This is the first year that the once-a-decade redistricting process was led by an independent citizens commission rather than state lawmakers themselves -- a change that is the result of a 2008 referendum. Unlike previous years, political scientists say the way citizens drew up districts will make it more difficult for incumbent and extremely partisan candidates to make it into office. For example, Democratic U.S. Reps. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman will now have to fight for one congressional seat because the commission squeezed them into the same district, according to the Times.
In other districts -- notably Los Angeles, Ventura and Riverside counties -- congressional seats could go to either Democrats or Republicans as both fight for control of the House of Representatives.
Political scientists also reportedly foresee fewer third-party candidates in the general election because of a 2010 voter-approved change that requires a single ballot for all candidates and only includes the top two winners from the primary on the November ballot.
The long-term effects of California’s new lines and new election rules, however, will take a few election years before real change is seen in the state or nation’s capital, political scientists and government watchdogs told the paper.
California has 153 congressional and legislative seats.