Redistricting California: 45 Democrats ?

I had three main goals in mind when thinking about redistricting California:

1.)  Make the new map less gerrymandered than the current one, keeping more communities together in the same district.  

2.)  Increase the number of Hispanic-majority districts in the state, while preserving all the current Hispanic-represented seats.  

3.)  Increase Democratic representation in the state delegation.

All three goals above are met by the proposed map.  Incumbent protection was a lesser goal.  Nevertheless, at least for Democratic Representatives, this goal was also met by this proposal.

Under the proposed plan, 44 districts are made to be Democratic, 7 to be Republican, and 2 to be swing districts (one of which, CA-4, would have certainly gone Democratic in the 2006 and 2008 Congressional elections if the proposed plan was in place, and the other, CA-48, could quite conceivably go Democratic in the near future).  

Bottom line: if these lines had been in effect during the 2008 elections, Democrats would have likely won 45 of the 53 districts

This diary is broken into three parts.  First, the maps.  Second, a discussion of my main goals.  Third, a discussion of individual districts.








1.)  Make the new map less gerrymandered than the current one, keeping more communities together in the same district.  The map does just that.  (Btw, this plan assumes that the number of districts in the state will remain at 53.  The plan also accounts for different rates of growth within the state between 2000 and 2010 — coastal areas have generally grown 10% or less, while many inland areas have grown 20-30% since 2000.)

Under the current (2002) plan, 30 incorporated cities in California are split between two or more districts.  Under the proposed map, only 10 incorporated cities are split; they are:

Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose – must be necessarily split because they are too big for one district.  District boundaries in San Francisco change slightly.  Areas of San Jose constitute parts of three different districts under the new plan (as in the current plan, except one of the districts is not the same).  

San Diego is currently split among five districts, while under the proposed plan it is split among only four, as the CA-50 and CA-52 parts of the city of San Diego are combined into one district, CA-50 (with the new plan, the bulk of  San Diego’s population is actually split among only three districts, CA-50, CA-51 and CA-53; the Rancho Bernardo community in the extreme northern area of the city becomes part of another district but that area contains only about 1% of the city’s population).  

Under the current plan, parts of Los Angeles belong to 14 different districts; under the proposed plan, areas of LA are part of only 11 districts (and two of the 11 contain only very small portions of the city).

It should be noted that, in cities which are split among districts, I also tried to redraw the lines, where possible, so that distinct neighborhoods or city areas are not split between districts.  For example, the Van Nuys section of LA is currently split between CA-27 and CA-28; under the proposed plan all of it falls under CA-28.

Anaheim, Garden Grove, Bakersfield, Fresno – are split in order to preserve majority Hispanic districts in Orange County and the Central Valley.

Fremont – this is the only area not split under the current plan, but divided under the proposed map.  Population shifts in Alameda County and Fremont’s relatively large size in land area made it hard for me not to divide the city. (Area-wise, Fremont is bigger than either San Francisco or Oakland; the city was originally five smaller towns which merged in 1956.)

Long Beach – under the new plan, it’s almost all in one district ! (97% is in the new CA-37, with the remaining narrow coastal sliver — which exists under the current plan as well — connecting two parts of CA-46).

Additionally, when looking at unincorporated communities in California, under the current plan, 29 are split among one or more districts, while under the proposed plan only  seven are split.  Furthermore, many areas which remain split are “less” split under the proposed map.  For example, currently East LA is split among three different districts, while under the proposed plan, it is split only between two districts.

2.) The next goal was to increase the number of Hispanic-majority districts in the state, while preserving all the current Hispanic-represented seats.  The Hispanic population in the state has grown rapidly, and the new map reflects this reality.  All the Hispanic-represented seats remain intact, while four new Hispanic-majority seats are created – Districts 19, 26, 40 and 44.  

CA-35 also becomes Hispanic-majority.  Even according to the 2000 Census numbers, the current CA-35 was already 47.4% Hispanic, and only 34% African-American (even though among registered voters, the numbers may have been roughly reversed); the new district’s boundaries change slightly to encompass South Gate to the east of the current district, and, combined with Hispanic population growth within the area, the new district should be approximately 66% Hispanic.  Bottom line: once Maxine Waters retires, CA-35 is quite likely to elect a Hispanic representative.

3.) The third goal was to increase Democratic representation in the state delegation.  Under the proposed plan, 44 districts are made to be Democratic, 7 to be Republican, and 2 to be swing districts (one of which, CA-4, would have certainly gone Democratic in the 2006 and 2008 Congressional elections if the proposed plan was in place, and the other, CA-48, could quite conceivably go Democratic in the near future).  

What’s great here is that 44 Democratic seats can be created while making the map less gerrymandered than it is now (I can think of no reason for the way the 2002 map looks other than that it was intentionally gerrymandered — by Democrats no less — to intentionally help certain Republicans to survive, even as it attained the same goal for a number of Democrats; even a purely politically-neutral map would have resulted in more Democrats today).

Under the proposed plan, Obama wins the following 26 districts by at least a 24.0 point margin:

Districts # 1, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 26, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 44, 46, 51, 53

Needless to say, all of the above districts voted for John Kerry in 2004 (all but two were won by at least 8 points, while Kerry was losing the national vote by 2.5 points).  The Democratic margin here is something akin to “safe” Democratic when classifying districts.

Obama wins the following 16 districts by a 17.0 to 23.9 point margin:

Districts # 2, 3, 6, 19, 20, 23, 24, 25, 27, 37, 38, 39, 40, 43, 47, 50

All of the above districts also voted for John Kerry in 2004, except Districts 19, 40, 43, 47 and 50 which Bush won barely with percentages ranging from 49.6 to 50.9% of the vote.  The Democratic margin (and voting history in the case of many of these districts) suggests something akin to “likely” Democratic when classifying these.

Obama wins the following two districts by a margin of approximately 14 to 15 points:

Districts # 11 and 18.

In 2004, Bush received approximately 52-53% of the vote in both districts above.  The voting history here (discussed in detail later in this diary) though, suggests that these seats will stay in Democratic hands.  Conventional wisdom would classify these two as “lean” Democratic, though recent voting history in both suggests they could be on the cusp of “likely.”

The following two districts should be considered “toss-up” based on Democratic margin and voting history (again, the diary will discuss the reasoning):

CA-4 which Obama lost by 3.4 points.

CA-48, which Obama won by a 6.5 point margin.


Obama loses the following seven districts by a margin of 9.4 to 25.2 points:

Districts # 21, 22, 41, 42, 45, 49, 52

All of the above also voted for Bush over Kerry in 2004 by at least a 63/36 margin.  These are all destined to stay “safe” GOP (unless there’s a major, major scandal !).  Note the absence of any “likely” GOP or “lean” GOP districts under this proposal …. there are just way too many of those under the map currently in effect !

