New Congressional and State Legislative districts — A detailed analysis

Mason HerronMason Herron 7 Comments


With last night’s final approval from the California Redistricting Commission, we now have voter registration data for the new state districts.

Here is a spreadsheet containing all the partisan registration data for districts within San Diego County, including how much of the various counties each district covers.

Below is some initial analysis. Note that this was written this morning as I was still digesting the numbers, so I apologize in advance for any cloudy thoughts.

To help guide you through, be sure to utilize this interactive viewer for the new maps, and if you’d like to reference the current (old) maps, utilize this viewer.

These lines aren’t dramatically different from the status quo. Most notable is that Darrell Issa’s “East County” district (now the 48th District) gets about 3 points more Republican, while Mike Levin’s “North County / Orange County” district gets slightly more Democratic (current district was about 2.7%, while the new district is 1.93%). Several days ago, this district was on track to be about dead even, until the commission added Encinitas at the last minute, giving the district a bit of a boost to Democratic registration.

The new 52nd District (Juan Vargas) is entirely contained within San Diego County and no longer stretches into Imperial County, which is what the prior 51st District did.

The new 51st (old 53rd), represented by Sara Jacobs shifts north, trading some of its South Bay areas for a chunk geography north of CA-52 but still essentially maintains its “Central San Diego” geography. However, as a result of the northward shift, it goes from a D+ 24.18% advantage to a D+16.80% advantage. While still reliably Democrat, the district’s northward shift should make it less liberal.

Finally, the new 50th (formerly 52nd), represented by Scott Peters, moves Westward/Northward (and loses Poway), but also remains fairly similar. It does get a bit more Democratic, going from a 14.06% Dem advantage to a 17.61% Democrat advantage.

Ultimately, the delegation itself should remain fairly unchanged, with the exception of Levin’s seat becoming a bit more vulnerable in what is looking more and more like an election cycle that will favor Republicans.

State Senate
The makeup of the State Senate districts, at least as far as San Diego County is concerned, is where the most change has happened.

To begin with, we are now home to the anomalous 18th Senate District, which stretches all the way from the South Bay, into Imperial County, while also swooping up into Riverside and also picks up just a small slice of San Bernardino County. 66.81% of the District is occupied by San Diego County. This is the seat that Chula Vista Councilmember Steve Padilla has declared for, which still leans very heavily toward the Democrats (26.01%). On an initial glance, it doesn’t appear there is any overlap with an existing Democrat Senate incumbent, which could have generated a headache for Padilla (or any other aspirant for the seat).

Meanwhile, in far East County, we consume a small portion (1.15%) of the new 32nd District, which holds an ~8% registration edge for Republicans, and touches San Diego, Riverside, Orange, and San Bernardino Counties, with a vast majority (82%) of the population living in Riverside County. 53.8% of incumbent Sen. Melissa Melendez’s current district overlaps with the new 32nd, making it likely she would prevail in an election to represent this seat.

Moving to the coast, we have the new 38th Senate District. This mostly represents what we would consider outgoing Sen. Pat Bates’ district (currently the 36th). This new seat essentially moves southward along the coast, now ending just south of Mission Bay and encompassing the coast all the way up to San Clemente, before moving inland up to Mission Viejo. The current 36th district has a slight Rep registration edge (0.44%), while the new district favors the Democrats by a 4.92% registration. Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear is the notable San Diego candidate in the race. Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, who was considered a candidate for this district, is now in the new 36th District in Orange County, leaving Orange County businessman Matt Gunderson as the most notable Republican running for the seat.

The new 39th District (Toni Atkins) moves Southward and Eastward, picking up some portions of East County but retaining a “central San Diego” core. Atkins resides only a few blocks outside of the new 39th (currently living in the new 18th), leaving her technically district-less, but I don’t anticipate that issue going unresolved. The new 39th remains safely Democratic (D+ 22.46%).

