The Republican Party was forecasted to gain seats in the House and Senate but the striking down of Dobbs v. Jackson, the landmark case that previously ensured a person’s right to abortion care, has made everything more unpredictable than it already was.
This is the first election with the new redistricted maps using the 2020 Census numbers. An unusual census count considering many Indigenous nations closed their communities to outsiders and tribal citizens who lived outside the community due to the pandemic. It made obtaining an accurate count more difficult to achieve. It is clear that once again, Indigenous communities were severely undercounted.
“In this cycle, there’s been a radical undercount of the Native American population and unfortunately, that just affects redistricting,” De León said. “When you’re drawing the maps, they use the census numbers.”
Redistricting has impacted the Native vote in states like New Mexico and South Dakota. Congressional and state legislative districts are redrawn every 10 years to give fair representation in Congress. However, gerrymandering or unfair voting systems (like the at-large system) can occur to impact the influence of the Native vote.
It has also affected Indigenous candidates running for office.
U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, Ho-Chunk, a Kansas Democrat, is in a more competitive district. The change is only slight, as noted by Jordan James Harvill, national program director for Advance Native Political Leadership.
“(Cook’s Political Report) has moved her partisan voter index from a plus two Democratic district to a plus one,” Harvill told ICT. “That’s not drastic and I don’t think it’s actually her biggest issue.”
The partisan voting index shows if a district leans Democratic or Republican compared to the rest of the country. In Davids’ district, it leans less blue, but Harvill said that’s not the problem for her.
Davids’ biggest issue is voter turnout during a midterm election year, which often sees lower voter turnout.
She needs to get as many of the 170,000 voters who voted for her in 2018 to head back to the polls during a midterm election. The year Davids was first elected, in 2018, brought record voter turnout, 53 percent of the citizen voting-age population. This percent is close to reaching a low voter turnout during a presidential election cycle.
The base of Republican voters who will come out and vote in every election for Kansas’ congressional district 3 is around 130,000. Historically, Democratic candidates were only getting about 90,000.
“When we’re trying to think about what turnout might be, it’s incredibly difficult to tell after a redistricting cycle,” Harvill said.
Redistricting, inflation, the Dobb’s decision and the president’s low approval rating all have impacts on the election.
In Kansas, voters came out to secure the right to access abortion care. The Cook’s Political Report has Davids’ district as a toss-up, meaning it could go either way. FiveThirtyEight has forecasted also as a toss-up but favoring Davids slightly.
“Sharice Davids is considered a game changer candidate for Victory Fund. She has an EMILY’s List endorsement,” Harvill said. EMILY’s List is the largest women’s political committee and resource in the nation. “She has a ton of institutional support and she is deeply competitive in her fundraising, which is really important right now. She’s going to need a lot of money in that district in order to keep turnout high.”
Davids is running against Republican Amanda Adkins. Adkins has been endorsed by other Republicans including U.S Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, and U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell, Cherokee, representing New Mexico’s congressional district 2.