Thursday, July 30, 2015

California Redistricting: What Could Have Happened

In late June of 2015, the marriage equality case was the Supreme Court case received the most attention. At the same time, the Supreme Court ruled that redistricting commissions (non elected people who are Democrats, Republicans and Independents) can draw redistricting maps. This works out well for Democrats because Republicans have recently drawn convoluted maps across the country including a map with 12-4 Republican districts in Ohio even though President Obama won Ohio in 2012. One district in Florida (drawn by Republicans) represents parts of Orlando and Jacksonville that are almost 200 miles away from each other. Also, if the Supreme Court ruled against the commission, Arizona which has a commission would have redrawn its map and given two seats to the Republicans. In California though, the Democrats would have had to do a mid decade redistricting.

My map shows what the Democrats could do if the Supreme Court ruled the commission unconstitutional and the Democrats performed mid decade redistricting. This map shores up many of their vulnerable incumbents who won close races in 2014. It is a 43-10 Democratic map. While the Democrats could try to draw a 45-8 map, that would cause them to create more convoluted lines and if "good Government groups" lobbied against a strong gerrymander, many Democrats  may decide to go for a map that does not have convoluted lines and mostly respects communities of interest while still increasing Democratic chances in four Republican held districts. Also, many Democratic incumbents will not want drastic changes in their district lines so I did not make major changes to Bay Area seats and many LA ones. I also followed the Voting Rights Act which requires districts to be drawn to elect Hispanic, African American and Asian representatives.

Overall, the map I drew aims to add four new Democratic seats without strongly violating communities of interest and having convoluted lines.

The current map is here and here

The current data is here:

Unless the district is listed below, there were no changes made.

New Map Data:

 (Northern California) 

New Data: (the new data is not as accurate for larger counties such as Los Angeles unless it is the 2008 election. Also, all percentages are based on the two party vote).

Sacramento Area: 

District 3: John Garamendi (D) Likely Democratic Purple
Political Data: (2012): Obama 56.5% (2008): Obama 57.1% (2010 Gubernatorial): Brown 54.4%
Demographics 18+: W 54%, AA 6%, Asian 11%, H 24%

The 3rd district becomes a point more Democratic by losing all of Sacramento County and gaining part of Democratic leaning West Sacramento. Garamendi has successfully held this district in 2014 and should continue to represent it.

District 6 Doris Matsui (D) Safe Democratic Teal
Political Data: (2012): Obama 62.9% (2008) Obama 62.9% (2010 Gubernatorial): Brown 63.3%
Demographics 18+: W 54%, AA 9%, Asian 12%, H 20%

The 6th district increases from 30% R to 37% R by adding the Citrus Heights area but remains safely Democratic.

District 7 Ami Bera (D) Likely Democratic Grey
Political Data: (2012): Obama 57.4% (2008): Obama 57.3%, (2010 Gubernatorial): Brown 56.9%
Demographics 18+: W 51%, AA 10%, Asian 18%, H 16%

The 7th district becomes more Democratic by removing the Citrus Heights area and adding southern Sacramento. The 2008 Obama percentage increases from 52.7% to 57.3%, meaning Rep. Bera would have won by nine points in 2014. With the higher Democratic percentages, after 2016, the 7th district will no longer hold the title of the district with the most expensive congressional race.

Central California

District 10 Jeff Denham (R) Safe Republican Pink
Political Data: (2012): Obama 43.4%, (2008): Obama 43.1%, (2010 Gubernatorial): Brown 37.8%
Demographics 18+: W 60%, AA 3%, Asian 12%, Hispanic 27%

The 10th district becomes more Republican at it loses  Democratic parts of Stanislaus County (Modesto) and gains heavily  Republican parts of Merced, Madera and Fresno Counties (including Clovis). Denham will have no trouble here.