The point here is that you can indeed create this many Democratic seats — and add between 10 to 12 Democrats to California’s delegation — while keeping community lines intact.  One can imagine what you could do if the lines were tweaked just a bit more, and some district boundaries crossed irregularly across city/community lines.  An Obama +18 district could easily be turned into an Obama +20 district (it wouldn’t take much actually, and the districts would still look pretty compact; for an example re. how a district can be made more Democratic, see the entry under “District 48” in the body of the post).   However, my goal was to see if you could create both a more Democratic map, and a less gerrymandered one at the same time, and the answer clearly is yes.  Others certainly could take the template of this map and refine the lines further, whereby the Democratic seats became even more Democratic.

Note that not mentioned as one of the three goals above is incumbent protection.  I tried to match incumbents with their current districts, and, at least for Democratic members, was mostly successful.  The goal here was more long-term, looking down the whole decade, and the other considerations took precedence.

One last thing to remember here: if this plan were adopted, it would first come into effect in 2012 – coinciding with the next Presidential election.  Having President Obama on the ballot (in 2012, when candidates would first run for these new seats), thus, had an effect in my design of the districts here, including political considerations like coattails… the point is that if these lines had been in effect during the 2008 elections, Democrats would have likely won 45 of the 53 districts (the 26 “safe” ones above; 16 “likely” ones; 2 “lean” ones; and CA-4 with Charlie Brown as our nominee).  If there’s some sort of future GOP wave election, even some of the “likely” Democratic seats may not hold; but all things being (relatively) even, this plan  should result in a considerable increase in the number of Democrats in the state’s delegation for the next decade.

Now (finally !) to the discussion of individual districts:

District 1:

Incumbent: Mike Thompson (St. Helena)

Current District:  Obama 65.6%; McCain 31.7% (Obama + 33.9)

Proposed District:  Obama 63.1%; McCain 35.1% (Obama + 28.0)

Proposed District:  Kerry 56.6%; Bush 42.2%

This district combines parts of the current CA-1 (Napa and Yolo Counties) with San Francisco suburbs in Marin and Sonoma Counties and Sacramento suburbs in Sacramento and  Placer Counties.  Yolo is no longer split between districts, but Marin now is.  Placer is also split, but the western suburban part of the county is quite different from the central and eastern Sierra Nevada area.  Overall, it’s a pretty suburban to exurban district, with rural areas here and there.  The Democratic percentage goes down a bit, but it’s still a solidly Democratic district.

District 2:  

Incumbent: None

Current District:  Obama 42.6%; McCain 55.0% (McCain + 12.4)

Proposed District:  Obama 60.0%; McCain 37.4% (Obama + 22.6)

Proposed District:  Kerry 54.8%; Bush 43.4%

The new CA-2 includes only a small part of the current CA-2 – Siskiyou and Trinity Counties and part of Shasta Co. around Redding.  Most of the territory comes from the current CA-1, with parts from CA-4 and CA-6.  The new district becomes a true “north coast” district (unlike the old CA-1 which included only the coast north of Gualala), following the entire coast and redwood belt from the Golden Gate to the Oregon border (OK … I must admit this is my favorite part of California).  Overall, it’s a rural/small town district, with some suburban pockets in the far south.  Politically, it’s quite Democratic, and overall, leans towards the progressive side (against Prop. 8, anti-war, etc.).  This plan puts Lynn Woolsey in the new CA-6, but perhaps she would be more comfortable running here (?).  Her home is in Petaluma, just over the border, and the lines could be easily tweaked (substituting Petaluma for Rohnert Park for instance) without changing the overall political makeup of either CA-6 or CA-2.

District 3:  

Incumbent: Tom McClintock (Elk Grove – ultimate carpetbagger McClintock doesn’t even live in his current district, CA-4, after having just recently moved from southern California to Elk Grove in the current CA-3 !; CA-3 incumbent Congressman Dan Lungren – another former carpetbagger – is drawn out of his district under this plan).

Current District:  Obama 49.3%; McCain 48.8% (Obama + 0.5)

Proposed District:  Obama 58.1%; McCain 40.1% (Obama + 18.0)

Proposed District:  Kerry 49.3%; Bush 49.9%

The proposed CA-3 is made up of most of Sacramento County outside the city of Sacramento.  It also includes Pittsburg in Contra Costa Co., just across from the southern tip of Sacramento Co.  The district is more compact than the current CA-3, being mostly confined to just one county.  Additionally, many communities in Sacramento Co. are no longer split between districts – these include incorporated places like Elk Grove and Rancho Cordova as well as unincorporated areas like Arden-Arcade, Foothill Farms and North Highlands.  A Democrat should do well running here.  In 2008 Lungren only won the current district (Obama +0.5) by a 49.4 to 44.0 margin.  One can only imagine just how well a Democrat would do in an Obama +18 district !

District 4:  

Incumbents: Wally Herger (Chico); Dan Lungren (Gold River); also see entry under “District 3” above.

Current District:  Obama 43.8%; McCain 54.0% (McCain + 10.2)

Proposed District:  Obama 47.2%; McCain 50.6% (McCain + 3.4)

Proposed District:  Kerry 40.8%; Bush 57.7%

The new CA-4 follows the entire crest of the Sierra Nevada Mountains from Lassen National Park in the north to Mt. Whitney in the south.  At its southern end it also includes Death Valley.  The plan splits Placer and El Dorado Counties but puts parts of Butte Co., previously in two districts, back into one.  The proposed district is somewhat more Democratic than the current one – enough so that Charlie Brown would have very likely won under the current lines – both in 2006 and 2008 (Brown lost by a 3.4 point margin in 2006 and by 0.4 points last year; the new district becomes 6.8 points more Democratic — as measured by the Obama margin — which would have enabled Brown to win if he ran under the proposed lines, all other things being even).  Tom McClintock doesn’t live in the district as redrawn — but then again, he doesn’t live in the existing one either !

District 5:  

Incumbent: Doris Matsui (Sacramento)

Current District:  Obama 69.6%; McCain 28.4% (Obama + 41.2)

Proposed District:  Obama 61.4%; McCain 36.6% (Obama + 24.8)

Proposed District:  Kerry 52.9%; Bush 46.1%

CA-5 combines all of the city of Sacramento with GOP-leaning suburbs in Sacramento and Placer Counties (Citrus Heights, Orangevale, Rocklin, Granite Bay).   Almost exactly two-thirds of the population is in Sacramento, which sets the political tone of the district.

District 6:

Incumbent: Lynn Woolsey (Petaluma)

Current District:  Obama 76.0%; McCain 22.0% (Obama + 54.0)

Proposed District:  Obama 58.7%; McCain 39.1% (Obama + 19.6)

Proposed District:  Kerry 52.5%; Bush 46.0%

The new District 6 combines much of exurban — though very progressive — Sonoma County (approximately 45% of the new district’s population) with Lake County, part of the Sacramento River Valley and Lassen County, in the northeastern part of the state.  As mentioned under “District 2” above, perhaps Woolsey would be more comfortable running in the new CA-2; however, the new CA-6 contains much of her territory, population-wise, and is only slightly less Democratic than CA-2.  

