Republican Congressman Files for Re-Election in Wrong District

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 31 2013 5:24 PM

Republican Congressman Files for Re-Election in Wrong District

170373482
Ed Royce (R) is not great with maps.

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Some fun news out of California: The Sacramento Bee reports that longtime California Republican Congressman Ed Royce recently filed for election in the wrong district. Prior to California's most recent redistricting, Royce served the 40th district—where he filed in December—but he now serves the 39th, which snakes through several conservative-leaning counties. (Adding to the confusion, Royce actually served the 39th in the 1990s as well, prior to the 2000 gerrymander.)

Royce’s consultant has claimed that the misfiling was simply a typo, but it seems much likelier that Royce was thrown off by the labyrinth of districts created by the redistricting. (Business Insider notes that the craggy, horseshoe-shaped 39th closely resembles a Rorschach inkblot.) With so many malformed districts in the House, it’s quite a feat for representatives even to locate their districts on a map. 

Advertisement

The mistake was corrected well before the filing deadline, and Royce's camp has asserted that the error was contained in unofficial paperwork unrelated to filing for office. But that's a bit dubious, given that the congressman's associates previously defended the blunder as a benign mistake, apparently acknowleding the truth of the Bee's report. Perhaps next election cycle, Royce will have better luck identifying his district if he practices with Slate’s classic Gerrymandering Jigsaw Puzzle

*Correction, Jan. 2, 2014: This post previously stated that California's most recent redistricting was drawn by Republican gerrymander. The redistricting was done by a nonpartisan commission. The wording of the post has been changed to reflect this fact.

Mark Joseph Stern is a writer for Slate. He covers science, the law, and LGBTQ issues.

TODAY IN SLATE

History

The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

The GOP Senate Candidate in Iowa Doesn’t Want Voters to Know Just How Conservative She Really Is

Does Your Child Have “Sluggish Cognitive Tempo”? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

The Supreme Court, Throughout Its History, Has Been a Massive Disappointment

Why Indians in America Are Mad for India’s New Prime Minister

Damned Spot

Now Stare. Don’t Stop.

The perfect political wife’s loving gaze in campaign ads.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD

The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 30 2014 5:19 PM Social Outcasts Republican candidates are retreating from debates on abortion, gay marriage, and contraception.
  Business
Building a Better Workplace
Sept. 30 2014 1:16 PM You Deserve a Pre-cation The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.
  Life
Education
Sept. 30 2014 1:48 PM Thrashed Florida State’s new president is underqualified and mistrusted. But here’s how he can turn it around.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 4:45 PM Steven Soderbergh Is Doing Some Next-Level Work on The Knick
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 4:59 PM China’s Not the Problem With Carbon Emissions. We Are.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 30 2014 7:30 AM What Lurks Beneath the Methane Lakes of Titan?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.