It’s official – Alabama has a new congressional map. After the United States Supreme Court struck down the state’s previous congressional map, the state’s replacement map was once again rejected by federal courts. This left the process up to the judicial system. Special masters were assigned to oversee the process, and they devised three remedial plans to choose from.
Under today’s District Court order, Remedial Plan 3 was selected as the new congressional map. The finalized map creates two seats where black voters make up a majority or plurality of voters. This will likely result in a Democratic pickup in the state.
Like under the previous Alabama congressional map, the 7th district remains a Democratic stronghold. It voted for Joe Biden by 29 percentage points in 2020. We have it rated as Safe Democratic.
The new 2nd district, which stretches from part of Mobile to the Georgia border, is also one Democrats are favored in. However, it’s not nearly as sure of a bet. While Biden carried the seat by 13 percentage points, it only voted for Democratic Senate candidate Will Boyd by 0.5% in 2022. In her re-election campaign, Republican Governor Kay Ivey actually carried the seat by 1.5%. It was competitive in every other statewide race that cycle.
We believe Democrats are favored here, but we don’t think a Democratic victory is guaranteed. While black turnout in 2022 was unusually low, there are strong indications that Biden is struggling by Democratic standards with black and minority voters. If turnout remains lower in 2024, it’s possible this seat could be competitive. We’re rating it as Likely Democratic.
Every other district in the state is Safe Republican. Republicans Barry Moore and Jerry Carl were forced into the same district, the 1st, and will likely be facing each other in a primary. Jerry Carl holds an advantage here, as he currently represents around 60% of voters in the new 1st district.
The national picture
With Alabama’s map solidified, only one state – North Carolina – remains set to redraw districts. The state’s Republican-dominated Supreme Court struck down a prior ruling that restricted gerrymandering earlier this year. North Carolina Republicans, who began the process last week, are expected to draw an aggressive gerrymander. We anticipate that this redraw will will shift the state’s current 7-7 map into one likely to elect 10 or 11 Republicans. This means we expect a net gain of three or four Republicans from North Carolina.
We are also keeping an eye on pending redistricting litigation in a handful of other states, specifically, Louisiana, New Mexico, New York, and South Carolina. If any of these states are forced to redraw, there could be major implications for the 2024 cycle.
If our North Carolina expectations hold, that means Republicans would need to win either seven or eight of Tossup districts in order to retain a mathematical majority in the House. However, as established through the unprecedented removal of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, they’d likely need a far greater majority to be able to govern.