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23ABC looks at the new district lines in Kern County

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Posted at 10:29 PM, May 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-13 01:29:26-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Redistricting is the process of redrawing district lines based on data from the census.

The latest count was in 2020, so the upcoming primary election on June 7 will have new lines.

Kern County has nearly 440,000 registered voters, that’s according to the Kern County Elections Department. About 34% are registered Democrats, about 36% are registered Republicans, and about 20% have no party preference.

Even though the state as a whole lost a congressional seat, Kern County actually gained one.

“We're gaining a little bit of political power when it comes to state politics, and even when it comes to national politics. So, as you gain population you get a little bit more representation. That means that Kern County's interests and objectives and desires and everything we want is going to be a little bit more important in the national and statewide conversation,” said Allen Bolar, 23ABC Political Analyst.

Congressman Kevin McCarthy is running in District 20, which used to be the 23rd district.

It covers mostly Kern County, and parts of Tulare, Kings, and Fresno counties as well. About half of the voters in this district are in Kern County.

Data from the Secretary of State’s Office shows nearly half of the voters in the district are registered Republicans, a quarter are Democrats, and about 20% are independent. Experts explain that McCarthy is even more likely to keep his seat than before, thanks to the new lines.

“His district was always a safe district for him, even before the census, but now, with the census and the region redrawn lines his district gets a little bit more red,” said Ivy Cargile, 23ABC Political Analyst.

In District 22, which used to be District 21, David Valadao is the incumbent. Nearly two-thirds of the district's voters live in Kern, though the district also covers some of Kings and Tulare counties. He is up against Rudy Salas in the general election.

“That district in the old lines was already extremely competitive,” said Bolar.

By party affiliation, over 40% in this district are Democrats, about a quarter are Republican and another quarter have no party preference.

District 23 covers only a small part of the eastern side of the county, including California City, and leans slightly Republican.

At State Senate Districts, Kern used to have Districts 14 and 16. Districts 12 and 16 are part of Kern.

In District 12, about half of voters live in Kern, 28% are Democrats, almost 50% are Republican, and nearly 20% are Independent.

In District 16, most voters are in Kern. The breakdown by party is about 40% Democrats, over a quarter are Republican and a little under a quarter have no party preference.

Looking at State Assembly Districts, Kern used to have 26, 32, 34 and 36.

Now, it’s three districts: 32, 34, 35.

District 32 includes Kern and Tulare, with nearly half identifying as Republicans.

District 35 includes Kern, L.A. and San Bernadino, with nearly 40% Republicans, and about 30% Democrats.

District 35 is just Kern County with almost half of the voters being registered as Democrats.

Analysts said this election will set the tone for cycles and voting trends over the coming years.

“One of the things that has been happening in Kern County, traditionally, this is a very red county. One of the better ones in California, at least one of the reddest, you know, big counties in California. But it's been trending more purple over the last few cycles, so there's a couple things that I’m kind of interested in. Is that trend going to continue because Kern county has been demographically changing and been bringing in more Democratic voters, is that going to continue?”