Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ohio Fair Redistricting Map

As you may know, Ohio recently passed its new redistricting map for the 2010's decade. Ohio has a reputation for being the biggest swing state, deciding the election of 2004 and voting near the national average in 2000, 2004, and 2008. One might expect the legislature to draw a map designed to elect an equal number of Republicans and Democrats, so all political parties are fairly represented. The Republican legislature decided not to do that, instead, they drew a map designed to elect 12 Republicans and four Democrats. To create the large number of Republican districts, they split communities of interest by combining Toledo with Cleveland instead of creating a district representing Toledo and nearby counties. Also, instead of combining Cincinnati with nearby suburbs, they combine Cincinnati with a string to Warren County, an extremely conservative exurban county. They should have created a district representing as much of Hamilton County as possible because Hamilton County is where Cincinnati and its close suburbs are located. They should then create a district that represents the outer suburbs in Clermont, Warren and Butler Counties. Also, they placed Springfield and Lucas County (Toledo) in the same district. Another example of their splitting of communities of interest is when they combine suburbs close to Cleveland with not more Cleveland suburbs or Cleveland, they combine it Canton which is south of Akron and should not share a representative with voters who live in the Cleveland area. Canton and Cleveland are two distinct cities with two distinct metropolitan areas. The Ohio legislature should learn the intended purpose of congressional districts. It was not to help one's political party while stifling the voice of communities; it was to increase the voice of a community, not a political party. For example, in the 9th district which was drawn to absorb Democratic areas along the Lake Erie shoreline, if Marcy Kaptur (D) from Toledo retired and the district elected a Cleveland politician, the Toledo area will have no representative to go to Washington and fight for Toledo's interests because a Cleveland politician will not understand Toledo's interests as well as a Toledo politician would. Toledo has enough people for a district that can be drawn centered around it that would elect a representative who is familiar with Toledo's needs. Anyway, here is my map that combines communities of interest and creates competitive districts so incumbents will have to tailor to the needs of both parties in order to win reelection.

 Instead of creating 12 districts for the Republicans to win and 4 seats for the Democrats to win, this fair map tries to represent Ohio's close divide between both parties. This fair map also creates some competitive seats instead of seats designed to protect Republican incumbents for as long as they want. It creates four safe Democratic seats, two likely Democratic seats, three tossup seats, two lean Republican (they will both become tossups when their Republican incumbents retire,) one likely Republican seat and four safe Republican seats. Also, it is possible that there will be a referendum on the maps. If they are overtuned, a court will draw them. Hopefully the court draws a map similar to this one that respects communities of interest and creates many districts designed to be competitive for both parties.

Here is a link to Ohio's current congressional map:

Here is a link to the map Ohio's Republicans drew:

Ohio statewide
Ohio's 1st Congressional District Steve Chabot (R) Blue
Presidential Data: Obama 203,768 55.0%, McCain 162,949 44.0%
Average: Dem  52.1%, Rep  47.9%
Old Presidential Data: Obama 55%, McCain 44%
Demographics 18+: 25.8% African American, 68.6% White
Status: Tossup

The 1st district becomes more centered around Cincinnati instead of extending into the suburbs around Hamilton County (Cincinnati.) The 1st district loses all of Butler County, stays completely within Hamilton County and gains all of Cincinnati as well as some nearby suburbs in eastern Hamilton County. As the district becomes more compact, it becomes more competitive as it gains swing areas in eastern Cincinnati in exchange for conservative areas in Butler County. This represents communities of interest better than the Ohio map the Republicans drew because that map combined exurbs in Warren County with inner city Cincinnati. Although Chabot won the district in 2010, that year had low Democratic turnout in heavily Democratic areas such as Cincinnati's inner city and the district is trending Democratic as Republican leaning voters move into suburban Butler, Warren and Clermont Counties. If Obama increases African American turnout in 2012, the Democrats will have a strong shot at winning. In a low turnout year though, Republicans will have a stronger chance.

