After GOP efforts sputter, court adopts New Hampshire map making minor changes

Granite State is last to finish redistricting

Rep. Ann McLane Kuster, D-N.H., could have faced a primary with fellow Democratic Rep. Chris Pappas under a map the Republican-controlled legislature sought to enact. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Rep. Ann McLane Kuster, D-N.H., could have faced a primary with fellow Democratic Rep. Chris Pappas under a map the Republican-controlled legislature sought to enact. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted May 31, 2022 at 3:23pm

New Hampshire became the last state to adopt a redistricting plan Tuesday when its Supreme Court approved a plan to shift a handful of small towns between the state’s two districts. The plan was proposed by a special master, Stanford University law professor Nathaniel Persily, after the state’s Republican-led legislature and governor could not reach an agreement.

Candidate filing begins in the state Wednesday ahead of a September primary.

GOP Gov. Chris Sununu vetoed two bills passed by the Republican-led legislature that would have more significantly changed the state’s two districts, including one that would have resulted in incumbent Democratic Reps. Ann McLane Kuster and Chris Pappas living in the same district.

The state Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the special master’s proposed map Tuesday morning, and said it was “undisputed” that elected officials were at an impasse on drawing a map. In appointing a special master on May 12, the court directed he draw a map that provided the “least change” to the current alignment.

Persily’s plan would have one more person in the 2nd District than in the 1st, under the 2020 census levels. Both seats could be competitive this fall, although the 1st District could be tougher for Democrats than the 2nd, where Kuster is in her fifth term. 

“Republicans in the legislature made a mockery out of the redistricting process as they sought to skew lines to their political advantage and silence voters of all parties in both districts,” Pappas, a two-term incumbent, said. “With today's announcement from the court, the district lines have finally been settled in a fair manner.”