WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Monday, the California Citizens Redistricting Commission unanimously approved new congressional and legislative maps. The 14-member commission was created by ballot initiative in 2008. This year, it was composed of five Democrats, five Republicans and four members with no party preference. Still the most populous state in the country, California saw slower growth over the past 10 years and lost one seat in the U.S. House of Representatives after the release of the latest census data, bringing the total number of congressional districts to 52. The lost congressional seat impacted the Los Angeles County area, with Reps. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.) and Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.) drawn into a single district. Both Roybal-Allard and Lowenthal are 80 years old and already announced they will not seek re-election.
Overall, the new congressional map is friendly to most Democratic incumbents, while several of the state’s 11 Republican seats become more competitive. Notably, the number of districts with a majority of Latino voters increased by three, creating a projected 16 majority-Latino districts in the new congressional map. The state Senate and Assembly districts are expected to maintain Democratic control in the statehouse, while the commission prioritized keeping communities of interest intact. The maps will be open for public comment for at least three days and sent to the secretary of state’s office for enactment by Dec. 27.