Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Colorado Redistricting

 By winning one race by only 157 votes, Republicans control one house of the Colorado State Legislature so Democrats do not hold the trifecta in Colorado anymore. So instead of a possible Democratic gerrymander where they could retake the 3rd and 4th districts, the Democrats will probably end up with a bipartisan incumbent protection which is more favorable to the Republicans. The new Republicans may feel vulnerable because many of the new ones are in marginal districts they won in a very Republican year so the Democrats might work out a deal at protecting those Republicans in exchange for controlling congressional redistricting. That is not very likely though and I drew this map assuming it is a bipartisan deal. Ed Perlmutter (D) of Colorado's 7th district is strengthened as well as newly elected Scott Tipton (R) of Colorado's 3rd district and Cory Gardner (R) of Colorado's 4th Congressional district. In 2002, Colorado was 5-2 Republican and in 2008, it shifted to 5-2 Democratic. The Republicans have the majority in the delegation now though with 4-3. Although Republicans came back a bit in 2010, I still think Colorado is trending Democratic due to Democrats moving into the Denver area from California. This movement could make districts such as the 6th competitive in the future, but for now, all incumbents will be much safer. Now, here are the maps:

link for current maps:

Denver area
Colorado's 1st Congressional District: Diana DeGette (D) Blue
Obama won 70% (estimate)
Demographics: 8% African American, 37% Hispanic, 49% White
Old Demographics: 10% African American, 33% Hispanic, 52% White
Major Cities: Denver, Barr Lake
Status: Safe Democratic

DeGette's district actually becomes a bit more Republican. I removed the Democratic suburbs around Englewood and replaced them with more moderate suburbs such as Brighton and Barr Lake. DeGette may not like having the new territory (and she even loses some Denver neighborhoods) but since the district is still mostly in Denver, she should have no problems at all facing reelection. Her district is now the only minority majority district in Colorado.

Colorado 2 Jared Polis (D) Green
Obama won 66% (estimate)
Demographics: 15% Hispanic, 80% White
Old Demographics: 18% Hispanic, 76% White
Major Cities: Boulder, Broomfield, Aspen
Status: Safe Democratic

Polis was already safe but his district becomes a Democratic vote sink to shore up the 3rd district now held by Scott Tipton (R). If Democrats had the trifecta here, they could have unpacked this district to make the 3rd district Democratic enough for John Salazar (D) to retake but as it is, the 2nd will take Democratic areas out of the 3rd. The 2nd loses all of Adams and Larmier Counties. The 2nd is more of a Rocky Mountain district now by picking up Democratic ski resort counties such as Routt (Steamboat Springs,) Pitkin (Aspen,) and Gunnison (Crested Butte.)

North Colorado

South Colorado

Colorado 3 Scott Tipton (R) Purple
McCain won 52% (estimate)
Demographics: 22% Hispanic, 73% White
Old Demographics: 22% Hispanic, 73% White
Major Cities: Pueblo, Grand Junction
Status: Likely Republican

Under a bipartisan plan, Tipton will be strengthened but due to the current demographics, strengthening Tipton is difficult without making convoluted lines or putting the 4th district Republican in jeopardy. I strengthened Tipton by removing Pitkin County (Aspen) as well as some other ski areas that I put in the 2nd. I added conservative Park County and a few conservative rural counties in southeastern Colorado. Obama also over performed the district's usual Democratic percentage here due to high turnout in the ski areas but the district may become competitive again if Hispanics keep trending Democratic. This would be an opening for Salazar who is Hispanic and could do win enough Hispanics to beat Tipton. Salazar has an uphill battle though with the ski areas in the 2nd district though.

Colorado 4 Cory Gardner (R) Red
McCain won 52% (estimate)
Demographics: 18% Hispanic, 78% White
Old Demographics: 19% Hispanic, 76% White
Major Cities: Fort Collins, Greeley, Lamar
Status: Lean Republican

Due to population purposes, strengthening this district was difficult but I still made Gardner safer. I removed some Democratic areas in Adams and Boulder Counties. The district needs to shed territory anyway due to population growth but I added Elbert County as well as the conservative rural parts of Adams and Arapahoe Counties. Betsy Markey (D) who held this district from 2008 to 2010 might be able to win in a Democratic year here but the district's changes will make winning harder for her.

Colorado 5 Doug Lamborn (R) Yellow
McCain won 59% (estimate)
Demographics: 5% African American, 13% Hispanic, 76% White
Old Demographics: 5% African, 13% Hispanic, 75% White
Major Cities: Colorado Springs, Castle Rock
Status: Safe Republican

At a first glance, this district appears to undergo major changes but population wise, it does not. It just loses some rural counties to the west to make the 3rd district more Republican while picking up a large portion of Douglas County. Lamborn was already safe with strongly Republican Colorado Springs in his district but he is just as safe now, if not safer.