Southwest Ohio
Ohio's 2nd Congressional District Jean Schmidt (R) vs. John Boehner (R) Green
Presidential Data: Obama 123,033 34.1%, McCain 233,542 64.7%
Average: Dem  35.4%, Rep  64.6%
Old Presidential Data: Obama 40%, McCain 59%
Demographics 18+: 4.0% African American, 89.8% White
Status: Safe Republican

When I drew this map, I did not consider incumbents so John Boehner's (R) home is in the same district as Jean Schimdt's (R) but most of the territory here is in her current district. Boehner is Speaker of the House though so he should have no problem raising money in the primary but he may decide to run in the 8th district instead which contains most of his current district's territory. The new lines though remove Democratic parts of Hamilton County, making the district the most Republican one in Ohio so Schmidt can be as far right as she wants without worrying about a tough race in a Democratic year. In 2006 and 2008, she faced tight races from moderate Democrats who painted her as far right.

Ohio's 3rd Congressional District Mike Turner (R) Purple
Presidential Data: Obama 187,716 50.2%, McCain 180,038 48.2%
Average: Dem  49.7%,  50.3%
Old Presidential Data: Obama 46%, McCain 52%
Demographics 18+: 16.1% African American, 78.6% White
Status: Lean Republican, Tossup when Turner retires

This district becomes more Democratic and compact, losing rural counties such as Highland County that belong in a district that represents other rural counties in southern Ohio, not urban areas. The 3rd district combines urban areas, representing all of Montgomery County (Dayton) and Clark County (Springfield) as well as suburban Beavercreek in Greene County. Although the 3rd district becomes more Democratic, Turner should win here because he is popular and entrenched here. If he retires though, Democrats will have a strong shot at this district but it is trending Republican. Clark County voted for Gore in 2000 but Obama could not carry it in 2008.

Ohio's 4th Congressional District Vacant (Jim Jordan (R)?) Red
Presidential Data: Obama 140,593 41.0%, McCain 195,396 56.9%
Average: Dem  44.9%, Rep  55.1%
Old Presidential Data: Obama 38%, McCain 60%
Demographics 18+: 4.6% African American, 91.4% White
Status: Safe Republican

The 4th district moves further north as it loses four rural counties in the southern part of the district to the 8th district. It also loses Urbana which is Jordan's home but because this district contains most of Jordan's current territory and is strongly Republican, Jordan may run here. The district becomes a few points less Republican though as it gains swingy Sandusky County. Also, Bob Latta (R) may run here because his 5th district is eliminated and the 4th district adds part of his current district. Jordan represents more of the new 4th district than Latta does though so Jordan has the advantage.

Ohio's 5th Congressional District Jim Renacci (R) vs. Betty Sutton (D) Yellow
Presidential Data: Obama 174,487 48.9%, McCain 176,327 49.3%
Average: Dem 54.6%, McCain  45.4%
Old Presidential Data: (formerly the 16th) Obama 48%, McCain 50%
Demographics 18+: 3.7% African American, 91.7% White
Status: Tossup

This new district combines most of north central Ohio. It represents Democratic areas in Erie and Lorian Counties but also contains Medina and Ashland Counties which help counterbalance the Democratic areas. Overall, the district voted for McCain by less than 1 point so although the district may lean Republican, Democrats should have a shot here. Sutton though may decide to run in the nearby 13th district which is more Democratic and does not contain a Republican incumbent's residency. The 5th district contains more of her current district than the new 13th district on this map does though. Also, the average percentage for the district was 54.6% Democratic so the district definitely seems Democratic at a statewide level. It depends on how strongly turnout in Lorain and Erie Counties counterbalance the rest of the district.

Ohio's 6th Congressional District Bob Gibbs (R) vs. Bill Johnson (R) Teal
Presidential Data: Obama 145,046 45.9%, McCain 163,435 51.7%
Average: Dem  55.7%, Rep  44.3%
Old Presidential Data: (for 6th district) Obama 49%, McCain 50% (for 18th district) Obama 45%, McCain 53%
Demographics 18+: 95.7% White
Status: Tossup

This district combines the homes of freshmen Bob Gibbs (R) and Bill Johnson (R). Gibbs represents a larger portion of the district though while the only areas in Johnson's current district and this one are Athens, his home of Marietta and a few small Ohio River counties. This district represents communities of interest though by combining rural counties with some small cities in eastern Ohio. Gibbs should win the primary here but he could face a tough general. Although this part of Ohio is trending away from the Democrats, the Democratic average was nearly 56% and former Reps. Charlie Wilson (D) or Zack Space (D) who lost in the 2010 Republican wave could make a comeback here in a neutral or Democratic year.

