is running for governor, and Mr. Reed, who retired while apologizing for a past allegation of groping, could both see their districts drawn to become far more competitive for Democrats.

Reid J. Epstein reported from Washington and Patricia Mazzei reported from Miami.

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