Redistricting is roiling the California congressional delegation, but it won't affect the Democratic Party’s grip on power in the largest state in the union.

A swell of retirements by veteran lawmakers has unfolded as the California Citizens Redistricting Commission absorbed the loss of one House seat in decennial reapportionment and rearranged boundaries for the remaining 52 districts. But Democrats dominate the new map, just as they did the old. Lines for 2022 were drawn to elect anywhere from three to 11 Republicans, depending on how fruitful midterm elections are for the GOP.

“The changes in California were big,” a Democratic operative in the Golden State said Monday as the California Citizens Redistricting Commission approved a new map for congressional seats throughout the next decade.

The dominoes began falling several weeks ago when members of the state’s delegation saw looming changes to the districts they represent.

Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, in Congress for nearly 20 years, will resign at month’s end to take a job in the private sector after seeing his 22nd District redrawn. Democratic Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, elected in 1992, and Rep. Alan Lowenthal, elected in 2012, will also retire next year.

So will Rep. Jackie Speier, who came to Congress after winning an April 2008 special election. And Rep. Karen Bass, elected in 2012, is leaving the House to run for Los Angeles mayor.


Changes are afoot for incumbents running for reelection in the form of a political game of musical chairs. Democrats and Republicans from California who hope to remain in Congress are leaving their home turf and declaring intent to run in partially or entirely new districts, presuming the partisanship of these new seats are safer bets — even if it forces them to court unfamiliar voters. House members need not live in the districts they represent, only the same state.

Meanwhile, some new districts created by California’s independent commission seem tailor-made for fresh blood and could attract first-time congressional candidates.

Here are developments that could account for some of the more significant changes in California because of redistricting.

Democratic Rep. Josh Harder gets a safe seat. Harder was elected to Congress by ousting an incumbent Republican in the battleground 10th District of the northern Central Valley. Harder is now on track to seek reelection in the new, solidly Democratic 13th District also anchored in the Central Valley, but that includes some communities that will be new to the second-term incumbent. Harder will take the trade.

His old district was classified R+1; his new seat is D+7.

California 42 becomes California 41. The current 42nd District, ruby red and anchored in the Inland Empire of Southern California, has essentially been redrawn into the new 41st District. The seat, held by incumbent Republican Rep. Ken Calvert, is still poised to favor the GOP but a little less so.

The new 41st District is rated R+7, compared to R+13 for the outgoing 42nd district.

California 47 becomes California 42. The current 47th District, deep blue and anchored in southwestern Los Angeles County, has essentially been redrawn into the new 42nd District, poised to be a solid blue seat. With longtime lawmakers Roybal-Allard and Lowenthal retiring, it looks like a prime opportunity for Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia.

The 44-year-old, who is gay and emigrated to the United States from Peru at age 5, is considered a rising Democratic star in California. According to the Los Angeles Times, Garcia considers Lowenthal a “mentor.”

California 45 and 48 become California 47. As part of the redistricting commission’s charge to reduce the number of the state’s congressional seats by one due to slow population growth between 2010 and 2020, some seats in Orange County were combined. That approach has the current 45th District Democratic Rep. Katie Porter running for a seat largely to the west of her current inland constituency, the brand new 47th District.

Though the district still includes Porter's hometown of Irvine. This new 47th District, anchored in coastal Orange County, takes in a chunk of the current 48th Congressional District in and around the Pacific coastline. Porter, an acolyte of Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and a favorite of the Democratic activist left, is likely to face Republican Scott Baugh, a former state Assembly minority leader, in November 2022.

Baugh is a graduate of Liberty University, and the matchup would offer a stark ideological choice between Porter and a staunch conservative.

The area's current House member, Republican Rep. Michelle Steel, opted to run for reelection in the new, Democratic-leaning 45th District, which includes Garden Grove.


House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy gets more entrenched. The Bakersfield-area Republican, who easily won reelection in 2020 in a 23rd District rated R+22, was never in danger of being redistricted into political trouble in 2022, let alone out of his seat. But McCarthy, in line to become speaker if Republicans recapture the House majority in the midterm elections, emerged from reapportionment in even better shape than going in.

His new 20th District, including his hometown of Bakersfield, is rated R+31.