There aren't too many closely divided states that employ independent redistricting commissions. But Arizona and Michigan are the high-stakes exceptions. And unlike in most states, where partisans end up maximizing safe seats and taking competitive ones off the table, Arizona is a rare state where competitiveness is written into the commission's criteria — potentially putting it at the epicenter of the 2022 battle for House control.
For the first decade since the 1950s, Arizona isn't gaining any new seats — a mild surprise when census results arrived. But the Independent Redistricting Commission is poised to drastically redraw the map anyway, posing risks to incumbents in both parties.
Republicans are zeroing in on two seats they hope to alter in their favor: Democratic Rep. Tom O'Halleran's sprawling Northern Arizona 1st CD, and the Tucson area 2nd CD, where Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick is retiring. Meanwhile, Democrats might have some upside in blue-trending Maricopa County, where suburban Phoenix GOP Reps. Dave Schweikert (AZ-06) and Debbie Lesko (AZ-08) could end up with more vulnerable districts.
Last week, the five-member commission — made up
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