District 7:

Incumbent: George Miller (Martinez)

Current District:  Obama 71.4%; McCain 26.4% (Obama + 45.0)

Proposed District:  Obama 65.1%; McCain 33.1% (Obama + 32.0)

Proposed District:  Kerry 59.8%; Bush 39.1%

The new CA-7 combines all of Solano County (no longer split among three different districts) with areas of north-central Contra Costa County — Martinez, Concord (no longer split between two districts), Clayton, Pleasant Hill, etc.  The district remains solidly Democratic.

District 8:  

Incumbent: Nancy Pelosi (San Francisco)

Current District:  Obama 85.2%; McCain 12.4% (Obama + 72.8)

Proposed District:  Obama 85.5%; McCain 12.4% (Obama + 73.1)

Proposed District:  Kerry 84.6%; Bush 14.1%

The size of new district expands slightly as the southern end of City Supervisor District # 8 becomes part of CA-8 (all of that district is in CA-8 under the new lines); part of City Supervisor District # 7 (around Golden Gate Heights and Forest Hill) is also added.

District 9:  

Incumbent: Barbara Lee (Oakland)

Current District:  Obama 88.1%; McCain 9.9% (Obama + 78.2)

Proposed District:  Obama 82.6%; McCain 15.5% (Obama + 67.1)

Proposed District:  Kerry 79.5%; Bush 19.0%

Combines ultra-progressive areas in Oakland, Berkeley and adjoining smaller towns with (relatively) more conservative areas in Contra Costa County (Moraga, Orinda, Danville, Brentwood, etc.).

District 10:  

Incumbent: None currently (Ellen Tauscher has vacated seat)

Current District:  Obama 64.7%; McCain 33.1% (Obama + 31.6)

Proposed District:  Obama 64.2%; McCain 34.0% (Obama + 30.2)

Proposed District:  Kerry 58.4%; Bush 40.5%

Combines a central swath of Contra Costa Co. (from Richmond in the west to Bethel Island in the east) with parts of more inland California (northern San Joaquin Co.; Amador Co. and southern El Dorado Co.).  

District 11:  

Incumbent: Jerry McNerney (Pleasanton)

Current District:  Obama 53.8%; McCain 44.5% (Obama + 9.3)

Proposed District:  Obama 56.3%; McCain 42.0% (Obama + 14.3)

Proposed District:  Kerry 47.2%; Bush 51.9%

Combines suburban parts of Alameda Co. (Pleasanton, Dublin, etc.) with part of San Joaquin County (Stockton – no longer split between two districts; Tracy) and rural/small town areas in Stanislaus Co.  The new district becomes approximately 5 points more Democratic — at least as measured by the Obama margin — which should be a boost to McNerney’s future election chances.  (In 2006 McNerney won by 6.2 points, while last year he won by 10.6 points; all other things being even, if the Congressman ran under these lines his winning margin would have likely topped 11 points in 2006 and might have been 15 to 16 points in 2008).

District 12:  

Incumbent: Jackie Speier (Hillsborough)

Current District:  Obama 74.3%; McCain 23.9% (Obama + 50.4)

Proposed District:  Obama 73.9%; McCain 24.4% (Obama + 49.5)

Proposed District:  Kerry 70.6%; Bush 28.4%

Very similar to the current “Peninsula” district.  Boundaries in San Francisco shift a bit, while in San Mateo Co., Half Moon Bay is added from CA-14 as well as part of Redwood City (which is no longer split between two districts).

District 13:

Incumbent: Pete Stark (Fremont)

Current District:  Obama 74.4%; McCain 23.8% (Obama + 50.6)

Proposed District:  Obama 70.9%; McCain 27.2% (Obama + 43.7)

Proposed District:  Kerry 66.5%; Bush 32.2%

New district is focused mainly on Alameda County (Alameda, Hayward, San Leandro, Union City, Livermore, etc.), with a small part of Contra Costa attached (San Ramon).  Stark’s home in Fremont remains, though approximately 65% of the city becomes part of CA-15.

District 14:

Incumbent: Anna Eshoo (Atherton)

Current District:  Obama 73.1%; McCain 24.9% (Obama + 48.2)

Proposed District:  Obama 72.8%; McCain 25.2% (Obama + 47.6)

Proposed District:  Kerry 68.2%; Bush 30.5%

CA-14 becomes even more so the “Silicon Valley” district as the city of Santa Clara is added; other than that and the changes discussed under “District 12”, the boundaries stay quite similar.

District 15:  

Incumbent: Mike Honda (San Jose)

Current District:  Obama 68.4%; McCain 29.7% (Obama + 38.7)

Proposed District:  Obama 70.1%; McCain 28.3% (Obama + 41.8)

Proposed District:  Kerry 64.8%; Bush 34.3%

New district is still centered on San Jose; though the boundaries change in some places around the city.  The cities of Santa Clara and Gilroy are detached, while Newark and most of Fremont is attached, as the district shifts in a northern geographic direction.

District 16:  

Incumbent: Zoe Lofgren (San Jose)

Current District:  Obama 69.6%; McCain 28.8% (Obama + 40.8)

Proposed District:  Obama 66.4%; McCain 31.8% (Obama + 34.6)

Proposed District:  Kerry 60.2%; Bush 38.5%

The new CA-16 is centered on San Jose, as the current district.  Gilroy and Morgan Hill are added, while parts of northern San Jose are detached to form portions of the new CA-15 and CA-18.

District 17:

Incumbents: Sam Farr (Carmel); George Radanovich (Mariposa)                

Current District:  Obama 72.1%; McCain 25.8% (Obama + 46.3)

Proposed District:  Obama 61.0%; McCain 36.9% (Obama + 24.1)

Proposed District:  Kerry 54.6%; Bush 43.9%

The new district encompasses virtually the whole Monterey Bay littoral (from Santa Cruz to Carmel), then turns inland to include much of Merced Co. (except for the cities of Merced and Atwater), most of Madera Co. (except the city of Madera) and all of Mariposa, Tuolumne and Calaveras Counties.  Politically, the new boundaries preserve Sam Farr’s district while creating a new Hispanic-majority seat in the area at the same time (the new CA-19).  About 45% of the population of the new CA-17 is currently in Farr’s district; while approximately 29% is in Radanovich’s (the rest comes mostly out of the current CA-18).  Additionally, Farr’s old territory is relatively more partisan (77% for Obama in the Santa Cruz/Monterey area) than Radanovich’s base area (only 56% for McCain in that part).   End result: a pretty solidly Democratic district.

