Of the 435 districts that constitute the chamber, 242 tilt toward Republicans while 185 favor Democrats (another eight are evenly divided). In November, Mitt Romney – despite getting shellacked nationally – won 21 more congressional districts than President Barack Obama.
It’s for that reason that Democrats, who are 17 seats shy of the majority, start out the midterm season at risk of losing ground. While there are 15 Democrats residing in GOP-tilting districts, only four Republicans are in Democratic-friendly ones. And the Cook Political Report lists 37 Democratic-held seats as being competitive, compared to just 28 Republican ones.
Redistricting is the single biggest factor driving the GOP’s congressional power. When the process came to an end last year, 109 Republican seats were made safer as opposed to 67 Democratic seats. And 109 Democrat seats became more competitive, compared to just 96 Republicans.
We saw this same thing just now in Texas. Despite crying on the national stage about not getting a federal bailout for a private company that killed over a dozen people thanks to lax regulation and oversight, the Texas Legislature didn’t take a special session to focus on solutions to that problem…oh no*…they’re spending the special session trying to get biased re-districting maps passed (and restrict women’s rights, since that’s a big GOP priority).
* “Gov. Rick Perry has told The Associated Press he is comfortable with the current oversight, and doesn’t believe spending more money on inspections could prevent an explosion such as the one that occurred in West.”