Ohio's 7th Congressional District Steve Austria (R) Gray
Presidential Data: Obama 130,340 41.0%, McCain 181,484 57.1%
Average: Dem 46.5%, Rep 53.5%
Old Presidential Data: Obama 45%, McCain 54%
Demographics 18+: 4.8% African American, 92.0% White
Status: Safe Republican

The 7th district becomes more Republican as it loses all of Franklin County (Columbus) and gains some conservative rural counties in the southern portion of the state. The district becomes centered around the rural southern part of the state. He should face no primary challenge unless Jean Schmidt (R) decides to run here because many of the counties in her current district were added to the 7th. She probably will not run though because her home is in the 2nd district.

Ohio's 8th Congressional District Vacant (John Boehner (R)?) Slateblue
Presidential Data: Obama 122,984 35.4%, McCain 217,843 62.7%
Average: Dem 39.0%, Rep 61.0%
Old Presidential Data: Obama 36%, McCain 62%
Demographics 18+: 94.5% White
Status: Safe Republican

The 8th district becomes more rural as it gains counties along Ohio's western border and extends further into the central part of the state. Although Boehner does not live in the district, he may run here because it contains large portions of his current district with Preble, Butler and Miami Counties. The new counties the 8th district are both from the current 4th and 5th districts but it is unlikely Jordan or Latta would want to challenge Boehner in a primary because Boehner is the speaker.

Toledo area
Ohio's 9th Congressional District Marcy Kaptur (D) vs. Bob Latta (R) Cyan
Presidential Data: Obama 210,399 58.6%, McCain 142,849 39.8%
Average: Dem 60.7%, Rep 39.3%
Old Presidential Data: Obama 62%, McCain 36%
Demographics 18+: 4.4% Hispanic, 11.2% African American, 81.8% White
Status: Safe Democratic

The new 9th district the Republicans in the Ohio Legislature drew combines Toledo with inner city Cleveland. This does not combine communities of interest because Toledo is an industrial area that looks toward Detroit and auto manufacturing while Cleveland focuses more around steel. This 9th district on this map though combines communities of interest instead of combining urban areas in western and eastern Ohio. Those communities of interest are Toledo and the nearby small cities and farming areas in western Ohio such as Bowling Green. Although the majority of the district's population is in Kaptur's current district, she gains Bowling Green which is where Latta lives. If Latta challenges Kaptur, Kaptur should win because she has represented parts of the district since the early 1980s and the district has a strong Democratic lean. Latta will probably want a safer district so he may run in the 4th district which also contains part of his current district.

Cleveland area
Ohio's 10th Congressional District Dennis Kucinich (D) DeepPink
Presidential Data: Obama 199,469 54.8%, McCain 159,398 43.8%
Average: Dem 60.3%, Rep 39.7%
Old Presidential Data: Obama 58%, McCain 40%
Demographics 18+: 4.0% African American, 4.9% Hispanic, 87.8% White
Status: Likely Democratic

The map of Ohio that the Republicans drew for the 10th district creates a district that combines Cleveland's western suburbs with Canton and Amish country. The Cleveland suburbs are urban and are focused around Cleveland, not Canton or rural Amish. That is why I drew a 10th district that combines Cleveland's western suburbs, including those in Lorain County. Anyway, the district becomes more Republican as it loses large parts of Cleveland and gains Republican leaning suburbs in southern Cuyahoga County. Although this district leans Democratic, it may not be Democratic enough to elect a far left Democrat such as Kucinich but it could elect a more moderate Democrat such as Betty Sutton. This district is trending Republican though so at the end of the decade, Republicans may be very competitive here.

Ohio's 11th Congressional District Marcia Fudge (D) Chartreuse
Presidential Data: Obama 300,111 81.5%, McCain 65,061 17.7%
Average: Dem 81.1%, Rep 18.9%
Old Presidential Data: Obama 85%, McCain 14%
Demographics 18+: 50.0% African American, 42.5% White
Status: Safe Democratic

I am aware that combining Akron and Cleveland does not represent communities of interest. I have to respect the Voting Rights Act though and draw one African American VAP majority district in the area surrounding Cleveland. This district combines African Americans in Cleveland's east side and in Akron. Fudge should have no trouble in the general election but it is possible that a candidate from Akron may challenge her in the primary.

