Redistricting could jeopardize House Speaker John Boehner’s chances of passing a debt-limit bill with only Republican support.
According to a Fix review, Boehner’s plan could lose support from as many as 10 or more Republican members of Congress thanks to redistricting. That’s because those members may face matchups with fellow Republican incumbents in primaries next year, and voting for the bill could allow their opponents to get to their right on the debt issue.
Many of their states have yet to complete the redistricting process. But given how protective members are of their political futures and the large number of those who could be adversely affected, the uncertainty makes them that much more hesitant to support the speaker.
In California and New York alone, more than a dozen Republicans may wind up facing off with fellow GOP members, depending on how the maps shake out.
This is not to say that all — or even most — of these members will vote against the bill in the end. Indeed, some have already given their support. But many of them will have to at least think twice, and a few have announced their opposition.
One of the potential matchups in California is between Reps. John Campbell (R) and Dana Rohrabacher (R). While Rohrabacher is a “yes,” Campbell remains opposed for now.
“As of last night, Congressman Campbell was a ‘no’ on the speaker’s plan, because the version we have seen does not include enough deficit reduction,” Campbell spokesman Chris Bognanno said. “But we are now waiting to review the details of the revised bill.”
Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), who could face a primary with Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.), has come out against the bill. This morning he earned an all-important endorsement from the Club for Growth, which opposes the deal and is a powerful player in Republican primaries.
Rep. Jeff Landry (R-La.) is withholding his support, too, as he faces a likely matchup with Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.).
Excluding Campbell, Walsh and Landry, 10 House Republicans oppose the plan and 10 lean toward opposing it, according to a handy whip list compiled by The Washington Post’s Felicia Sonmez and Paul Kane. Adding just three members to that list would bring the number of “yes” votes below the 218 threshold needed for the bill to pass with only Republican votes.
Along with California and New York, most of the member-versus-member matchups are likely to occur in Illinois, Louisiana and Ohio.
The redistricting process is basically finished in Illinois and Louisiana, but members in other states don’t yet know what their new districts will look like.
New York is losing two congressional seats to reapportionment, and five upstate New York Republicans have all been mentioned as having their districts merged. All five may be rightly afraid of supporting the Boehner bill (though one source inside the New York delegation said that everyone is expected to vote “yes” and Reps. Richard Hanna and Chris Gibson are for the bill).
In California, the new Citizens Redistricting Commission, in its first draft, drew three sets of GOP incumbents into the same districts. Another draft, set to be released this week, could cause even more GOP lawmakers heartburn.
In Ohio, however, GOP Reps. Bob Gibbs and Bill Johnson, who come from Boehner’s delegation, are both “yes” votes, even though they could be drawn into the same district. (For them, voting “no” could be even worse than “yes,” given Boehner’s power to affect the redistricting process in his home state.)
A list of House Republican members who have something to be concerned about:
Rep. Ed Royce
Rep. Elton Gallegly
Rep. Buck McKeon
Rep. Jerry Lewis
Rep. David Dreier
Rep. Gary Miller
Rep. Adam Kinzinger
Rep. Don Manzullo
Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle
Rep. Tom Reed
Rep. Nan Hayworth