With several states poised to gain or lose seats in the House, Republicans and Democrats gear up for fights in legislatures, courts

By Natalie Andrews

The fight over House districts in 2022 is starting well before new lines on state maps are drawn.

Lawmakers, outside groups and attorneys are readying for a battle over redistricting that could change the control of the House majority in President-elect Joe Biden’s first term. Democrats are set to go into the new Congress with 222 seats, to Republicans’ 211, with two races still in dispute. The narrow majority has Republicans preparing to fight for favorable maps and Democrats on the defense.

“It’s going to be a cycle unlike any other in that there will be more potential gerrymandering than ever before but also more pushback than ever before,” said Michael Li, senior counsel at the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice.

U.S. House and state legislative districts are redrawn every 10 years, based on census data. Estimates released last Tuesday show that 10 states are likely to lose at least one congressional seat: Alabama, California, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and West Virginia. In total, 435 districts are split between the states.

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