District 18:  

Incumbent: Dennis Cardoza (Atwater)

Current District:  Obama 59.2%; McCain 39.0% (Obama + 20.2)

Proposed District:  Obama 56.0%; McCain 42.1% (Obama + 13.9)

Proposed District:  Kerry 46.4%; Bush 52.9%

CA-18 remains similar to the current district in many respects.  The district is expanded in Stanislaus Co. (Modesto is no longer split between districts, but is now wholly within CA-18); parts of Merced Co. (including the cities of Merced and Atwater) and San Joaquin Co. also remain.  The part of Stockton currently in CA-18 is detached, and Hispanic-majority areas in San Jose are substituted.  The district remains plurality Hispanic (around 46%).  Perhaps the only concern with the new district is that it’s a bit less Democratic than the current one.  When Cardoza first ran here in 2002 he faced Republican Dick Monteith.  Blue Dog Cardoza won that race by 9 points (he has won subsequent elections by much higher margins).  Even if Cardoza had ran his initial race in the new, less Democratic (by approximately 6 points) district, he would still have won.  If these concerns are not allayed, the district can pretty easily be made more Democratic by tweaking the lines, especially around San Jose.

District 19:  

Incumbent: None.

Current District:  Obama 46.0%; McCain 52.1% (McCain + 6.1)

Proposed District:  Obama 57.7%; McCain 40.7% (Obama + 17.0)

Proposed District:  Kerry 49.5%; Bush 49.6%

CA-19 is a new Hispanic-majority district (at approximately 52% of the population) encompassing much of Monterey County (including Salinas), all of San Benito Co. — both previously part of CA-17 — and areas of Madera and Fresno Counties previously part of CA-19 and CA-18.  Bush won here by a hair in 2004, but in 2008 the area swung strongly for Obama.

District 20:

Incumbent: Jim Costa (Fresno)

Current District:  Obama 59.6%; McCain 38.7% (Obama + 20.9)

Proposed District:  Obama 60.8%; McCain 37.5% (Obama + 23.3)

Proposed District:  Kerry 51.8%; Bush 47.3%

The district remains very, very similar to the current one, with a few areas removed in Fresno and Kings Counties to account for population growth.  The district continues to include parts of the cities of Fresno and Bakersfield, and stays Hispanic-majority.  

District 21:  

Incumbent: Devin Nunes (Tulare)

Current District:  Obama 42.1%; McCain 56.3% (McCain + 14.2)

Proposed District:  Obama 42.0%; McCain 56.4% (McCain + 14.4)

Proposed District:  Kerry 33.6%; Bush 65.6%

The new district remains similar to the current one, encompassing parts of Fresno and Tulare Counties.  It should be noted that the area contained in the current lines has a Hispanic population of close to 50%; however, in this part of California the Hispanic population forms a relatively small part of the electorate, and the district remains a GOP bastion.

District 22:  

Incumbent: Kevin McCarthy (Bakersfield)

Current District:  Obama 38.3%; McCain 59.7% (McCain + 21.4)

Proposed District:  Obama 36.5%; McCain 61.7% (McCain + 25.2)

Proposed District:  Kerry 29.4%; Bush 69.7%

CA-22 remains politically similar to the current district (though geographically, perhaps appears more similar to the 1992-2002 version of this district, with the addition of a part of Tulare Co.).  The San Luis Obispo Co. interior areas are detached, while interior Santa Barbara County is added.  Surprisingly, interior Santa Barbara is more conservative than interior areas of SLO (probably due to the relatively high military presence around Vandenberg AFB), even though the coastal area of Santa Barbara is considerably more progressive than coastal areas of SLO.  The new CA-22 is politically the most conservative in California, and it’s super conservative on social issues; almost three-fourth of the voters here went for Prop. 8.

District 23:  

Incumbent: Lois Capps (Santa Barbara)

Current District:  Obama 65.3%; McCain 32.3% (Obama + 33.0)

Proposed District:  Obama 59.2%; McCain 38.7% (Obama + 20.5)

Proposed District:  Kerry 52.4%; Bush 46.1%

The new district encompasses all of San Luis Obispo County (no longer divided among two districts), the coastal area of Santa Barbara Co. (with Lompoc added, and a few precincts on the outskirts of Santa Maria detached) and all of the city of Ventura (no longer split between districts) in Ventura Co.  Oxnard is no longer in the district.  The Democratic percentage is reduced, but Capps or another Democrat in the future should have no trouble here.

District 24:

Incumbent: None.

Current District:  Obama 50.5%; McCain 47.7% (Obama + 2.8)

Proposed District:  Obama 61.0%; McCain 37.3% (Obama + 23.7)

Proposed District:  Kerry 54.0%; Bush 44.8%

The new district combines much of Ventura Co. (except Simi Valley and the city of Ventura) with parts of Los Angeles Co. (Malibu, Santa Monica, and a tiny portion of the city of Los Angeles).  Bottom line here in four steps: (1) Elton Gallegly almost retired from Congress during the 2006 election cycle.  (2) He lives in Simi Valley (made part of CA-30 under this plan).  (3) The Democratic margin goes up by over 20 points.  (4) The redrawing of this district will assure Gallegly’s retirement.  

District 25:  

Incumbent: Adam Schiff (Burbank – see entry under “District 29” below).

Current District:  Obama 49.5%; McCain 48.3% (Obama + 1.2)

Proposed District:  Obama 59.7%; McCain 38.2% (Obama + 21.5)

Proposed District:  Kerry 51.2%; Bush 47.5%

The new CA-25 is no longer the crazy version of the current CA-25 which runs from the city of Los Angeles almost to Reno, Nevada !  The new 25th is confined entirely to Los Angeles County, combining the northern part of the county (Palmdale, Lancaster – which is no longer split between two districts) with areas further south – Burbank (no longer split between districts), West Hollywood and parts of the city of Los Angeles (Hollywood, Beverly Crest, Griffith Park, Sunland, Tujunga, etc.).  Perhaps combining Lancaster and Palmdale with West Hollywood may seem crazy as well, but the new district appears quite compact, and who says northern Los Angeles Co. and West Hollywood should not be combined ?  The Obama margin jumps from a 1.2 advantage to a 21.5 point advantage.  Technically, Adam Schiff is the only incumbent residing in the district though he would likely seek reelection in the new CA-29 if this plan were adopted.  Howard McKeon resides in the new CA-27 under this plan, and he should think twice about running here (he won his last election by 15.6 points, in a district that has a 20.3 points less Democratic margin than the proposed one).

District 26:  

Incumbent: None

Current District:  Obama 51.0%; McCain 47.0% (Obama + 4.0)

Proposed District:  Obama 61.5%; McCain 36.7% (Obama + 24.8)

Proposed District:  Kerry 54.5%; Bush 44.4%

This new district has relatively little in common with the current CA-26.  Both the old and new CA-26 contain Claremont and LaVerne, but the bulk of the territory in the new district comes out of the current CA-32 (El Monte, Baldwin Park, Irwindale, Covina, etc.), with parts of CA-38 (Pomona) and CA-42 (Chino, Chino Hills) also attached.  CA-32 itself is preserved as a separate district.  The new CA-26 is a new Hispanic-majority district (approximately 62% Hispanic).

