By SAM METZ AP / Report for America
CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — A new congressional district map introduced in Nevada on Tuesday proposes changes that could make the state’s two battleground districts more Democratic-leaning for the next decade.
The map — which legislative leaders said they plan to introduce in a yet-to-be-scheduled special session — peels off parts of the state’s most safely Democratic district and adds Democratic voters to the two districts that have traded hands between the parties in the past.
The proposal could aid Democrats in efforts to defend their nine-seat majority in the U.S. House of Representatives and decrease the amount of campaign funds that parties have previously funneled to competitive Las Vegas-area districts.
It would expand southward Nevada’s rectangular 1st Congressional District, a blue-leaning, urban swath of Las Vegas that Rep. Dina Titus won by 28.4 percentage points last year. In exchange, it would incorporate parts of its former area into the state’s competitive 3rd and 4th districts.
Democrats and Republicans have both won and lost those seats over the past decade, which have at times been among the country’s most expensive and competitive contests. Democratic Reps. Steven Horsford and Susie Lee both appear on the list of 70 House Democrats the National Republican Congressional Committee intends to target in 2022.
The proposal swaps parts of southwest Las Vegas in Titus’ district with Henderson and Boulder City in Lee’s. Horsford’s would reach further toward the center of Las Vegas in exchange for areas on the Arizona line.
Democrats hold a 1.9 percentage-point advantage in Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District and 7.8 percentage-point advantage in the 4th Congressional District. The battlegrounds have hundreds of thousands of voters registered as nonpartisan.
The proposed map — which relies on approval by the Democratic-controlled Legislature and Gov. Steve Sisolak — expands Democrats’ advantage over Republicans to 8.2 percentage points in Nevada’s 3rd District and 13.4 percentage points in the state’s 4th District.
The maps were submitted on Tuesday to the Legislature’s website jointly by Democratic leaders of the state Senate and Assembly, indicating Nevada may not confront the kind of infighting between the two chambers that has plagued other statehouses during redistricting, at least in public.
Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson and Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro in a joint statement said their proposed maps kept cities as well as racial and ethnic communities together and accounted for how the diversifying state has grown rapidly.
“Reflecting Nevada’s increasing racial and ethnic diversity, these maps strive to both protect and expand the voting power of African-American and Hispanic Nevadans while increasing opportunities for representation for Nevada’s emergent and growing (Asian American and Pacific Islander) population over the coming decade,” they said.
This version corrects that the congressional map proposed by legislative leaders would expand Democrats’ advantage over Republicans to 8.2 and 13.4 percentage points in Nevada’s 3rd and 4th districts, not by 8.2 and 13.4 percentage points.
Metz is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.