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The number of competitive seats in the Legislature and in California's congressional delegation would jump significantly under draft maps released Friday, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California.

More competitive seats could give Democrats a better chance of securing the two-thirds legislative majority needed to raise state taxes in future years, which would require capturing two additional seats in both the Assembly and Senate.

Under tentative proposals by California's new redistricting commission, the number of competitive Assembly seats would rise from nine to 16; competitive state Senate seats, from three to nine; and competitive U.S. House of Representative seats, from four to nine, PPIC concluded.

No formula is considered foolproof in calculating the number of competitive seats. Analysts use different approaches and reach differing conclusions, serving as grist for lively debate.

PPIC defined a competitive seat as one that falls between a five-point registration advantage for Republicans and a 10-point advantage for Democrats, which it said reflects the fact that Democrats are more likely to cross party lines.

Democrats currently hold 52 of 80 seats in the Assembly; 25 of 40 seats in the state Senate, and 34 of 53 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The redistricting commission plans to hold public hearings statewide before fine-tuning its maps by July 7.



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