District 27:

Incumbents: Brad Sherman (Los Angeles); Howard McKeon (Santa Clarita)

Current District:  Obama 66.1%; McCain 31.7% (Obama + 34.4)

Proposed District:  Obama 60.6%; McCain 37.2% (Obama + 23.4)

Proposed District:  Kerry 53.6%; Bush 45.0%

The bulk of this district is made up of San Fernando Valley communities within the city of Los Angeles (Reseda, Northridge, Granada Hills, etc.) and within the current CA-27.  Also attached is Santa Clarita to the north.

District 28:  

Incumbent: Howard Berman (Los Angeles)

Current District:  Obama 76.2%; McCain 22.0% (Obama + 54.2)

Proposed District:  Obama 75.6%; McCain 22.6% (Obama + 53.0)

Proposed District:  Kerry 70.4%; Bush 28.5%

This new district is quite similar to the current one, consisting of San Fernando Valley communities.  Borders are changed a little, partly in order to keep neighborhoods together within the same district.  The district remains majority Hispanic.

District 29:  

Incumbent: David Dreier (San Dimas)

Current District:  Obama 67.6%; McCain 30.4% (Obama + 37.2)

Proposed District:  Obama 61.1%; McCain 36.8% (Obama + 24.3)

Proposed District:  Kerry 53.4%; Bush 45.2%

Even though Adam Schiff lives in Burbank (part of the new CA-25), most of his current district is transferred to the new CA-29.  In fact, 56% of the new CA-29 is territory currently represented by Schiff (including Glendale and Pasadena), while only 34% is territory currently represented by Dreier.  I tried to avoid splitting communities between districts in drawing this plan, but the lines can be nevertheless easily tweaked here to include a part of Burbank in CA-29; under the current plan, eastern Burbank is in CA-29.

District 30:  

Incumbent: Henry Waxman (Los Angeles); Elton Gallegly (Simi Valley)

Current District:  Obama 70.4%; McCain 27.9% (Obama + 42.5)

Proposed District:  Obama 64.0%; McCain 34.4% (Obama + 29.6)

Proposed District:  Kerry 59.3%; Bush 39.7%

This westside LA district includes communities currently in CA-30 (like Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, Woodland Hills, Calabasas and Agoura Hills) as well as newly attached areas (Culver City, Chatsworth – which was previously spilt between CA-30 and another district, etc.).  Santa Monica and Malibu are taken out and attached to the neighboring CA-24.  The district remains a Democratic bastion, and a very progressive one at that (almost 2/3 of the vote went against Prop 8).

District 31:  

Incumbent: Xavier Beccera (Los Angeles)

Current District:  Obama 79.9%; McCain 18.3% (Obama + 61.6)

Proposed District:  Obama 78.9%; McCain 18.7% (Obama + 60.2)

Proposed District:  Kerry 75.6%; Bush 22.9%

This district consists of the entire current CA-31 territory plus, in order to reflect population shifts in the area, South Pasadena is added.  The district is majority-Hispanic.

District 32:  

Incumbent: Judy Chu (Monterey Park); Gary Miller (Diamond Bar)

Current District:  Obama 68.2%; McCain 29.8% (Obama + 38.4)

Proposed District:  Obama 61.4%; McCain 36.6% (Obama + 24.8)

Proposed District:  Kerry 55.9%; Bush 43.1%

The new CA-32 runs from a part of East Los Angeles through Monterey Park (now all in one district), Rosemead, San Gabriel, Temple City, San Marino, South El Monte, West Covina, La Puente, Walnut, Diamond Bar, Brea and other communities interspersed in between.  The new district remains majority Hispanic (barely) but also has a very high percentage of Asian-Americans (almost 40%).  Indeed, in some communities, the Hispanic and Asian population combined equals almost 100% of the total population.  Many Hispanic-majority areas of the current CA-32 are detached in order to create the new Hispanic-majority CA-26 just to the north and east of the new CA-32.

District 33:  

Incumbent: Diane Watson (Los Angeles)

Current District:  Obama 86.8%; McCain 11.7% (Obama + 75.1)

Proposed District:  Obama 84.2%; McCain 14.2% (Obama + 70.0)

Proposed District:  Kerry 80.0%; Bush 18.7%

The new CA-33 includes most of the current district (except Culver City and part of Griffith Park) as well as areas previously part of other districts (El Segundo and the Westchester area around LAX).

District 34:  

Incumbent: Lucille Roybal-Allard (Los Angeles)

Current District:  Obama 74.7%; McCain 23.2% (Obama + 51.5)

Proposed District:  Obama 75.2%; McCain 22.7% (Obama + 52.5)

Proposed District:  Kerry 68.8%; Bush 30.0%

The new district is very similar to the current one, including downtown LA, Downey, and everything in between, as well as new territory (El Sereno part of LA, Alhambra).  Some areas have been taken out (part of East LA, Bellflower) and attached to other districts. The district is majority-Hispanic

District 35:  

Incumbent: Maxine Waters (Los Angeles)

Current District:  Obama 84.4%; McCain 14.1% (Obama + 70.3)

Proposed District:  Obama 86.5%; McCain 12.0% (Obama + 74.5)

Proposed District:  Kerry 81.2%; Bush 17.7%

Most of the district is the same as before – the south-central area of Los Angeles.  Areas around LAX in the west are detached, while South Gate is added in the east.  A little history in a nutshell to summarize the political evolution in a part of this area: back in the 50’s and 60’s South Gate was almost all white while areas immediately to the west, like Watts, were almost all black, and a large degree of segregation existed.  Today Watts is over 70% Hispanic, while South Gate is over 90% Hispanic.  Overall, the district is about 66% Hispanic.  There’s a strong possibility that once Maxine Waters retires, this district will elect a Hispanic representative.

District 36:  

Incumbent: Jane Harman (Los Angeles)

Current District:  Obama 64.4%; McCain 33.5% (Obama + 30.9)

Proposed District:  Obama 62.0%; McCain 35.9% (Obama + 26.1)

Proposed District:  Kerry 57.0%; Bush 41.6%

The new CA-36 is similar to the current district hugging Santa Monica Bay. Some areas are detached (El Segundo) while others are attached (Palos Verdes Peninsula).  The Palos Verdes area was part of the district prior to 2002, contributing to the election of Republican Steve Kuykendall here in 1998 with a bare winning margin of 49% of the vote.  At first glance, the new district appears kind of similar to that old one – but in reality is significantly more Democratic.  One major difference is that high-population progressive areas of LA just east of Santa Monica (Mar Vista, etc.) are currently in the district — and remain in the new district — but were not a part of CA-36 when Kuykendall was elected.

