WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Wednesday, the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission unanimously approved a new congressional map. Arizona’s five-person commission was created by ballot initiative in 2000 and is composed of two Democrats, two Republicans and an independent chair. The agreement on the final vote came after a day of notably contentious debate, with Democratic commissioner Shereen Lerner criticizing her Republican colleagues for seeking partisan gain and the independent chair Erika Neuberg for continually siding with them. Neuberg, a formerly registered Republican who has sided with GOP proposals in all but two votes, has been the focus of Democratic organizations that claim Neuberg participated as a partisan actor and delivered Republicans “the gift of the most imbalanced, gerrymandered congressional map that Arizona has seen in a generation.” Earlier on in the process, Democrats denounced Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) for his role in selecting skewed and unrepresentative commissioners.
In the new map, Arizona’s 1st and 6th Congressional Districts are highly competitive, and the map has the potential for a 6-3 Republican split in 2022. The current congressional delegation is 5-4 for Democrats, in a state that President Joe Biden narrowly won in 2020. Among the nine incumbents, Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-Ariz.) and Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) see the biggest changes to their districts’ political makeup, making them most vulnerable for re-election. The congressional map now goes to the state’s 15 counties who have a week to make minor administrative changes as the commission continues to work on new legislative maps.