District 16 Jim Costa (D) Likely Democratic Green
Political Data: (2012): Obama 61.2% (2008): Obama 60.9% (2010 Gubernatorial): Brown 56.2%
Demographics 18+: W 35%, AA 4%, H 52%, Asian 7%

The 16th district undergoes major changes. It loses all of Fresno, parts of Merced County and gains Democratic leaning Tracy in San Joaquin County, Democratic leaning parts of Stanislaus County, Gilroy in Santa Clara County, San Benito County and heavily Hispanic parts of Monterey County. The 16th district is rated as "Likely Democratic" because Costa had a close race in a similar district in 2014 but the addition of Tracy (it has higher turnout) and Monterey County should  help protect Costa. Also, there is a chance State Sen. Anthony Cannella (R) who represents a district with similar lines may run but the district he represents is more Republican, making  the 16th district easier for Democrats to win.

Sidenote: Merced County is split under this map and Section 5 of the VRA prevents that but in 2013, Section 5 was found unconstitutional so I chose to split Merced County.


District 20 Sam Farr (D) Safe Democratic Pink
Political Data: (2012) Obama 70.0%, (2008): Obama 70.4%, (2010 Gubernatorial): Brown 64.9%
Demographics 18+: W 47%, AA 3%, H 41%, Asian 6%

The 20th district undergoes a major change as it loses some heavily Hispanic parts of the Salinas Valley to the 16th district which has similar lines to SD-12. The 20th district then gains heavily Republican Kings County but remains strongly Democratic.

District 21 David Valadao (R) Tilt Democratic Dark Brown
Political Data: (2012) Obama 55.0%, (2008): Obama 54.8%, (2010 Gubernatorial): Brown 53.4%
Demographics 18+: W 22%, AA 5%, H 67%, Asian 4%

The current 21st district voted for President Obama but is represented by a Republican because the Republican has a strong base in Kings County which has high turnout. Also, many of the rural Hispanic voters (especially in Fresno County) are swing voters. The Kern County part votes strongly Democratic however. The new 21st district removes all of Kings and western Fresno Counties and instead adds heavily Hispanic parts of Tulare county where Rep. Valadao does not have a base. Without his base in the district, Valadao may attract a strong challenger such as Assm. Salas who represents Democratic parts of Kern County. Also, the real Obama 2012 percentage is probably close to 57% due to the heavily Hispanic parts of the Central Valley swinging further to Obama than the rest of the counties it represents did.

District 22 Kevin McCarthy (R) vs. Devin Nunes (R) Safe Republican Brown
Political Data: (2012) Obama 35.4%, (2008): Obama 35.4%, (2010 Gubernatorial): Obama 34.0%
Demographics 18+ W 62%, AA 3%, H 28%, Asian 4%

The 22nd district gains heavily Republican parts of San Luis Obispo County and parts of Tulare County. By being the Majority Leader, McCarthy should be safe from a primary challenge from Rep. Nunes. Nunes may run in the 21st district but probably would lose to Valadao in a primary.


District 23 Open Likely Democratic
Political Data: (2012) Obama 59.5% (2008) Obama 59.8%, (2010 Gubernatorial): Brown 55.3%
Demographics 18+: W 28%, AA 6%, H 55%, Asian 9%

This new district represents heavily Hispanic parts of Fresno (city) as well as western Fresno County. With the strong anchor of Fresno City and more straight ticket urban Democrats, Democrats should be extremely favored here. If Rep. Costa stays in the 16th, Assm. Perea or Assembly candidate Arambula may consider this seat.


Southern California: 

District 24 Open Likely Democratic Dark Purple
Political Data: (2012) Obama 58.3%, (2008) Obama 60.6%, (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 52.7%
Demographics 18+: W 62%, A 2%, H 30%, Asian 5%

The 24th district loses Republican parts of San Luis Obispo County and gains Ventura in Ventura County, increasing the Democratic percentage by a few points. With a competitive congressional race brewing here, this change should make the district much more Democratic.