Columbus area

Ohio's 12th Congressional District:: Pat Tiberi (R) CornflowerBlue
Presidential Data: Obama 183,965 50.0%, McCain 179,489 48.7%
Average: Dem 48.0%, Rep 52.0%
Old Presidential Data: Obama 54%, McCain 45%
Demographics 18+: 15.0% African American, 76.8% White
Status: Likely Republican

This district becomes more Republican as it loses part of Columbus's central city and becomes more suburban. It gains the suburban Blackhawk estates in southeast Franklin County. Although the district voted for Obama and is trending Democratic, voters here still vote Republican locally and Tiberi is personally popular in the district. Democrats failed to unseat him in 2006 and 2008 when his district voted 54% for Obama. In this safer district, Tiberi should win easily but if he retires, a strong Democrat will have a chance.

Ohio's 13th Congressional District Vacant
Presidential Data: Obama 191,833 54.1%, McCain 156,554 44.2%
Average: Dem 57.6%, Rep 42.4%
Old Presidential Data: N/A
Demographics 18+: 8.6% African American, 87.3% White
Status: Likely Democratic

This district combines the urban areas of Canton and Akron. On the new Ohio map, the Republicans drew districts that combined Canton and Akron with Mansfield, the Clevleand suburbs and Youngstown. Instead of diluting their voting power though, this district ensures that these areas will have a voice in the House. The district contains all of Stark County (Canton) and represents the eastern part of Summit County (Akron.) As for the candidates in the district, no incumbent currently lives here but Betty Sutton (D) may decide to run here because she lives in the 5th district which voted 49% for Obama, even though her current district and the new 13th share no territory. Also, the 54% Obama percentage gives Republicans a shot at this district in a Republican year.

Ohio's 14th Congressional District Steve LaTourette (R) Olive
Presidential Data: Obama 191,168 51.8%, McCain 172,047 46.8%
Average: Dem 56.0%, Rep 44.0%
Old Presidential Data: McCain 49%, Obama 49%
Demographics 18+: 3.5% African American, 92.2% White
Status: Lean Republican if Tourette runs, Tossup if not

The 14th congressional district does not undergo major changes. It retains most of its current territory and it becomes more Democratic as it loses conservative parts of Summit County while gaining Democratic leaning Portage County and Democratic parts of Cuyahoga County. These areas are mostly communities of interest by being in the northeastern corner of Ohio. As for the district's representation, LaTourette is very popular and moderate and won in the wave years of 2006 and 2008. If he decides to retire though, Democrats will be very competitive here and the district should trend Democratic as Democrats in Cleveland move further out into suburbs in areas such as Lake County.

Ohio's 15th Congressional District Steve Strivers (R) DarkOrange
Presidential Data: Obama 207,581 61.6%, McCain 123,762 36.7%
Average: Dem 60.9%, Rep 39.1%
Old Presidential Data: Obama 54%, McCain 45%
Demographics 18+: 4.2% Hispanic, 17.2% African American, 72.8% White
Status: Safe Democratic

The 15th congressional district  loses rural Madison and Union Counties and now is completely inside Franklin County (Columbus.) These changes help representation for communities of interest by eliminating rural parts of the district and making it centered around urban Columbus. As for the district's representation, Obama's percentage increases from 54% to 62%, eliminating any chance for Republicans. Strivers has no real option on this map because the new 15th district is too Democratic for him and Tiberi is too popular for a successful primary challenge. As for the Democrat in this district, the candidates who are planning to run in the Columbus district on the Republicans' map such as Mary Jo Kilroy (D) probably would run here.

Ohio's 16th Congressional District Tim Ryan (D) Lime
Presidential Data: Obama 204,470 56.5%, McCain 149,673 41.3%
Average: Dem 70.7%, Rep 29.3%
Old Presidential Data: Obama 62%, McCain 36%
Demographics 18+: 8.1% African American, 88.5% White
Status: Safe Democratic

The current 17th district becomes the 16th district and gains some industrial counties along the Ohio River valley while retaining the Youngstown area. This district represents communities of interest by combining industrial counties in eastern Ohio. The Youngstown area is Democratic but the Ohio River counties are more swingy so the addition of those counties bring Obama's percentage down to 57%. The Average Democrat's performance is 71% though, suggesting this area still votes heavily Democratic for local races. Although this district certainly looks Democratic enough to support Ryan, by the end of the decade, it could become more competitive if white working class voters continue to trend Republican.

1 comment:

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