Colorado 6 Mike Coffman (R) Teal
McCain won 52% (estimate)
Demographics: 9% Hispanic, 82% White
Old Demographics: 8% Hispanic, 84% White
Major Cities: Parker, Centennial
Status: Likely Republican

Coffman's district says pretty similar demographically but his district becomes more difficult to hold. He picks up a large portion of Lakewood which formally was in the Democratic leaning 7th district while losing part of heavily Republican Douglas County. Although Coffman may be safe now, Jefferson and Araphaoe Counties are becoming more Democratic and now that they have more people in the district, Coffman may be in trouble in the end of the decade. That should however give him enough time to become entrenched in his district so he can fend away any challenge. The Republicans probably want Coffman to have more territory but that will be hard because the 3rd and 4th districts need their Republican areas.

Colorado 7 Ed Perlmutter (D) Orange
Obama won 62% (estimate)
Demographics: 7% African American, 27% Hispanic, 60% White
Old Demographics: 6% African American, 26% Hispanic, 61% White
Major Cities: Aurora, Lakewood, Arvada
Status: Safe Democratic

Although Obama won 59% under the current lines, the district was originally drawn as a swing district so Perlmutter will probably have a safer district on his wish list. This is what the new map does by adding in a few Denver neighborhoods. It also picks up more of Democratic Aurora while losing the less Democratic parts of Lakewood. Perlmutter also gains more of Adams County by picking up more of Westminister although he loses the rural eastern part to the 4th district. Perlmutter should be much safer, although he seemed to be doing fine already.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Maryland Redistricting, 7-1 D

 Like in 2001, Democrats hold the trifecta in Maryland again. This means that not only do they control the Governorship, they also control both houses of the state legislature. In 2001, the congressional delegation was 4-4 but Democrats redrew the maps to make a favorable Democratic map that accomplished its goal of removing 2 of the 4 Republican representatives. After 2002, there were no party changes until 2008 when Frank Kratovli (D) ran in the 1st district which contains conservative Baltimore suburbs and the Eastern Shore. He barely won against an extremist candidate. Unfortunately for the Democrats, he lost in 2010 by 13 points. Therefore, the delegation has returned to its original 6-2 Democrats. Maryland has turned more blue though since 2002 due to more African Americans moving into Prince Georges and Charles Counties. Also, Hispanics, Asians and white liberals are moving into Montgomery County and even Frederick County. The Baltimore suburbs are actually trending Republican but that's a different post for a different day.

Still, with Maryland trending Democratic overall, it is now possible to construct a 7-1 Democratic map. I have even seen some 8-0 Democratic maps but some districts are too shaky and can result in a dummymander when Republicans are able to pick up 1,2 or even 3 of those seats. I chose to draw a 7-1 map because I think it is close to what the state legislature will draw. While drawing the map, I made sure the 4th and 7th districts remained majority African American because of the VRA requiring 2 African American majority districts. While drawing the map, I made sure no district except for the Republican 6th fell below 54% Obama. Also, I made sure 6 of the districts were at least 58% for Obama. This map should protect all the Democratic incumbents, one Republican incumbent and create a new district that leans Democratic. Now here are some helpful links:

Maryland's current map:

                                     Statewide map of Maryland
Maryland's 1st Congressional District: Andy Harris (R) (blue)
Partisan Data: Obama 137,680 54%, McCain 113,225 44%
Demographics: 23% African American, 5% Hispanic, 68% White
Old District's Partisan Data: McCain 58%, Obama 40%
Major Cities: Annapolis, Salisbury
Status: Likely Democratic

 This district makes some major changes when I moved conservative suburbs in Harford and Anne Arundel out into other districts such as the 6th and 7th while adding in Democratic Annapolis and some neighborhoods in heavily Democratic Prince Georges County and places in Anne Arundel County such as Odenton which will become more Democratic due to in migration by African Americans. Harris's base is in conservative Harford County which I removed. Frank Kratovli (D), the representative before 2010 of the 1st now has a great shot at retaking this district because of the new Democratic areas in the district. The district's Democratic lean may be overstated due to high Obama turnout in Prince Georges County but as the areas in Anne Arundel keep getting more Democratic, they should offset any drop in turnout. Also, Kratovli tends to over perform in the Eastern Shore so with big margins in Prince Georges and Anne Arundel Counties, he should win here.

                                        Baltimore Area

Maryland's 2nd Congressional District: Dutch Ruppersberger (D) (Green)
Partisan Data: Obama 155,376 58%, McCain 107,691 40%
Demographics: 24% African American, 68% White
Old District's Partisan Data: Obama 60%, McCain 38%
Major Cities: Baltimore, Towson, Dundalk
Status: Safe Democratic

Ruppersberger's district gets less convoluted by losing all of its Anne Arundel County portions and picking up swingy Towson which was originally in the 3rd district. Although the 2nd district retains some Republican suburbs around Edgemere, it still remains Democratic by picking up more Baltimore City neighborhoods. They also help balance out the loss of some heavily Democratic precincts in Randallstown. Ruppersberger should be fine here.