District 25 Steve Knight (R) Likely Democratic Tan/Pink
Political Data: (2008) Obama 56.7%, (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 50.3%
Demographics 18+: W 49%, AA 9%, H 32%, Asian 8%

The 25th district loses heavily Republican Simi Valley and Santa Clarita and instead traverses the San Gabriel Mountains and gains Burbank and part of Glendale. This area has high turnout even during midterms and I find it hard to see Burbank/Glendale voters ticket splitting for Knight, an Antelope Valley Republican.

LA Metropolitan Area

District 26 Julia Brownley (D) Likely Democratic
Political Data: (2008) Obama 57.7% (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 49.5%
Demographics 18+: W 48%, AA 2%, H 39%, Asian 8%

The 26th district's partisanship stays stable as it loses Thousand Oaks and gains Simi Valley and Democratic leaning parts of the San Fernando Valley west of the 22. Brownley may want more Democratic votes but she won in 2014, a horrible year for Democrats against the Republican "dream" candidate. The district will only continue to trend Democratic as the Hispanic population increases. Brownley can continue to send her weekly fundraising emails.

District 28 Adam Schiff (D) Safe Democratic Pink Gray (representing Beverly Hills)
Political Data: (2008) Obama 75.6% (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 70.6%
Demographics 18+: W 60%, AA 3%, H 20%, Asian 14%

The 28th district loses most of Burbank/Glendale and goes as far west as the 405 in the Westside. Schiff should be safe from a primary challenge but when he retires, I expect a major Westside battle for this seat.

District 29 Tony Cardenas (D) Safe Democratic Green/Gray (representing San Fernando Valley)
Political Data: (2008) Obama 75.9% (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 72.6%
Demographics 18+: W 22%, AA 4%, H 63%, Asian 9%

A few minor changes. None of them should affect Cardenas.

District 30 Brad Sherman (D) Safe Democratic Orange/Pink (representing San Fernando Valley)
Political Data: (2008) Obama 62.9%, (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 55.1%
Demographics 18+: W 55%, AA 4%, H 26%, Asian 13%

Sherman helps the team out by gaining Republican leaning Santa Clarita. Sherman however should be safe with his San Fernando Valley base anchoring his district.

District 31 Pete Aguilar (D) Likely Democratic Light Yellow (representing San Bernardino)
Political Data: (2008) Obama 58.3%, (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 54.4%
Demographics 18+: W 34%, AA 11%, H 46%, Asian 8%

The 31st district mostly remains the same. It still leans Democratic and should continue to trend Democratic as the Hispanic population grows. Aguilar won here in 2014 so as long as two Republicans and another Democrat challenge him at the same time, he should be safe.

LA County 
District 33 Ted Lieu (D) Safe Democratic (Blue, representing LA Coast)
Political Data: (2008) Obama 63.0%, (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 53.8%
Demographics 18+: W 73%, AA 3%, H 11%, Asian 11%

If one Democrat is not happy with the map, Lieu might be that Democrat. The 33rd district loses all of the Westisde east of the 405 and gains Thousand Oaks which narrowly leans Republican. At the same time, the 33rd district gains all of Westchester. Seeing how Lieu won by 16 points in 2014, a Republican year, he should be safe but may have to campaign a little bit in Republican years.

District 35 Norma Torres (D) Safe Democratic Purple (representing San Bernardino County)
Political Data: (2008) Obama 65.9%, (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 62.9%
Demographics 18+: W 20%, AA 7%, H 64%, Asian 8%

Besides a few minor changes, the district remains similar. Torres should be safe.

District 36 Raul Ruiz (D) Likely Democratic Orange (representing Riverside County)
Political Data: (2008) Obama 53.8%, (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 48.8%
Demographics 18+: W 48%, AA 5%, H 41%, Asian 4%

Ruiz's district becomes two points more Democratic as it loses part of Hemet and gains part of Moreno Valley. I decided not to trade more of Hemet and Moreno Valley in order to prevent the 41st from being too convoluted. Anyway, Ruiz won by 8 points in 2014, a Republican year against a strong candidate (Assm. Nestande) showing that Ruiz is popular. Also, Brown in 2014 overperformed Obama in 2012, the only district where he did so in the Inland Empire, showing the 36th is trending Democratic very quickly.

