The heavily partisan process of redrawing congressional districts ahead of the 2022 elections has resulted in a drop in competitive seats nationwide as the parties in power draw lines to protect their incumbents. But California will stand as a notable exception as the final maps drawn by an independent commission are expected to yield at least seven -- and as many as 10 competitive seats -- as well as a wild scramble for current House members to figure out what districts they will run in. CNN spoke to more than a dozen political strategists, redistricting experts and campaign aides from both parties as California's congressional maps were being revised and refined over the past few weeks to gather their perspectives on how the state's most competitive races are shaping up.
The Golden State's redistricting commission approved final maps late Monday night, drawing a total of 52 districts -- one fewer than in the past because of slower population growth. Overall the map still favors Democrats, who hold 42 of the state's current congressional seats, compared to 11 held by Republicans. But Republicans are bullish about their prospects for pickups in 2022 because of the difficult political climate Democrats are facing. In 2020, Republicans flipped four of the state's congressional districts, including the special election win of GOP Rep. Mike Garcia in the 25th District, which covers portions of northern Los Angeles County and is anchored by Santa Clarita.