As 2021 drew to a close, a very large group of Californians worked feverishly to reach a very important deadline.
California’s Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission finalized new maps defining state legislative and congressional districts late last month, sparking a long-standing major political reshuffle.
You might remember that because California hasn’t grown fast enough over the past decade compared to other states, the state lost a seat in the House of Representatives for the first time. of its history.
But the resulting game of musical chairs is far from straightforward.
The political maps are redrawn once a decade, and this time around the loss of a seat was just one of many factors that shaped the process.
As the Los Angeles Times recently reported, the most difficult task of the non-partisan commission was to determine what constitutes a “community of interest.” The way the maps were ultimately drawn spurred Latin representation – something advocates have said is important, given that Hispanic residents are now the state’s largest ethnic group.
The new cards also helped Democrats, who have been accused of foul play by some Republicans.
Nonetheless, the changes muddied the math for Democrats as well. Some outgoing members of Congress or the state legislature are retiring. Some House candidates withdrew from the races after learning of their new opponents, while locally elected officials said they would embark on bigger contests.
Here’s where some of the most watched contests take shape:
The central valley
Thanks in large part to redistribution, California’s vast agricultural heartland has become one of the country’s last real political battlefields.
Representative Devin Nunes, a staunch Trump ally of Tulare, officially resigned on Monday from the seat he has held for nearly two decades to lead the former president’s new social media company. But according to draft maps released last year, Nunes was also on track for more of his neighborhood to move to the city of Fresno, which could have made victory more difficult. Rep Jim Costa, who currently represents a district in the Fresno area, plans to run in the new one this year. (There will first be a special election to replace Nunes until then.)
Representative David Valadao, a Republican from Hanford, could also have a tougher fight to retain his seat in a face-to-face with Rudy Salas, a Democrat from Bakersfield. Valadao represents a district that has swung between parties in extremely tight races.
Late last year Rep. Alan Lowenthal, a powerful Democrat from Long Beach, said he would not be running again. Shortly after, Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard, the first Mexican American woman elected to Congress, said she would be retiring as well. Her announcement roughly coincided with the news that the new congressional maps had essentially merged the district she represented with that of Lowenthal.
This paved the way for what will likely be a fight for the new predominantly Latin American neighborhood, which is anchored by Long Beach and includes other towns in southern Los Angeles County.
It’s set to be a showdown between two Garcias: Robert Garcia, the mayor of Long Beach and a rising Democratic star, and Cristina Garcia, a state lawmaker who has sought to position herself as Roybal-Allard’s successor. .
In the northern part of the Los Angeles area, Representative Mike Garcia, a Republican who beat his Democratic challenger in 2020 by 333 votes, will no longer have Simi Valley, a heavily conservative enclave in Ventura County, in his district.
Although Orange County is far from the Republican stronghold it once was, Tories are hoping to retain the party’s seats there.
The county is home to Representatives Michelle Steel and Young Kim, two of the first Korean American women to Congress. Both are Republicans propelled by the region’s conservative Asian American voters.
The two are running for re-election in the redesigned seats in the Orange County area. Steel – which targets a district that encompasses Little Saigon and has a strongly Asian electorate – is about to take on the challenge of Jay Chen, a Democratic political newcomer whose family has emigrated from Taiwan.
Orange County was also set to be the scene of a difficult party struggle between Democrats, until Monday. It was at this point that Harley Rouda, a former congressman elected in the “blue wave” that swept through California in 2018, said he would withdraw from a race against Rep. Katie Porter, a top Democrat. Her hometown, Irvine, was drawn to the neighborhood Rouda hoped to reclaim.
What we eat
Mashed Black Bean Tostadas.
Where we travel
Today’s travel tip comes from Caroline Inouye, a reader who lives in Los Osos:
“We have a lovely bay in Baywood where people and dogs are friendly.
If you are there on Monday we have a quaint and amazing farmer’s market. You can really relax and be part of nature here.
Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to [email protected] We will share more in future editions of the newsletter.
What we recommend
As we contemplate new beginnings, our colleagues at Well explained why you should stop dieting and start enjoying your food. And they offered some tips to get started.
How did you mark the start of 2022? Have you made any New Year’s resolutions?
Share with us at [email protected].
And before leaving, some good news
The turn of the year often creates situations that play with our notions of time – little reminders that the ways we mark time are, in the end, human inventions.
One such callback is the births of the Trujillo twins in Monterey County. As NBC News reports, Alfredo Antonio Trujillo was born at 11:45 p.m. on December 31, 2021, while his sister was born the next day, in the New Year – just 15 minutes later.