Finally, the new 40th District is almost an entirely new district. It’s closest analogy would be the old 38th, represented by Sen. Brian Jones (R), who also resides in the new 40th district. The new 40th District stretches diagonally from the Northwest part of the county, into the Southeast, picking up portions of East County and Central San Diego, before moving northward into Escondido and some of the North County back-country areas. The current 38th district holds a 2.52% Republican advantage, while the new 40th holds a less comfortable 0.56% advantage. Fortunately for Jones, 73.8% of the new 40th overlaps with the old 38th, ensuring some built in familiarity among his new electorate. While there may be some ambitious Democratic elected officials who live in the district, I anticipate they may opt to wait four years when Jones is termed out and the environment may be more friendly.

State Assembly
While a good chunk of the new Assembly maps remain structurally similar, enough changes have been made to create a bit more drama, especially relative to the Congressional and Senate maps.

Beginning in the north, we have the new 74th Assembly District, which is split between San Diego and Orange Counties (54.6% and 45.4%, respectively). The district holds a slight GOP advantage of 0.4%. Assemblymember Laurie Davis (R), elected in 2020, currently just barely resides in the very northern portion of the district. It would seem likely she would run to represent this new district — however, the 72nd District, just a few miles north of her, is more favorably Republican (R+ 6.55%) and is currently represented by Cottie Petrie-Norris (D). In other words, Davies’ choice is to move slightly north (into the new 72nd) and run in a reliably Republican seat, possibly against a Democrat incumbent, or run in a swing district (the new 74th) against a presumably strong Democrat. If she opts for the former, the 74th would be a totally open seat.

East County’s new district is the 75th, which is reliably Republican, as expected (12.80%). However, both incumbents Marie Waldron (R) and Randy Voepel (R) live in the district (Waldron in Valley Center, Voepel in Santee). On the surface, Voepel would seemingly have the relative advantage (59.6% of the new 75th contains Voepel’s current 71st, compared to 18.9% of Waldron’s current 75th District); however, Waldron’s role as the Assembly Republican leader could provide her with more resources should the two face off. Also notable is that Waldron is termed out in 2024, while Voepel is termed out in 2028. In some circumstances, it may not make sense to wage an intra-party battle for Waldron to just retain only 2 years of additional service; however, Voepel may not also have an overwhelming desire to serve an entire two terms, especially if it requires an intra-party battle against a well-resourced opponent.

The new 76th district is another interesting scenario. Confusingly, the new 76th and 77th districts, while retaining somewhat similar geography, have switched numerically. The new 76th District is represented by Brian Maienschein (who represents the 77th currently). The 76th moves north relative to the current 77th, and now incorporates Escondido and San Marcos while retaining the I-15 corridor and Rancho Santa Fe. The current 77th has a Democratic registration advantage of 9.48%, while the new 76th has a Democrat advantage of only 5.38%, making this a somewhat competitive district this coming cycle, assuming the current political environment holds. Maienschein is of course well-resourced and well-known (although only about 35% of his current district overlaps the new 76th), but is now in a more conservative district with two cities (Escondido and San Marcos) which are home to stronger GOP candidates who are currently elected officials (Rebecca Jones, Ed Musgrove, Joe Garcia (who won a district with an +8% Dem advantage), and Tina Inscoe come to mind). Kristie Bruce-Lane, who has been running against Maienschein, has also been spending several months building out a campaign apparatus in a race that just got more competitive.

The new 77th is similar to the existing coastal 76th, except it becomes even moreso, hugging the coast all the way from Carlsbad all the way down to the border. The district would be represented by Tasha Boerner Horvath (D). Her current 76th district holds an 8.33% Dem advantage, while her new district would hold a 15.78% advantage, making her district much more comfortable and liberal.

The new 78th district sits in the central part of San Diego very much resembles what was the current 77th, but loses it’s northern portion and now stretches more toward the urban core, picking up Mission Valley, Linda Vista, North Park, and Hillcrest. Chris Ward (D) currently lives in the district and would presumably coast to re-election in this D+ 24.4% district.

