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SLO County gets split up in state redistricting

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The California Citizens Redistricting Commission wrapped up its work on Dec. 20, making major changes to how San Luis Obispo County will be represented in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., for the next decade.

New state Senate, state Assembly, and congressional district boundaries split SLO County into multiple districts—an outcome that locals had hoped to avoid after the 2010 lines kept SLO County together.

REDRAWN The Central Coast’s congressional districts (pictured) are rearranged as a result of redistricting: Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara)’s 24th District shifts south, splitting San Luis Obispo County into two House seats, with Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-Carmel Valley) representing part of North County in the 19th District. - MAP COURTESY OF WE DRAW THE LINES
  • Map Courtesy Of We Draw The Lines
  • REDRAWN The Central Coast’s congressional districts (pictured) are rearranged as a result of redistricting: Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara)’s 24th District shifts south, splitting San Luis Obispo County into two House seats, with Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-Carmel Valley) representing part of North County in the 19th District.

Moving forward, in Congress, U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal's (D-Santa Barbara) 24th District will shift to the south, splitting SLO County along a horizontal border just south of Atascadero and Cambria.

That change will put the majority of North County in the 19th District, which is currently represented by U.S. Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-Carmel Valley).

Panetta's district will also change as a result of redistricting. It drops the Salinas Valley and San Benito County and morphs into a mostly coastal district that creeps into the Bay Area, picking up part of San Jose.

The redistricting commission assigned North SLO County the 19th District instead of the 18th District—which will cover San Benito County and the Salinas Valley down south to the Monterey County/SLO County border (but not the coastline).

In a statement to New Times about his new district, Carbajal said he respected the commission's work and promised to "keep working on issues important to [SLO County] for as long as I am in Congress."

"With the district being redrawn, I will work closely with my colleague U.S. Rep. Panetta to ensure all of SLO County continues to be well-represented in Congress," Carbajal said in the statement.

SLO County will also be split into multiple state Legislature districts. The biggest shake-up is in the Assembly, where Assemblymember Jordan Cunningham's (R-SLO) 35th District is dramatically redrawn and renamed the 30th District.

According to the new Assembly map, Cunningham loses Nipomo and all of northern Santa Barbara County, and picks up a long, narrow stretch of coastal Monterey County and Santa Cruz County, from Big Sur to Capitola. Nipomo joins the new 37th District, which predominantly covers Santa Barbara County.

Experts say that the new lines make Cunningham vulnerable to a Democratic challenger. His last election opponent, Dawn Addis, a Democrat and Morro Bay City Council member, has already announced her 2022 candidacy. Cunningham's office did not return a request for comment before press time.

"Cunningham's district would become a lot more Democratic," Cal Poly Political Science professor Michael Latner told New Times. "One of the things we're seeing in California, for sure, is less incumbent protection. It looks like a lot more incumbents are in trouble."

In the state Senate, most of SLO County will continue to be in the 17th District, represented by state Sen. John Laird (D-Santa Cruz). But as Laird's district expands to the north, it sheds the southeastern region of SLO County.

State Sen. Monique Limón (D-Goleta) and the 21st District pick up that territory, which includes Nipomo and rural communities like the California Valley. Δ

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