New Hampshire enacted congressional maps favored by Democrats and the state's Republican governor, ending the line-drawing process for the final straggler of a national redistricting cycle that turned out more favorably for the GOP than predicted.

After months of internal Republican squabbling over apportionment, the Supreme Court of New Hampshire assumed control over the fraught process on Tuesday and enacted a "least change" map proposed by a special master last week, delivering a win for Democrats and Republican Gov. Chris Sununu.


"We determined that, upon a demonstrated impasse, this court must establish a new district plan and, in doing so, we would apply the 'least change' approach," Clerk Timothy Gudas wrote. "It is now undisputed that a demonstrated impasse has occurred as a result of the Governor’s May 27 vetoes of two congressional redistricting bills."

The new map from special master Nate Persily hews closely to the current arrangement and only moves a meager five towns between the 1st District and the 2nd District. The map also only has "a population deviation of one person," according to Dave Wasserman, a national elections analyst for the Cook Political Report.

This is the preferred outcome for Sununu, who wanted a competitive map in place, and a sigh of relief for Democrats, who feared state Republicans were gunning for the 1st District, home to incumbent Rep. Chris Pappas (D-NY).

Persily's map results in the 1st District having a +1 Republican lean and the 2nd District having a +2 Democratic lean, meaning both seats will be highly competitive, according to an analysis from FiveThirtyEight. The new map will only be in place for the next election, meaning New Hampshire Republicans will likely still have to work through their intraparty melee eventually.

In contrast to Sununu's pleas for a competitive layout, state Republicans coveted a safe seat. Over the past decade, the GOP only nabbed one of the state's two congressional seats on two occasions. Haunted by this track record, Granite State Republicans repeatedly pressed for congressional maps that ceded one seat to Democrats in exchange for a safe district over the objections of both Sununu, who believed both seats could be won by the GOP in a competitive map, and Democrats, who have relished the nearly uninterrupted control over both districts.

Last week, Sununu announced he would veto a last-ditch effort from state Republicans to avert a looming court takeover, rendering court intervention a fait accompli. Republicans unsuccessfully pleaded with the court last week to display restraint, arguing its signaled takeover emboldened Sununu during negotiations and enabled him to run out the clock.

"The Constitutional lawmaking process does not anticipate that when the Governor is considering an act of the General Court that he will be provided with a judicially created 'backup proposal' that allows him to choose a favorite between a legislative created redistricting map and a judicially created redistricting map," attorneys for the Republican leaders wrote in a filing last Thursday, per the Associated Press.

Eyeing the June 1 opening date for candidates to begin filing congressional bids and the Sept. 13 primary election, the court underwent preparations last month for a takeover, tasking Persily with crafting a new map in the event state Republicans failed to rectify the monthslong impasse. The court had long signaled reluctance to intervene, encouraging New Hampshire Republicans to resolve their differences. After Republicans failed to reach an agreement last week, the court gave each side the opportunity to object to Persily's map Tuesday and moved ahead with his proposal after concluding the impasse would not be resolved.


With New Hampshire's redistricting squabble temporarily resolved, all 50 states have legally binding congressional maps in place for the midterm election cycle, although about a dozen states have litigation pending.

Under the apportionment arrangement, Republicans are poised to pick up three to four seats from redistricting alone, helping fuel a widely prophesied red-wave year heading into the midterm elections.