District 37:

Incumbent: Laura Richardson (Long Beach)

Current District:  Obama 79.6%; McCain 18.7% (Obama + 60.9)

Proposed District:  Obama 60.7%; McCain 37.3% (Obama + 23.4)

Proposed District:  Kerry 53.1%; Bush 45.5%

The new district puts the parts of Long Beach previously in CA-37 and CA-46 into one district (except for a narrow coastal sliver connecting two parts of CA-46).  Approximately 97% of Long Beach’s population is now in CA-37.  The district also includes more conservative areas in Orange County to the immediate east (Los Alamitos, part of Garden Grove, Stanton, Fountain Valley and Westminster – the latter, no longer split between two districts).

District 38:

Incumbent: Grace Napolitano (Norwalk); Ed Royce (Fullerton)

Current District:  Obama 71.3%; McCain 26.6% (Obama + 44.7)

Proposed District:  Obama 58.5%; McCain 39.4% (Obama + 19.1)

Proposed District:  Kerry 51.0%; Bush 47.7%

This remains a majority-Hispanic district (approximately 63%) encompassing areas like Norwalk, Pico Rivera, part of East LA, Hacienda Heights and Montebello in Los Angeles County as well as La Habra, Fullerton and Placentia (the latter two no longer divided between two districts) in Orange County.

District 39:

Incumbent: Linda Sánchez (Lakewood)

Current District:  Obama 65.5%; McCain 32.4% (Obama + 33.1)

Proposed District:  Obama 57.6%; McCain 40.4% (Obama + 17.2)

Proposed District:  Kerry 50.4%; Bush 48.5%

This districts maintains many of the same parts of Los Angeles County currently included in CA-39, but does a better job at keeping communities intact (Whittier is no longer divided between districts) and also adds communities in Orange County (Cypress, La Palma, Buena Park, etc.)   The district remains majority Hispanic.  The new CA-39 now borders the new CA-47, the district of Linda’s sister Loretta Sanchez.

District 40:

Incumbent: None

Current District:  Obama 46.6%; McCain 51.1% (McCain + 4.5)

Proposed District:  Obama 59.7%; McCain 38.6% (Obama + 21.1)

Proposed District:  Kerry 49.3%; Bush 49.8%

California’s “Inland Empire” has had some of the state’s highest growth rate of the last decade, fueled largely by an increase in the Hispanic population.  The new CA-40 reflects that growth through the creation of a new Hispanic-majority district here (new district is approximately 57% Hispanic).  The new district includes the unincorporated extreme northwestern part of Riverside County as well as areas — mostly incorporated — in San Bernardino Co. (Ontario, Montclair, Rancho Cucamonga and Fontana).

District 41:  

Incumbent: None

Current District:  Obama 43.7%; McCain 54.2% (McCain + 10.5)

Proposed District:  Obama 41.4%; McCain 56.4% (McCain + 15.0)

Proposed District:  Kerry 34.9%; Bush 63.9%

This district includes most of San Bernardino Co. outside the southwestern population core, as well as parts of Riverside Co. (Banning, Beaumont, Calimesa, etc.)  The current CA-41 incumbent Jerry Lewis lives in Redland, part of CA-43 under the new lines, but most of Lewis’ base is in the new CA-41 and it would make sense for him to run here.

District 42:

Incumbent: None

Current District:  Obama 44.9%; McCain 53.2% (McCain + 8.3)

Proposed District:  Obama 43.3%; McCain 54.9% (McCain + 11.6)

Proposed District:  Kerry 35.1%; Bush 63.9%

This is perhaps the stereotypical Orange County district – “conservative Nixon/Reagan country”.  The district runs from Yorba Linda (the birthplace of Richard Nixon) to the hills just above San Clemente (the site of Nixon’s “summer White House”).  San Juan Capistrano, in the district’s southern reaches, is no longer split between two different districts.  In its new form, CA-42 is a Republican stronghold, though this is no longer the most conservative area in California.  Furthermore, compared to other GOP districts in the rest of the country, the new CA-42 is (relatively) not that extremely conservative.  Current CA-42 incumbent Gary Miller lives in Diamond Bar, a part of CA-32 under the new lines.  However, politically, it would make much sense for Miller to run here.

District 43:

Incumbent: Joe Baca (Rialto); Jerry Lewis (Redlands; see entry under “District 41” above).

Current District:  Obama 68.0%; McCain 30.1% (Obama + 37.9)

Proposed District:  Obama 58.0%; McCain 39.9% (Obama + 18.1)

Proposed District:  Kerry 48.7%; Bush 50.1%

The new CA-43 consists of urban to exurban areas of San Bernardino Co., including all of the city of San Bernardino (which as previously split between CA-43 and CA-41), Colton (which was also split), Rialto, Loma Linda, Highland, Redlands, Adelanto, Victorville and other areas.  The new district remains majority-Hispanic.

District 44:  

Incumbent: Mary Bono (Palm Springs)

Current District:  Obama 49.5%; McCain 48.6% (Obama + 0.9)

Proposed District:  Obama 61.6%; McCain 36.6% (Obama + 25.0)

Proposed District:  Kerry 51.3%; Bush 47.6%

The new CA-44 is completely confined to Riverside County, and includes communities like Riverside, Moreno Valley, Perris, Cathedral City and Palm Springs.  Current CA-44 incumbent Ken Calvert doesn’t even live in the new CA-44, and even if he ran here, wouldn’t have a prayer under the new lines.  Mary Bono would have a hard time winning here also (the last two times she won by approximately 18 points in a district with about a 20 point less Democratic margin than the new CA-44), and it would make sense for her to run in the new CA-45.  The district is a new Hispanic-majority district (approximately 53%).

District 45:

Incumbent: None

Current District:  Obama 51.5%; McCain 46.9% (Obama + 4.6)

Proposed District:  Obama 44.5%; McCain 53.9% (McCain + 9.4)

Proposed District:  Kerry 35.8%; Bush 63.3%

The new lines here maintain the district wholly within Riverside County.  Much of Riverside Co. outside the (relatively) more suburban northwestern area is included here, including Menifee, which is now contained entirely within one district.  Mary Bono lives in Palm Springs (in the new CA-44), but most of Bono’s base is in the new CA-45, and the only logical thing for her to do would be to run here.

District 46:  

Incumbent: Dana Rohrabacher (Huntington Beach)

Current District:  Obama 47.9%; McCain 49.8% (McCain + 1.9)

Proposed District:  Obama 61.7%; McCain 36.5% (Obama + 25.2)

Proposed District:  Kerry 53.7%; Bush 45.0%

The new CA-46 combines parts of Los Angeles and Orange Counties — as does the district in its current form.  The OC part is somewhat similar to what’s contained in the current CA-46, with Huntington Beach and Seal Beach included but with Newport Beach substituted for Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley and Westminster.  The LA part is a bit different, with areas like Carson, Lynwood and Compton substituting for parts of Long Beach and the Palos Verdes Peninsula communities.  The new district is almost entirely suburban, with only a sliver of Los Angeles proper included.  Under these lines, Rohrabacher may finally experience “wipeout” conditions in his electoral prospects.  

