OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The new map puts all of Douglas County, which leans Democratic, while also adding Saunders County, which votes Republican.
It also cuts Sarpy County in roughly half by geography, cutting across portions of 156th and 168th Streets to the west, and down Schram Road to the south, putting residents in cities like Papillion, La Vista and Bellevue in District 1.
“I think it’s pretty consistent with what we saw 10 years ago and pretty consistent with what Republicans would do in any given state in the United States,” said Randall Adkins, a political science professor at UNO.
Adkins says Republicans managed to rid District 2 of some Democratic voting residents in Sarpy County, and instead, added Republican voters in Saunders County.
He says it’s similar to what they did when they redistricted 10 years ago.
“It doesn’t make the 2nd District unwinnable for a Democratic candidate. It just makes the bar a little bit higher to get over,” said Adkins.
The numbers back it up. Voter registration data shows Douglas County is split with 37% Democrats and 35% Republicans.
In Saunders county, it’s 59% Republican, with just 21% of Democrats.
National experts seem to agree with Adkins.
The website Five Thirty-Eight is tracking every state’s redistricting and says the proposed Nebraska map gives Republicans a three-point advantage in District 2, compared to a dead heat with the last map.
The same Five Thirty-Eight analysis shows the 1st Congressional District is getting slightly more competitive, going from a 21 percentage point advantage for Republicans, to 17 points.
J. Miles Coleman, Associate Editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia, said on Twitter that Joe Biden still would have won District 2 with this new map, just by fewer points.
Adkins says Republicans ultimately got a map they can keep all three seats with.
“It’s designed in Nebraska to be a political process, even though we have a nonpartisan legislature, so politics ends up creeping into it. And so the majority party is going to typically end up winning on this and that’s what happened here,” said Adkins.
The Legislature still needs to pass the congressional map, along with the five other redistricted maps two more times, before Governor Pete Ricketts can sign them into law.