Most residents in the Midpeninsula won't see a dramatic difference when California officially adopts new boundaries for state Senate, state Assembly and Congressional districts.
Under the maps that the state's bipartisan 2020 California Redistricting Commission approved on Monday, most Peninsula districts will remain similar to what they look like today, with some notable exceptions in central and southern Santa Clara County. San Jose will now be split among four congressional districts, a division that has been criticized by Mayor Sam Liccardo and others. And the cities of Campbell and Saratoga would now be included in Assembly and Senate districts that are represented by Assembly member Marc Berman and state Sen. Josh Becker and that are otherwise dominated by San Mateo County communities.
Berman, D-Menlo Park, will largely retain his current district, which includes much of San Mateo County and northern Santa Clara County, including Palo Alto and Mountain View. But the shift in the district's eastern border could have significant political ramifications. With his district picking up territory in central Santa Clara County, Berman may also inherit a tough new challenger in next year's election: Assembly member Evan Low, whose hometown of Campbell is now in Berman's district. Unlike with Congressional seats, state representatives are required to live in the districts they represent.
Unlike Berman, Low would see a dramatic difference between his current district and his new one. Low, who was first elected to the Assembly in 2014, currently represents the 28th District, which includes Campbell, Los Gatos, Cupertino, Saratoga, Monte Sereno and portions of west San Jose, including the Willow Glen and Cambrian neighborhoods.
Berman said in a statement that he plans to talk to Low before making any announcements about his plans.
"I love my job serving my constituents in northern Santa Clara County, Southern San Mateo County, and the Coastside," Berman said. "I also have the utmost respect for my colleague and good personal friend, Evan Low."
On Thursday, Berman and Low injected some levity into the conversation about their potential Election Day showdown by posting a TikTok video in which they appear ready to fight. The video begins with a caption "There's only one way to settle a fight" and Low and Berman holding up their fists, before shifting to footage of them pummeling each other with pillows.
"I've got my eyes on you, @Marc_Berman," Low tweeted with the video.
"Bring it on @Evan_Low! You're lucky those were down pillows," Berman responded in his own tweet.
When it comes to new Congressional and state Senate districts, the shift on the Midpeninsula will be relatively subtle. Under the newly approved map, cities in the area will remain divided into two Congressional districts much like they do today. On the west will be District 16, which includes most of the cities that are currently represented by Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto. This new congressional district – a modified version of what today is known as District 18 — will continue to include the western portion of San Mateo County, including the cities of Woodside, Atherton and Portola Valley, and a large share of Santa Clara County, including Palo Alto, Mountain View, Saratoga, Los Gatos and Campbell. The district will not, however, include the nearby cities of Cupertino and Sunnyvale, which would now be grouped together with Santa Clara, Newark and Milpitas as part of District 21.
Unlike today, the new Congressional district will extend northwest to also include communities along the San Mateo County coast, including Half Moon Bay, El Granada and Lobitos.
The other Peninsula district, which will now be known as District 15, would include most of the cities fronting the San Francisco Bay, including Belmont, Burlingame, Millbrae, San Bruno, San Mateo, San Carlos and Redwood City. East Palo Alto is included in this district, as are the communities of Belle Haven and North Fair Oaks. Much of this area is currently included in District 14, which is represented by Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Francisco/San Mateo. The biggest shift in this district will occur at the northern end, with its share of San Francisco shifting south and east from the current alignment.
The state Senate district that is currently represented by Sen. Josh Becker, D-Menlo Park, will also remain largely intact, encompassing all cities along the coast south of Daly City in San Mateo County as well as those in northern Santa Clara County, including Palo Alto, Mountain View, Menlo Park, East Palo Alto, Redwood City, Woodside and Portola Valley. Much like in the Assembly map, the biggest change occurs in the southeastern part of the Senate district, which will now include the Santa Clara County cities of Cupertino, Saratoga, Campbell and Los Gatos.
The redistricting commission, which consists of 14 members, has been working on the new maps for over a year before voting unanimously to adopt them on Monday. In a statement, commission Chair Alicia Fernandez said the panel concluded its map-drawing responsibilities "with pride in our final product."
"We started this process leaving politics out of the equation in hopes of achieving fairer and more equitable maps," Fernandez said. "I think I speak for my colleagues when I say mission accomplished!"
The commission plans to present its final map to the Secretary of State's Office this Monday, Dec. 27.