New Hampshire has two congressional district. This means that every ten years, state legislators must draw a line between them.
This line has remained the same for 140 years.
"I heard someone say that the original districts have remained pretty much the same since 1800s when we moved stuff around the state by steam train and horse and wagon and riverboats," Steven Smith, a state representative and deputy House speaker, told colleagues recently.
The Republican called on lawmakers to destroy the current state map.
He said, "Every 10 years it's the responsibility of the legislature to create a plan." We can tweak the plan a bit to make it more acceptable. To come up with a plan that makes good sense today."
A map was passed by the GOP-led legislature to drastically redraw the districts. The plan was thwarted by a Republican colleague.
GOP legislators in New Hampshire wanted to boost Republicans in the 1st district, which covers the eastern part of the state, and give Democrats a boost for the 2nd district, which borders Vermont to its west.
It also placed two U.S. senators aEUR” both Democrats into the same district.
This year, these types of political calculations were made throughout the country during redistricting. Republicans and Democrats either tried to retake their districts or try to expel the other party.
This has led to a decrease in the number districts that are considered competitive nationally.
Party leaders in New Hampshire openly discussed their desire to draw a GOP friendly seat after they have won control of the legislature in 2020. Republican Gov. When he vetoed last month's map, Chris Sununu defied national trends.
Sununu told reporters recently that "I made it quite clear, and they didn’t want to follow that advice. And I don’t think my veto over any of these maps shocked them."
The three-term governor spoke openly for months about the need for a map to pass what he called a "smell testing." Sununu wanted both districts to be competitive.
He stated, "I believe Republicans can win both congressional district," "In fact, I am very confident that Republicans will win both congressional districts," he said.
Sununu is positive about a GOP wave in November. However, Republicans have not won the 2nd District since 2006.
The 1st district, currently held by Democrat Chris Pappas has been a swing district for almost two decades. A small increase in GOP voters could have helped Pappas' chances of reelection.
Like many Democrats, he has criticised the state legislature's processes.
After submitting his paperwork for reelection, Pappas stated that "what we saw in the legislature didn't reflect the New Hampshire way of doing things." Politics influenced legislators at every stage of the process. They wanted to create a district in which it was certain that one party would win.
Sununu's veto officially ended the political process and was replaced by a legal one. The New Hampshire Supreme Court intervened and approved, just a day before the deadline for candidate filings, a politically neutral map that was drawn by an expert outside.
The 2010 map is only slightly altered. Five small towns are moved to balance out the district population.
This entire process took place inside the capitol for several weeks.
It barely registers in Jackson, one of the towns eventually redistricted in the idyllic White Mountains. Margaret Graciano, a former coffee shop owner, said that she was unaware of redistricting but felt okay about it.
Tom Seidel, her husband liked the fact that the map was not tilted. He noted that he preferred "the idea of potentially having 2 purple districts rather than 1 blue and 1 red district."
Other political analysts have also predicted the races to be competitive, including the nonpartisan Cook Political Report which has designated both districts as toss ups.