New Congressional District Maps Show Slight Change, Bilbray’s Seat May Be at Stake

Proposed congressional district maps released Friday may have a slight impact on San Diego’s delegation, according to two political consultants.

The first set of political maps—which were drafted by the 14-member California Citizens Redistricting Commission—show shifts for the five districts in the San Diego region with one district that could be majorly affected.

The districts that are currently represented by Reps. Darrell Issa, Duncan Hunter, Bob Filner and Susan Davis show slight shifts but it’s the district of Brian Bilbray’s that is one of a few with a larger shift and could toss the seat to a Democrat.

Bilbray, a Republican who has served for the 50th district for five years, would see his district shift down the coast, to the city of San Diego and to Poway.

“This is not good for him,” said Democrat political consultant Chris Crotty. “He’s going to have to change his tune, which will not be a problem for him because he’s done it several times.” 

But Republican political consultant John Dadian said though Bilbray’s district does show a significant change compared to the other four districts—Bilbray’s advantage as an incumbent and longtime elected leader will help him maintain a congressional seat.

Republican Issa’s district would also gain areas in southern Orange County, but lose southern Riverside County. Republican Hunter’s traditionally East County district would, if the maps are approved, become more inland North County-oriented.

Among the Democrats, Davis would lose all her coastal neighborhoods and be placed in Mission Valley and central San Diego. The South Bay district long held by Bob Filner, who is stepping down to run for mayor of San Diego, would have a sliver of the southern coastline, the border, and all of Imperial County.

Overall, Dadian believe the first draft of the maps show the commissioners—which was established after it was passed by voters in 2008 and is a change from lawmakers drafting districts—did their job well.

“They are all pretty compact,” said Republican political consultant John Dadian. “It’s used as an intention to keep communities together. Do these pass the smell test? They look like they do. There isn’t any indication of gerrymandering.”

Crotty agreed.

“It does a good job of compacting populations and bringing together communities of interest,” Crotty said. “The maps are fairly reasonable.”

The Commission is scheduled to meet until the end of July with a June 20th meeting in San Diego and are required to submit final maps by Aug. 15.

See the video for more. To see the new maps, visit the Commission’s website at Wedrawthelines.ca.gov

Bilbray’s office did not respond to a message seeking comment. City News Service contributed to this report.