Wednesday, December 1, 2010

New Mexico Redistricting

 I have not redistricted many states with only a few congressional districts yet but I am now doing New Mexico. This state is gaining no congressional districts and the congressional makeup is 2-1 Democratic which is different from the last census in 2000 when the districts were 2-1 Republican. In 2008, the shift in congressional seats occured when Martin Heinrich (D) picked up the 1st Congressional district centered around Albequerque which always votes about 1-2 points more Democratic than the rest of the state. Also, the Democrats picked up the 2nd Congressional district with Harry Teague (D) which is heavily Hispanic and in the southern part of the state. Republicans gained the 2nd Congressional district but did not erase all of the Democratic gains in New Mexico because the Democrats still have the 1st Congressional district. Unfortunately for the Democrats though, Susana Martinez (R) from Las Cruces in southern New Mexico is now the Governor so Democrats do not hold the trifecta. If Democrats held the trifecta (controlling both houses of the legislature and the Governorship,) they could try to weaken the 2nd district's Republican lean but since the Governor is Republican, the best Democrats can hope for is an incumbent protection plan. Although the lines have stayed pretty firm since the 1970's when New Mexico gained a congressional district, I am shifting it around a bit so the incumbents have safer districts. The 1st and 3rd districts get more Democratic while Steve Pearce (although I dislike him,) gets safer. Now here are the maps: (current map of New Mexico Congressional districts.)

North New Mexico
South New Mexico

Albequerque area
New Mexico's 1st Congressional District: Martin Heinrich (D) (blue)
Partisan Data: Obama 179,555 61%, McCain 112,968 38%
Demographics: 43% White, 6% Native American, 45% Hispanic
Major Cities: Albequerque
Old district's partisan data: Obama 60%-39%
Status: Likely Democratic

Although Heinrich won in 2010, a Republican wave year, he still needs to be protected because he won by only four points. Therefore, I made his district a bit more Democratic by removing all of heavily Republican Torrance and swingy Valencia County. I added heavily Democratic areas in northern Sandoval County while keeping all of Bernallio County (Albequerque) which leans Democratic in the district. Heinrich's district is only a bit more Democratic but he should be more safe since he loses all the swingy suburban territory.

New Mexico's 2nd Congressional District: Steve Pearce (R) (Green)
Partisan Data: Obama 118,398 44%, McCain 146,587 55%
Demographics: 50% White, 43% Hispanic
Major Cities: Roswell, Clovis, Alamogordo
Old district's partisan data: McCain 50%-49%
Status: Safe Republican

As much as I hate Steve Pearce, I definitely see him getting a safer district for incumbent protection. This is the district that I altered the most. I removed the most Democratic parts of heavily Hispanic Dona Ana County and I also removed Democratic counties in the west such as Grant and Cibola. To compensate for the loss of those counties, I added suburban Torrance and Sandoval Counties near Albequerque to help Heinrich. I also added a string of Republican counties in the northeast such as Curry County (Clovis) and Union County which were formerly in the 3rd district. The Hispanic population here also drops too from 49% to 43%. His district keeps "Little Texas," the Republican southeast part of the state with Roswell and Lea County. As much as I want to see Pearce lose, this district keeps him completely safe.

3rd District: Ray Lujan (D) (Purple)
Partisan Data: Obama 173,992 66%, McCain 87,125 33%
Demographics: 33% White, 18% Native American, 47% Hispanic
Major Cities: Las Cruces, Santa Fe, Farmington
Old district's partisan data: Obama 61%-38%
Status: Safe Democratic

Lujan won with 57% in 2010 which is a good margin for an extremely bad election year for the Democrats. Still, I see him being stregthened in a bipartisan plan to protect Pearce. Lujan's district is currently centered in the north containing Santa Fe, Taos, the Democratic counties surrounding them, Republican Farmington and conservative counties on the eastern border. Although heavily Republican Farmington is still in the district, the district becomes more Democratic by losing the Republican counties on the eastern border and gaining a string of Democratic counties in the west all the way down to heavily Hispanic Las Cruces. These changes overall bring Obama's percentage up to 66%.

No comments: