Big local changes in the new political maps of the state

The political landscape of Tulare, Kings and Fresno counties takes on an entirely new aspect and this could lead to changes in seismic influence throughout the region.

After months of work, the 2020 California Citizens Redistricting Committee released the final map of the state’s new polling districts reflecting the result of the 2020 U.S. Census count. For the first time, California has seen its population decline and lose a seat in the US Congress.

Visalia to see all the new faces

The most radical among the local changes is the division of the main population centers of Visalia and Tulare into separate districts for not only representation in Congress, but also at the state level in the Assembly and the Senate. The practical result of this rearrangement is that Visalia will have to choose a whole new set of representatives in the next general election, as the city will no longer be represented by MP Devon Mathis (R-Porterville), State Senator Shannon Grove (R -Bakersfield) and especially by Congressman Devin Nunes (R-Tulare).

Nunes shocked his constituents in December by announcing his effective resignation at the end of 2020, however, his former 22nd Congressional District will no longer include Visalia. The northern part of Visalia will be represented by the CD21 dominated by Fresno, while the main part of the city will fall into the largely rural CD20.

CD21 includes the towns of Sanger, Farmersville, Fowler, Exeter, Parlier, Selma, Dinuba, Woodlake, Kingsberg, Reedley and Orange Cove, as well as parts of southern Fresno and northern Visalia. All of the districts have been redesigned to create a precisely balanced population – each of the state’s 52 congressional districts contains exactly 760,066 people, plus or minus one person – as well as to attempt to preserve the ethnic population groups required by the Section 2 of the Federal Voting Rights Act 1965. The district contains portions of all of the valley’s major transportation routes, including highways 99, 198, 168, 41 and 180.

More congressional mixing

CD20 will house the majority of the citizens of Visalia, who will share this neighborhood with all of Clovis, Lemoore, Maricopa, Ridgecrest, Taft and Tehachapi, and parts of Fresno, Hanford, Tulare and Bakersfield. The commission identified the region as having common living conditions and political objectives.

The redesigned 20th Congressional District has been awarded to Parliamentary Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. The district is Republican-heavy, with a 31-point advantage for the GOP.

CD22’s new card completes the redistribution of congressional influence. Also designed to comply with the requirements of the Community Voting Rights Act, CD22 includes parts of the counties of Tulare, Kings and Kern, including the towns of Arvin, Avenal, Corcoran, Delano, Lindsay, McFarland, Porterville, Shafter and Wasco . Portions of Tulare, Hanford and Bakersfield are also included.

However, several months remain before the midterm elections which will see the changed political maps come into play. This means that a special election must be held to select a replacement for Nunes using the old district. Among the candidates already in the running are two-time Democratic candidate Phil Arballo and independent candidate Eric Garcia. Democrat Lourin Hubbard also ran for office.

Potential GOP candidates to replace Nunes include Fresno County Supervisor Nathan Magsig, Sen. Andreas Borgeas and Elizabeth Heng. Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux is also mentioned as a potential candidate.

Separation of the Senate from the State

Visalia finds itself divided again on the new map of California Senate Districts, where the city will find the majority of its residents represented in Senate District 12, while the rest, as well as most of Tulare and all of Hanford, will fall. in SD16.

According to the Redistricting Committee, SD12 was designed to “nest” Districts 8 and 32 of the State Assembly. SD12 includes portions of Fresno, Kern, and Tulare counties, encompassing the entire city of California, Clovis, Exeter, Maricopa, Ridgecrest, Taft, and Tahachapi. . It also includes parts of Bakersfield, Fresno, Shafter, and Tulare.

While SD12 contains the largest population center in Tulare County, it spans the eastern foothills and mountain communities of the Sierra, and is intended to connect the two areas under one representative.

SD16 is another nesting district which includes almost all of AD33 and AD35. It includes all of Kings County and parts of Fresno, Kern and Tulare counties, encompassing the towns of Arvin, Avenal, Corcoran, Delano, Dinuba, Farmersville, Hanford, Kingsberg, Lemoore, Lindsay, McFarland, Porterville, Wasco and Woodlake. It also covers portions of Bakersfield, Shafter, Tulare, and Visalia.

Mixture of the Lower House

Radical map changes continue at the state assembly level, where the huge Assembly District 26, which stretches from west Visalia to the Nevada border, will no longer be.

Instead, the area will be split between AD32, AD33, and AD35, which are all much smaller than AD26.

AD33 will be home to Porterville, where State MP Devon Mathis currently resides and where he will need to run to retain his legislative seat. This still important district includes parts of Tulare and Kern counties, and is home to the towns of Farmersville, Kingsburg, Lemoore, Tulare, Woodlake, Avenal, Corcoran, Lindsay, Dinuba and Hanford, and parts of Visalia and Reedley.

Joining the majority of Visalia in AD32 will be all of Exeter, Ridgecrest, Tehachapi, Maricopa and Taft, and parts of Bakersfield. AD35 includes part of Kern County, including the towns of McFarland, Shafter, Arvin and Delano, and part of Bakersfield.

The old eastern portion of AD26 will be included in AD8, which extends north of Inyo County to southeast of Sacramento.

One last map to draw

The publication of the new maps of the political borders of the state on December 27 leaves only one final task of local redistribution to be accomplished, the redistribution of the districts of the municipal council of Visalia. Tulare County and the remaining towns of Tulare, Kings, Fresno and Kern counties completed their redistribution efforts late last year.

In Visalia, an apparent problem in the transfer of data left the city without a digital means to draw draft maps, which resulted in frustration and a prolonged delay for the adoption of adjusted limits. The next redistribution hearing before the Visalia city council is scheduled for Tuesday January 10 at 7:30 p.m.

While the hearing scheduled for next week was supposed to be the last before the council vote, two more hearings will be held given the extension of the deadline. These will take place on Monday February 2 and Tuesday February 22. Both hearings will be held at 7:30 pm in the City Council Chamber, 707 W. Acequia Avenue.

The final card could be selected at the February 22 meeting. The deadline for submitting cards to the Secretary of State is April 17.

The city will host a mapping workshop at 10 am on Saturday, January 15 at City Hall, 707 W. Acequia Avenue. City staff will also be on hand to answer questions about mapping in the lobby at upcoming council meetings, and assistance is available during regular business hours by calling (559) 713-4358.

The deadline for submitting a draft map of Visalia council districts is Thursday, January 20 at 5 p.m.

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