Saturday, March 12, 2011

Nevada Bipartisan Redistricting

Nevada is gaining a new congressional district and representatives Dean Heller (R) and Shelley Berkley (D) may run for Senate. Therefore, three out of Nevada's four districts will be open seats. The only seat with an incumbent running is the 3rd district with Joe Heck (R) who was elected in 2010 by one point. The power will shift to the Las Vegas area too because 72% of Nevada's population lives in Clark County, up from 68% in 2000. The legislature does not have to consider incumbency while redistricting but the map should have strong Democratic and Republican districts. The reason is that there is split control with Democrats controlling the legislature and Brian Sandoval (R) controlling the Governorship. The new map should be designed for a 2-2 delegation. Republicans may not be inclined to give the Democrats a seat but Heck won by only one point last year so the Republicans should exchange a safe district for Heck with a new Democratic district. Nevada is trending Democratic though so one or both of the 2 Republican districts may flip at the end of the decade but I doubt Sandoval would sign a bill with a 3-1 Democratic delegation. The Democrats may not attempt a 3-1 map either because it may endanger their incumbents. Anyway, here are the maps:

Las Vegas area

Here is a link to maps of Nevada's current congressional districts:

A few notes: Dave's Redistricting App does not have partisan data so the partisan data for the 1st, 3rd and 4th districts are predicted. The 2nd district has partisan data because I did not split any counties while drawing it and used county by county percentages to calculate the votes there. Also, the demographic figures reflect the results of the 2010 census.

Nevada's 1st Congressional District Shelley Berkeley (D) Blue
President 2008 (predicted): Obama 61%
Demographics: 12.7% Asian, 26.7% Hispanic, 9.1% African American, 47.3% White
Demographics 18+: 13.2% Asian, 23.0% Hispanic, 8.8% African American, 51.8% White
Status: Safe Democratic

This district contains the western part of the Las Vegas area, picking up Spring Valley, Paradise and Democratic parts of western Las Vegas. This is Shelley Berkeley’s (D) district but if she runs for Senate, there will be a primary battle for the 1st district. Dina Titus (D) lost the current 3rd district to Joe Heck (R) last year by 1 point despite the final polls showing Heck with high single digit leads. She may run in this district which is too Democratic for a Republican representative. The primary will be the important race here. Titus’s advantages include serving as Nevada's Senate Minority Leader from 1993 to 2009. She also represented the swing 3rd district from 2009 to 2011. Barbara Buckley (D) may run because her Spring Valley base is completely within in the 1st district. She has served in the State Assembly since 1994. She was also the former Speaker of the Assembly but may be too liberal for some voters. She planned to run for Governor in 2010 but Rory Reid (D) ran instead. He may run here too in hopes of a comeback. His advantages include being the former head of the Clark County Commission and being Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D) son.

Statewide map
Nevada's 2nd Congressional District Dean Heller (R) Green
President 2008: Obama 143,152 51%, McCain 139,941 49%
Senate 2010: Reid 102,040 47%, Angle 115,518 53%
Demographics: 20.4% Hispanic, 69.3% White
Demographics 18+: 16.5% Hispanic, 73.7% White
Status: Likely Republican

Although Obama won this district, I expect a Republican to win here because the district normally votes Republican. The 2nd district became a couple of points more Democratic by losing the heavily Republican and rural counties in south Nevada. Washoe County which voted for Obama and Reid gained more influence. Washoe County is not a Democrat county though because it votes close to the statewide average for both candidates. As for the district's representative, Dean Heller (R) is running for Senate so he will vacate the district. Obama will increase turnout in 2012 because he will target Nevada. Also, Reno is next to California and in 2008, many Californians raced into Reno to help Obama. I assume the volunteers will race into Reno again in 2012. I still believe that this district is too Republican to elect a Democrat now because of the conservative Cow Counties but if Nevada's Democratic trend continues, Democrats will be competitive later in the decade. As for the 2012 congressional race, State GOP Party Chair Mark Amodei (R) has announced his candidacy. On the Democratic side, State Senator Sheila Leslie (D) from Reno may examine the race. Also, Reno City Council member Jessica Sferraza (D) may consider running. She is young but has served in Reno's city council for ten years. She also has the Reno base and helped revitalize parts of Reno including Wells Ave.

Nevada's 3rd Congressional District OPEN Purple
President 2008 (predicted): Obama 70%
Demographics: 6.3% Asian, 44.7% Hispanic, 14.4% African American, 31.1% White
Demographics 18+: 7.2% Asian, 39.1% Hispanic, 14.4% African American, 36.6% White
Status: Safe Democratic

This is the new minority majority district in Nevada. It contains North Las Vegas, Sunrise Manor, eastern Las Vegas and some Democratic parts of Republican leaning Henderson. This district is too Democratic to elect a Republican representative but a competitive Democratic primary is possible. John Oceguera (D), the Speaker of the State Assembly may run here because his eastern Las Vegas base is in the 3rd district and he will do well with the district's large Hispanic population in the primary. Oceguera has served since 2000 and his work as Speaker makes him well known with voters in his district and nearby areas. He is a young face too at 43 years old. Oceguera may face competition from Steven Horsford (D) the Nevada Senate Majority Leader. Horsford's Senate district is completely in the new 3rd congressional district and represents part of North Las Vegas. Like Oceguera, Horsford is a young rising star elected in 2004 and Horsford's work as Senate Majority Leader has made voters familiar with him. In a primary, Horsford will probably win the endorsement of the powerful culinary union with 60,000 members because he is the CEO of the Culinary Training Academy and helped construct kitchen training facilities on the Nevada Partners Campus. Horsford is African American and the 3rd district's 14.4% African American population is the largest of Nevada's districts. With Oceguera though, 39% of the voting age population is Hispanic and although Hispanics usually have lower turnout rates than African Americans, the Hispanic population is probably high enough for more Hispanics than African Americans vote in the Democratic primary. Overall, Oceguera has advantages because he served longer than Horsford did, Oceguera is the Speaker of the State Assembly and Oceguera is Hispanic. Horsford's advantages though are that he should gain the culinary union's backing, his Senate district contains more of the 3rd district than Oceguera's and Horsford is the Senate Majority Leader.

Nevada's 4th Congressional District Joe Heck (R) red
President 2008 (predicted): McCain 52%
Demographics: 7.5% Asian, 14.2% Hispanic, 5.6% African American, 68.8% White
Demographics 18+: 7.7% Asian, 12.0% Hispanic, 5.5% African American, 71.9% White
Status: Likely Republican

Brian Sandoval (R) will not sign a bill that weakens Joe Heck (R) who barely won against Dina Titus (D) in the current 3rd district so I strengthened Heck. I removed Democratic leaning Spring Valley, East Las Vegas and Democratic leaning parts of Henderson. I added Republican parts of North Las Vegas and some extremely red rural counties such as Lincoln, Nye and White Pine counties. Heck's Clark County base is large enough to avoid a primary challenge from the rural areas though. The district's Republican lean may change as Democrats from Las Vegas move out into the suburbs. In 2012 though, Heck should have no difficulties winning reelection.

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