Addendum: it’s interesting to note that the OC part of the new CA-46 voted for Prop. 8 by approximately 53%, while the LA part voted for Prop. 8 by a significantly higher 65%.

District 47:  

Incumbent: Loretta Sanchez (Anaheim)

Current District:  Obama 60.1%; McCain 37.8% (Obama + 22.3)

Proposed District:  Obama 58.6%; McCain 39.5% (Obama + 19.1)

Proposed District:  Kerry 47.9%; Bush 50.9%

The new CA-47 is very similar to the current district.  Parts of Santa Ana which were previously in CA-46 and CA-48 are added to the bulk of the city that is already in the district, so that all of Santa Ana is now in CA-47.  Likewise, a small part of Fullerton is detached in the north so that it too can be all in one district.  However, Anaheim and Garden Grove remain split between this and other districts; this is necessary to maintain the viability of Hispanic representation in CA-47.

District 48:  

Incumbent: John Campbell (Irvine)

Current District:  Obama 49.3%; McCain 48.6% (Obama + 0.7)

Proposed District:  Obama 52.3%; McCain 45.8% (Obama + 6.5)

Proposed District:  Kerry 43.1%; Bush 55.8%

The new CA-48 runs along the coast of Orange and San Diego Counties, including all of Costa Mesa, Irvine, Aliso Viejo, Laguna Beach, Dana Point, San Clemente, Camp Pendleton and Oceanside.  Obama won the new district by 6.5 points.  This is an improvement on the current district which basically split 49/49 in the last election.  While this may initially appear not enough to flip the district to the Democratic side, I believe that with a good campaign, a Democrat can win here.  It bears watching how Beth Krom, the mayor of Irvine, does in the current CA-48 in 2010 if she is our nominee.  If she hits around 45% or more of the vote, it would appear that a Democrat would be well positioned under the new lines.  It should be noted that the area contained within the proposed CA-48 is progressive enough to have actually voted against Proposition 8 ! (by 51% to 49%).  It would not appear that such a district would elect someone like “birther” John Campbell forever.

Addendum:  this proposed district can easily be made even more Democratic by tweaking the lines.  Communities, of course would have to be broken up, but the subsequent district would still be compact enough to pass muster.  Please see the map below re. how CA-48 could go from the proposed +6.5 point Obama margin with communities completely intact to a +10.0 Obama margin district with some communities split among districts.  The top map here shows CA-48 as designed for this diary, with the nine constituent communities intact.  The bottom map shows that by adding all or parts of seven additional communities, while detaching parts of the first nine, you can come up with a district that voted 54.1 Obama – 44.1 McCain. (Btw, if you’re wondering why the large Camp Pendleton area is left alone, the reason is that the number of active voters there is relatively very small compared to other parts of the district, and so trying to gerrymander the lines in that area would have a minimal effect on the overall political composition of this district.)


District 49:

Incumbent: Darrell Issa (Vista); Ken Calvert (Corona).

Current District:  Obama 45.1%; McCain 53.0% (McCain + 7.9)

Proposed District:  Obama 41.2%; McCain 56.3% (McCain + 15.1)

Proposed District:  Kerry 32.0%; Bush 67.1%

The new CA-49 includes much of Darrell Issa’s current territory in San Diego and Riverside Counties and also parts of Ken Calvert’s territory in Riverside and Orange Counties (as well as Rancho Santa Margarita, currently part of CA-42).  The new district becomes an even bigger GOP bastion.

District 50:  

Incumbent: None

Current District:  Obama 51.3%; McCain 47.1% (Obama + 4.2)

Proposed District:  Obama 57.9%; McCain 40.3% (Obama + 17.6)

Proposed District:  Kerry 48.0%; Bush 50.7%

This district combines the San Diego city parts of the current CA-50 and CA-52 into one district.  The boundaries are then tweaked a bit so that parts of the city of San Diego currently in CA-53 (Hillcrest, Pacific Beach, Mission Beach, the area around UC-San Diego, etc.) become part of this district, while other areas now part of CA-50 (interior portion of La Jolla) become part of the new CA-53.  Also included in the new CA-50 are coastal communities just north of the city (Del Mar, Encinitas, Solana Beach); other than these communities, the new district consists entirely of the city of San Diego.  Brian Bilbray’s new home in Carlsbad is not included in the district.  Bilbray beat Nick Leibham here last year by exactly 5 points, while in the 2006 special election, Bilbray beat Francine Busby by 4.5 points.  The new CA-50 has a Democratic margin that’s 13.4 points higher than the old CA-50; you can do the rest of the math here re. Bilbray’s future electoral prospects under the new lines !

District 51:  

Incumbent: Bob Filner (San Diego)

Current District:  Obama 63.1%; McCain 35.5% (Obama + 27.6)

Proposed District:  Obama 63.1%; McCain 35.5% (Obama + 27.6)

Proposed District:  Kerry 55.1%; Bush 43.3%

The new district remains very, very similar to the current one.  The only changes are that a small part of San Diego as well as unincorporated communities to the north of Chula Vista are detached in order to meet population parameters of the new district.  The district remains majority Hispanic.

District 52:  

Incumbent: Duncan Hunter (Lakeside); Brian Bilbray (Carlsbad)

Current District:  Obama 45.0%; McCain 53.4% (McCain + 8.4)

Proposed District:  Obama 43.6%; McCain 55.4% (McCain + 11.8)

Proposed District:  Kerry 35.7%; Bush 63.3%

This district combines the non-San Diego parts of the current CA-50 and CA-52 into one district — 51% of the territory in the new district comes out of CA-50, while 46% comes out of CA-52 (also included is the  Rancho Bernardo part of San Diego, currently in CA-49).  The primary here between Bilbray and Hunter (if that was the result of these lines being adopted) would be quite interesting to watch.

District 53:  

Incumbent: Susan Davis (San Diego)

Current District:  Obama 68.2%; McCain 29.9% (Obama + 38.3)

Proposed District:  Obama 63.0%; McCain 35.4% (Obama + 27.6)

Proposed District:  Kerry 55.0%; Bush 44.0%

The new CA-53 is anchored by the city of San Diego, with smaller communities like Imperial Beach, Coronado, Lemon Grove, La Mesa and El Cajon also included.  The new district is a bit less Democratic than the current one, but Davis would have no trouble winning in a new “Obama +27.6 points” district.

67 thoughts on “Redistricting California: 45 Democrats ?”

  1. you really did a hell of a job. I’ve been wanting to see a map of California for quite some time, and this one is really well done. Thank you for taking the time to do this.

  2. You did a great job of redistricting California (my home state.)  What software did you use to create this map and where did you get the numbers for Obama’s percentages in the districts?