The new 79th District moves northward and eastward, but also becomes more compressed and occupies the eastern portions of the City of San Diego, leaking all the way into El Cajon. Currently represented by Akilah Weber, the district becomes less Latino (as it loses its Chula Vista geography) and slightly more African-American and Asian. The district remains strongly Democrat with a 26.43% advantage.

Finally, the new 80th district creates an interesting scenario. Incumbent Lorena Gonalez-Fletcher now lives in the new 79th district; theoretically, she could move into the new district. However, it’s strongly rumored she will be taking a statewide labor job; in addition, her husband, Nathan Fletcher, needs to retain his current residence for his own political district. As a result, the new 80th is essentially an open seat. The new 80th has similarities to the old 80th; it mostly retains its northern structure, but gets fatter in the middle, picking up the Eastern portions of Chula Vista. Registration wise, it predictably remains a safe Democratic district with a registration advantage of 26.67%. There are strong rumors that San Diego Councilmember Vivian Moreno (D) may run for the seat, but it could also be tempting territory for elected officials from National City or Imperial Beach, or even someone like Ammar Campa-Najjar, who has declared a candidacy for Chula Vista Mayor but could opt for the higher office if he desires.


As always, please let me know if you have any questions. I am still waiting for availability on registration numbers for the County and City of SD, but will send out a similar update when I have those.

Mason Herron
President, Edgewater Strategies


Comments 7

  1. Richard Bailey can win the new 51st. He grew up there and Jacobs and “The Squad” are far too liberal for it.

  2. Solid. Some addition information from the OC side. Assemblywoman Davies is not moving and is running for re-election in the 74th. And Senator Melendez is facing term limits. It is unknown who will be running for that new seat that she would have run for if eligible.

  3. First thing that has to be acknowledge is this was nothing but a GERRYMANDER, as the classic drawing shows, but worst it was under the guise of the VRA.

    I think it has to be asked, and I’m not being flippant but has the SDGOP really done anything to reverse what happened in 2020. I think that was the worst election for the party since the 1800s. It was an embarrassment. William del Pilar has a great post about what the party is not doing and what it can and should. Honestly, have they expanded registration efforts, prepared for GOTV, door to door campaigning, and ballot harvesting, because if they haven’t I don’t see the point and we’ll continue to get shellacked.

    Democrats have flat out given Republicans every campaign issue. Increase crime and it’s effects, increased murders, The Weiner-Atkins gentrification bills, $5.00 gas, cost of living in California, not to mention the Biden inflation. We had good candidates last election and seem too for the up coming one but Republicans at the top of the ticket should not be losing Oceanside, Vista, Escondido, San Marcos just to name a few. Even with the joke districts Republicans should win at minimum three Assembly, two State senate and two Congressional districts.

  4. CA could experience a red wave in Nov 22 IF the gop changes their current game plan. Although it maybe too late with mailin ballots and lots of permanent residents and undocumented redidents voting.
    I cannot believe that every legal voter will not vote red once they know what the `R’ would do for CA instead of what the ‘D’ are doing.
    Didn’t the state flip from red to blue after Maldonado voted for the tax increase that the gop wanted.?

  5. Lee,

    Do you have any facts to back up your assertion that “lots of permanent residents and undocumented residents (are) voting”?

  6. Hypocrisy.
    facts? Just what I have heard and read and learned. But will do my research and post it.Sorry for all the typos, yikes!
    Is it not true that anyone (from anywhere) coming into California can get a driver license?
    Is it not true that one can also register to vote when completing the DMV application?
    EIP of California (Election Integrity Project is doing its due diligence to expose the fraud and the potential for fraud).
    ie CA does not clean up its voter rolls. ie We still receive mail-in ballots in our office for a guy who moved to Nevada way back in 2016.
    A state that wants voter integrity would certainly be cleaning up its voter registration list, right?
    With this latest move, permanent mail-in ballots mailed everywhere to anyone on their rolls, does not convince me CA wants voter integrity. capeesh?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.