District 37 Karen Bass (D) Safe Democratic Light Blue (representing Central LA)
Political Data: (2008) Obama 87.2%, (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 84.1%
Demographics 18+: W 26%, AA 26%, H 35%, Asian 10%

There are a few small changes but Bass's district remains one of the most Democratic in California and the country.

District 38 Linda Sanchez (D) Safe Democratic Turquoise (representing southeast LA County)
Political Data (2008) Obama 63.3% (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 60.6%
Demographics 18+: W 22%, AA 3%, H 57%, Asian 17%

The 38th district gains heavily Hispanic precincts in La Habra and a few near Long Beach. Otherwise, it does not change and remains heavily Hispanic and Democratic.

Orange County/Inland Empire
District 39 Ed Royce (R) Safe Republican Light Tan (representing Orange County)
Political Data: (2008) Obama 44.2%, (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 34.2%
Demographics 18+: W 54%, AA 2%, H 18%, Asian 23%

The 39th district becomes more Republican. It loses Democratic leaning Buena Park and southern Fullerton. It gains heavily Republican parts of southern Orange County. Royce should not have major problems.

District 41 Mark Takano (D) Safe Democratic Grey (representing Inland Empire)
Political Data: (2008) Obama 58.5%, (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 54.6%
Demographics 18+: W 33%, AA 8%, H 50%, Asian 7%

The 41st district becomes a point more Republican as it loses part of Moreno Valley to the 36th but the 58.5% Obama number should be enough to protect Takano.

District  42 Ken Calvert (R) Safe Republican Green (representing Inland Empire)
Political Data: (2008) Obama 43.9%, (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 37.5%
Demographics 18+: W 53%, AA 5%, H 30%, Asian 9%

The 42nd district gains part of Hemet and loses heavily Hispanic parts of Corona. It remains Republican by representing conservative parts of southern Riverside County.

District 43 Maxine Waters (D) Safe Democratic Light Pink (representing South LA area)
Political Data: (2008) Obama 75.6%, (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 71.8%
Demographics 18+: W 17%, AA 23%, H 42%, Asian 15%

The 43rd district gains a few Republican leaning precincts in Torrance to strengthen the 33rd but remains strongly Democratic.

District 44 Open (Nanette Barragan (D) vs. Isadore Hall (D)) Safe Democratic Dark Pink (representing Compton)
Political Data: (2008) Obama 81.7% (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 80.3%
Demographics 18+: W 11%, AA 17%, H  63%, Asian 7%

The 44th district becomes a point more Republican by gaining marginal precincts in Long Beach to shore up the 47th district.

District 45 John Campbell (R)? Leans Democratic Light Blue (representing Orange County)
Political Data: (2008) Obama 56.6% (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 46.1%
Demographics 18+: W 45%, AA 2%, H 30%, Asian 21%

The 45th district is the 2nd Democratic district in Orange County. It is a combination of Rohrabacher and Campbell's seats. It represents half of heavily Hispanic Santa Ana, Democratic leaning parts of Costa Mesa, Democratic leaning Irvine and Laguna Beach. Some may argue that this seat leans Republican due to Brown receiving 46% here in 2010. Part of that can be attributed to Whitman performing extremely well with high income voters (it is unknown but likely that Brown won this district in 2014). The major ticket splitters in Orange County are the Vietnamese voters mainly located in Garden Grove and Westminister  which are in the Republican 48th district. The Asian voters in Irvine and the  Hispanic voters in Santa Ana are less likely to ticket split, therefore preventing a scenario similar to SD-34 where the Vietnamese voters overwhelmingly supported Janet Nguyen (R) even though many of them backed President Obama in 2012 as shown by data from Garden Grove, a heavily Vietnamese community in SD-34 but not in the 45th district. Former Irvine Mayor Sukhee Kang could be a strong fit for this district. Also, with Democrats winning narrowly Democratic leaning districts with high  numbers of upscale White voters in CA-26 and CA-52, it shows that these voters who voted Republican in the early 2000s are open to voting for Democrats on a congressional as well as Presidential level.

