AP analysis shows more unopposed Missouri races, GOP edge

Gerrymandering - the dark art of shaping legislative districts to give one party an electoral edge-gave Republicans an outsized advantage in races for the U.S. House and state legislatures in 2016, according to an analysis by the Associated Press published Sunday.

A map of congressional districts drawn by Pennsylvania's Republican-controlled Legislature helped the GOP win almost three more of the state's U.S. House seats than the party otherwise would have won in last year's election, an Associated Press analysis found. Created to detect cases in which one party may have secured power through political gerrymandering, it found that the GOP may have won as many as 22 additional congressional seats more than expected.

But many Democratic candidates will be facing a stacked deck as Virginia is one of several states where favorably drawn districts have given Republicans a measurable advantage in past elections, an Associated Press analysis shows. Among the two dozen most populated states that determine the vast majority of Congress, there were almost three times as many with Republican-tilted U.S. House districts.

Toscano said opposition to Trump is so strong that it's overcome the reluctance Democratic candidates have had in the past to compete in a district with Republican-friendly boundaries. Republicans may have won an extra congressional seat over what would have been expected based on the average vote share around the state that shows a large so-called "efficiency gap".

"If all of the D's or all of the R's are concentrated in one part of a state, even though the efficiency score that comes out of this suggests that there should be one, two, three, four, 10 more seats in that party's control, you can't draw the boundaries that way, because the people are too concentrated in one area", Downs said. Yet Republicans won 57 percent of the House seats, claiming 63 seats to the Democrats' 47.

One of the largest Democratic congressional advantages was in Maryland, where Democrats controlled redistricting.

The analysis examined the share of votes cast for Republican and Democratic candidates in each district and projected the expected number of seats each party would gain if districts were drawn so that neither party had an overall advantage.

Pennsylvania's 16.2 percent efficiency gap favoring Republicans was the sixth highest among states a year ago. It cuts through three counties - and has three House seats, two held by Democrats. On the other end of the scale were MI at 10.3 percent and Wisconsin at 9.8 percent, with both states favoring Republicans. Instead, he said a proposed independent commission should work to keep "communities of interest" together.

A legislative study committee chaired by Rep.

"That's just a baseless supposition to blame that all on line-drawing", he said.

The state's congressional map was deemed unconstitutional and redrawn by order of federal judges in 2016, but legal challenges to redraw state House districts are tied up in appeals.

"It isn't that you are going to turn IN blue or Maryland red", she said about independent redistricting.

Yet there also were some districts that didn't appear to follow the Republican proposal, said former citizens' commission member Nick Myers, who now is secretary of the Missouri Republican State Committee. And only four other states had a lower percentage of contested races in 2016, when most states held state House elections, according to the AP's analysis. And only California had a small gap in state House elections.

"In 2011, the gerrymander was the most artful that I've seen", Terry Madonna, director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin and Marshall College, told AP.

  • Leroy Wright