Maryland's 3rd Congressional District: John Sarbanes (D) (Purple)
Partisan Data: Obama 164,297 62%, McCain 96,626 36%
Demographics: 26% African American, 8% Asian, 60% White
Old district's partisan data: Obama 59%, McCain 39%
Major Cities: Randallstown, Columbia, Catonsville
Status: Safe Democratic

I am aware of the fact John Sarbanes does not live in this district but it still contains Democratic Columbia. The district undergoes some major changes though. It retains parts of Baltimore County but loses nearly all of Baltimore City and all of Anne Arundel County. It even picks up some Republican areas in southern Carroll County. Sarbanes is still safe though because his district picks up some heavily African American areas in west Baltimore County, bringing the African American population in the district from 16% to 26%. I am not sure the state legislature will support this district though because in their mind, it may need more of Sarbanes's old district and they may not want to extend this into Montgomery County. Still, this is a safe district for Sarbanes.

                                        Washington Suburbs
Maryland's 4th Congressional District: Donna Edwards (D) (Red)
Partisan Data: Obama 212,819 88%, McCain 27,795 11%
Demographics: 54% African American, 17% Hispanic, 6% Asian, 21% White
Old District's Partisan Data: Obama 85%, McCain 14%
Major Cities: Fort Washington, Chillum, Silver Spring
Status: Safe Democratic

The district remains VRA protected and gets even more Democratic although Edwards was more than safe here already. The district becomes smaller and loses more moderate areas in northern Montgomery County while picking up part of Wheaton in Montgomery County. I would have extended this district out into more swingy areas in Montgomery County but the 3rd district took them for population reasons. I am not sure if the legislature will send Edwards's district to pick up some Republican areas to help protect other incumbents or make a district similar to mine.

Maryland 5th Congressional District: Steny Hoyer (D) (yellow)
Partisan Data: Obama 176,048 66%, McCain 89,006 33%
Demographics: 36% African American, 5% Hispanic, 53% White
Old District's Partisan Data: Obama 66% McCain 33%
Major Cities: St. Charles, Bowie
Status: Safe Democratic

Hoyer's district remains strongly Democratic although retaining Republican St. Mary's, Calvert and Anne Arundel Counties. The Democratic votes in Charles (which is getting even more Democratic due to migration from Prince Georges County,) and Prince Georges County more than counterbalance the Republican areas. The only changes in this district are the addition of Fairland in Montgomery County which leans Democratic and the switching around of some Prince Georges County precincts. Hoyer should be happy with his new district.

                                         West Maryland
Maryland's 6th Congressional District: Roscoe Bartlett (D) Teal
Partisan Data: Obama 105,718 36%, McCain 183,765 62%
Demographics: 5% African American, 90% White
Old District's Partisan Data: Obama 40% McCain 58%
Major Cities: Hagerstown, Bel Air, Cumberland
Status: Safe Republican

This district contains the fast growing red Baltimore suburbs, the D.C suburbs that lean Republican and the older communities in the Appalachian Mountains. At a first glance, it appears that the lines do not change much. Actually, they do change a bit and these changes make the district more Republican by removing most of Frederick which leans Democratic. The district loses a bit of Carroll County to the 3rd district but picks up some conservative Harford County suburbs from the old 1st district. The location affects Bartlett who lives in Frederick (which is mostly in the 8th on this map) but since the new 6th district is so similar to the old one, he will probably run there and win easily (unless Republicans try to teabag him which is possible.)

Maryland's 7th Congressional District: Elijah Cummings (D) Gray
Partisan Data: Obama 193,995 70%, McCain 77,987 28%
Demographics: African American 50%, White 43%
Old District's Partisan Data: Obama 79% McCain 20%
Major Cities: Baltimore, Glen Burnie, South Gate
Status: Safe Democratic

Although the 7th district still is anchored in Baltimore, it swings off in a different direction now. Instead of heading through west Balitmore County to west Howard County, the 7th district heads south into the conservative Anne Arundel County suburbs. It picks up Republican areas such as Glen Burnie which were formerly in the 1st district when it was very Republican. Although there are some precincts there that voted as high as 70% for McCain, precincts in Baltimore City that voted as high as 99% for Obama make this district heavily Democratic. The 50% African American population is a bit low for a VRA district but it should work because almost all of the Democratic primary voters are Democratic. Also, a 70% Obama district is way too high for any Republican to win, even in a good year.

Maryland's 8th Congressional District: Chris Van Hollen (D) light purple
Partisan Data: Obama 173,125 69%, McCain 74,721 30%
Demographics: 12% African American, 14% Hispanic, 13% Asian, 59% White
Old District's Partisan Data: Obama 74% McCain 25%
Major Cities: Bethesda, Frederick, Gaithersburg, Rockville
Status: Safe Democratic

This district gets a bit more Republican. I removed Wheaton from the district as well as the heavily Democratic small part of Prince Georges County which helped Van Hollen beat Connie Morella (R) in 2002. Also, Van Hollen's district heads out into Republican leaning Frederick County but takes up the parts that lean Democratic such as the City of Frederick. These changes bring down the Obama percentage from 74% to 69%. Van Hollen will probably want a safer district but Montgomery County has grown much more Democratic since the 90's when it elected Morella. Frederick County is getting more Democratic too so Van Hollen should have no problems.

Do you have any ideas for redistrcting Maryland? Please feel free to share your thoughts.

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%.