District 46 Open Safe Democratic Brown (representing Central Orange County)
Political Data: (2008) Obama 58.7% (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 53.6%
Demographics 18+ W 25%, AA 2%, H 56%, Asian 15%

The 46th district becomes more Republican as it loses part of heavily Democratic Santa Ana and gains less Democratic southern Fullerton and Buena Park. While Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D) may not run for House because she is running for Senate (even after he "wha wha wha wha" moment where she "mimicked" Native Americans). Lou Correa (D) has expressed interest in this seat. The 15% Asian population is primarily Vietnamese but it is not large enough to make an impact even with ticket splitting as the 2010 race showed.

District 47 Alan Lowenthal (D) Likely Democratic Light Grey (representing Long Beach)
Political Data: (2008) Obama 58.9% (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 49.8%
Demographics 18+: W 50%, AA 8%, H 26%, Asian 13%

The 47th district loses Garden Grove and gains most of Huntington and Newport Beaches which are Republican. At  the same time, the 47th district gains some heavily Hispanic areas in western Long Beach. The Orange County portion of the district is Republican but the addition of the Hispanic precincts in Long Beach should help counterbalance it. Also, Lowenthal won the 47th district in 2014 by 12 points, showing he can win this district even in a Republican year.

District 48 Vacant Dana Rohrabacher (R)? Safe Republican Orange/Brown (representing Orange County)
Political Data: (2008) Obama 45.9% (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 39.9%
Demographics 18+: W 42%,  AA 2%, H 23%, Asian 31%

Do not be fooled by the high percentage of minorities in the 48th district. This district is solidly Republican by combining heavily Republican parts of Fullerton with heavily Republican parts of Huntington Beach and heavily Vietnamese Garden Grove. Rohrabacher would probably prefer to run here instead of the 47th which has much of his current territory. The 48th district is much more Republican than the 47th and does not have an incumbent.

District 49 Darrell Issa (R) Safe Republican Brown (representing North County)
Political Data: (2008) Obama 47.6%, (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 37.6%
Demographics 18+: W 65%, AA 3%, H 22%, Asian 8%

Issa's district becomes a few points more Republican. The former car thief will be safe.

San Diego:

District 50 Duncan Hunter Jr. (R) Safe Republican (light blue)
Political Data: (2008) Obama 40.3%,(2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 33.7%
Demographics 18+: W 63%, AA 2%, H 26%, Asian 6%

A few minor tweaks but the district remains one of the most Republican in California.

District 51 Juan Vargas (D) Safe Democratic (brown)
Political Data: (2008) Obama 65.1%, (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 62.0%
Demographics 18+: W 20%, AA 7%, H 62%, Asian 9%

A few tweaks here too. The district remains heavily Hispanic and Democratic.

District 52 Scott Peters (D) Safe Democratic (green)
Political Data: (2008) Obama 60.8%, (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 50.3%
Demographics 18+: W 65%, AA 3%, H 12%, Asian 17%

The 52nd district becomes more Democratic as it loses Republican leaning areas in northern San Diego and gains neighborhoods near Downtown. These changes would meant that Peters would have won in 2014 by double digits. He should be fine with the 60.8% Obama numbers and this should deter major Republican challengers.

District 53 Susan Davis (D) Safe Democratic (white)
Political Data: (2008) Obama 61.6% (2010 Gubernatorial) Brown 55.5%
Demographics 18+: W 46%, AA 8%, H 29%, Asian 14%

The district becomes a few points more Republican but should remain strongly Democratic and safe for Rep. Davis.




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