State commission finalizes maps for Congress, Assembly

Central Valley gets congressional map shake-up, Tulare County comprised of two state senate districts down from three

CALIFORNIA – The 2020 California Citizens Redistricting Commission handed off the completed and approved final maps for congressional, state assembly and state senate districts to Secretary of State Dr. Shirley Weber Monday morning, defining the political boundaries of the golden state for the next 10 years.

Incumbents will serve out the remainder of their terms in the districts they were elected to under. The new maps will serve as the political boundaries for the upcoming 2022 election cycle and beyond.

California’s congressional map got a big shake-up in the Central Valley, highlighted by longtime valley congressman Devin Nunes (R-Tulare) announcing his resignation from Congress effective at the end of the year, to run former President Donald Trump’s new media company. Polling experts, FiveThirtyEight politics, had Nunes’ current district at an R+11 partisan lean—meaning it was 11% more Republican than the nation as a whole—and the new district he would have run in is at a D+16, signaling a huge partisan swing.

Tulare County residents had pleaded with the redistricting commission to keep Fresno out of their congressional district, but that did not come to pass. The “Say no to Socialism” Devin Nunes political signs that line Highway 99 in Tulare County will have some competition from the blue wave of the county’s northern neighbor.

The final congressional map splits Tulare County into three different districts. The 20th District takes the southern half of Visalia, northeastern Tulare, up through Three Rivers and a significant bite out of eastern Fresno and Clovis, and all the way down into Bakersfield.

The 21st District puts northern Visalia, Goshen, Woodlake, Dinuba, East Orosi and the other unincorporated north county areas in with western Fresno.

The 22nd District puts the rest of Tulare in with Porterville and the south county unincorporated areas with Shafter and eastern Bakersfield.

State Assembly

In the state assembly, Tulare County is currently split between two districts: the 26th District, currently represented by Devon Mathis (R-Porterville), which encompasses most of Tulare County, and the 23rd District, currently represented by Jim Patterson (R-Fresno), which grabs the northeastern edge of the county with Three Rivers.

The state redistricting commission has kept Tulare County split between two state Assembly Districts, but the makeup has changed significantly. The 33rd District will take Porterville, Tulare, Woodlake, Dinuba and the northern and southern unincorporated areas of Tulare County and joined them with Kings County to the west, all the way out to Avenal. The map will make military members and families at the Naval Air Station, Lemoore incumbent Devon Mathis’ constituents, a political boon for the first millennial, purple heart combat veteran elected to state office in the country.

The 32nd District will grab almost all of Visalia, move through Exeter and sweep through Three Rivers and the mountain areas down and around into Bakersfield. Fresno is not in either of the new Tulare County assembly districts.

State Senate

In the state senate, Tulare County is currently represented in three districts: District 8 carving out Three Rivers and much of Tulare County’s mountain communities, currently held by Andreas Borgeas; District 16, which bundles Visalia, Tulare and Exeter in with Bakersfield and the southern Sequoia mountain communities, currently held by Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield); and District 14, its northernmost point in Fresno, swooping down through Hanford, Porterville and all the way into the Bakersfield area, currently held by Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger).

The new maps consolidate Tulare County into two districts. The 12th District puts Visalia, Goshen northeastern Tulare and Exeter in with Three Rivers and the mountain communities, and swings down through Tehachapi and into northwestern Bakersfield.

The 16th District is comprised of the rest of Tulare, Woodlake, Dinuba, Porterville and the north and south county unincorporated areas, and pushes into Kings County out to Avenal.

In accordance with the California Constitution, the commission followed these criteria, in this order, to draw district maps:

1. Districts must be of equal population to comply with the U.S. Constitution.

2. Districts must comply with the Voting Rights Act to ensure that minorities have an equal opportunity to elect representatives of their choice.

3. Districts must be drawn contiguously, so that all parts of the district are connected to each other.

4. Districts must be drawn to minimize the division of cities, counties, neighborhoods and communities of interest to the extent possible.

5. Districts should be geographically compact, such that nearby areas of population are not bypassed for a more distant population. This requirement refers to density, not shape. Census blocks cannot be split.

6. Where practicable each Senate district should be comprised of two complete and adjacent Assembly districts, and Board of Equalization districts should be comprised of 10 complete and adjacent State Senate districts.

View the final maps at www.wedrawthelinesca.org/final_maps.

This article was updated Dec. 29 at 10:45 a.m. to correct a mistake. The article previously said the new 21st District stretched all the way up past El Dorado Hills near Sacramento. The new 21st District’s northern border only extends to northwestern Fresno. 

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