    I have a few concerns: For CA-23, I think Lois Capps is too weak. In 1998 and 2000, her hold on the district was shaky because the district was marginal. In my opinion, California is less Democratic than it appears. Even though Obama crushed McCain here, Democrats made only a few gains at the congressional level so Republicans should be able to wage tough races or win in districts that were close in the 2004 presidential election. I also think that CA-38 and CA-39 should be strengthened. CA-37 should be fine, though. Since the 34th and 35th are heavily Democratic, the 38th and 39th should swap a few areas with them. Really good job overall.

  3. I don’t know enough about California to comment so intelligently, but I can look at the numbers and make some observations. First, let’s be honest: this is not “less gerrymandered” than the current map. It’s just a Democratic gerrymander (nothing wrong with that IMO). Second, I think you made Laura Richardson’s district too weak. If I were the NRCC, I would see a target on her back here.

    Otherwise, good job. I’m curious to know how you put this all together.  

  4. I’ve been thinking, if New York can be 26-3 then why can’t California be a similar lopsided ratio. I think we should focus on winning as many seats as possible in California in 2010 and then our gains will be solidified after redistricting. John Campbell has been making as ass of himself lately, and his district voted for Obama, so he should be a top target for 2010.

  5. As a resident of Brea, (native of West Covina), i was hoping a redistricting genius would do this since the two cities are only about 20 miles apart. I cant stand Miller, yet my parents aren’t really excited about Chu (Voted for the other guy in the primary). I kinda just payed attention to only my city in the new district, but overall you did well. But yeah, O.C is getting more Asian (Cities like Garden Grove, Westminster and probably Irvine are some perfect examples).

  6. is how a generic Democrat fares in the districts when the results statewide aren’t so favorable. (Even Kerry did pretty well).

    I’m thinking of a result that’s still a statewide win, but a narrow one. For example, Lt. Gov. 2006.

  7. it’s beautiful.

    California is the biggest redistricting goldmine on the horizon, the state has shifted so rapidly and the previous map was so ill-conceived that we could very well pick up 10 seats here alone.

  8. I have to ask – just how conservative is the city of Laguna Beach? I know it’s in the current 48th district (John Campbell), but from what I’ve heard it’s semi-progressive on certain issues. I haven’t been there in years so I don’t know if it’s moved to the left or remained a swing town. But I do know that Laguna is home to a number of well-known celebrities (notably Lauren Conrad, Eve Plumb, etc)

  9. This map is just fantastic….very well done.

    In terms of “gerrymandering”, I think that in keeping census-designated places together much better than the old map that you’re somewhat inoculated from these charges.

    And while Republicans might not be happy with how the seats shake out…well, they’ll have to contend with newly-elected Gov. Jerry Brown (or Newsom…either way) to try and do anything.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but a redistricting plan doesn’t have to pass the insane 2/3 majority hurdle the budget does, right? Because if it doesn’t, Democrats could easily push through a pretty favorable plan (like this one) with their sizeable majorities in both state houses…

  10. I noticed a small discrepancy for CD26 David Drier

    in the current district Obama won 51.0 – 47.0% and not with over 60% of the vote I highly doubt drier would have survived in ’08 if his district voted that heavily for Obama

  11. Redistricting Cali is hell.  I’ve given up and am going to wait for Dave to finish Cali in his program.

    As far as Campbell, Irvine mayor Beth Krom is going to run, in one of the better recruits in this cycle.

  12. no special software actually … just paintbrush and using US Census Bureau data for borders, etc.  You can get precinct data from… (a LOT of data to go through).  A good source for a “condensed” version is the “Supplement” from here (let’s say if you just want to know how well did Obama do in Irvine ?)

    I think Lois Capps would be fine in this version of CA-23.  The district in 1998 & 2000 was the 1992-2002 version that also included interior Santa Barbara.  Under the old borders (all of SB & SLO Counties, minus Carpinteria) Obama would have received only 56.5% of the vote, while under this plan he gets 59.2% .. OK, maybe a little close, but CA has changed in the last 10 years … and even under the 1992-2002 lines, Walter Capps almost took the seat away from the GOP in 1994 — of all years ! (he lost by 49.3-48.5).

    you may be right re. CA-38 & CA-39, but the lines can certainly be refined … part of this exercise for me was trying to do it w/ virtually all communities (cities, towns, unincorporated census areas) intact, but as the example under “District 48” shows, just a little tweaking of the lines can go a long way in changing the partisanship of a district

  13. you can call it gerrymandered, but not in the traditional sense where the lines zigzag all over the place.  In this plan, virtually every city, town and census-designated area in the state is kept whole within one district (other than the large cities that are too big for one district) … in a political effect sense, I guess it is gerrymandering …

    re. CA-37, I think Richardson would ultimately be fine.  A moderate GOPer represented Long Beach through the last round of redistricting, but that district mostly excluded African-American and Hispanic parts of the city, and even then, the district was competitive.  

    Sure, a lot of these districts would be more competitive under this plan, but I’m not sure if Richardson and every other Congressperson from CA should just be handed these districts on a silver platter.  This plan designs many districts whereby you still have to work to win, but the underlying base is good (for ex., even Kerry won Richardson’s district by almost 8 points, so an incumbent Dem. should have no trouble keeping it if they do their homework, and it’s friendly enough for us if the seat becomes open).

  14. Burton was a lot worse than this … his plans were the most egregious, blatant gerrymanders !

  15. yes, with this plan Judy Chu should be safe for a long time in what is in effect an Asian-American-opportunity district … while a brand new open Hispanic district is created right next door.

  16. Asian-Americans are woefully underrepresented in the House (even worse than Hispanics) so it’s nice to see a district outside of Hawaii where an Asian-American will be more likely than not to win. Chu looks to be a great progressive so far and a wonderful addition to the House, so ensuring her safety has to be a priority.

    Just out of curiosity, are there any other districts with substantial (say, 25% or more) Asian-American populations on your map? Peter Stark’s current district had been estimated to have transitioned to plurality Asian-American IIRC, although I can’t quite tell from eyeballing it if that’s still the case on your map. Mike Honda’s pretty much has to be if he’s taking in most of Fremont and dropping Gilroy.

  17. It was tough for me even before I got around to trying S.F. and L.A. I think Dave’s map will be a better guide for me. I can’t wait to see if I can put Rancho Cucamonga into a stronger Dem district!

  18. My favorite was the 1980s district that started in Stockton, where it took in only the most Democratic/Latino neighborhoods, went east through a narrow ag corridor, went over the Sierra mountains, south 150 miles through the desert on the other side, back over the mountains, through another ag corridor (being sure to pick up the home town of the guy Burton drew the district for), and then a Democratic/Latino section of Fresno.

  19. Going into the 2002 redistricting process:

    * California gained a 53rd seat.

    * Democrats picked up four seats in the 2000 elections.

    * Gary Condit, who held a seat (CA-18) that was safe for him but vulnerable for any other Democrat, was imploding.

    As a result of the redistricting:

    * The new district was placed in a Latino area of L.A., where Linda Sanchez won it.

    * Safe seats were created for the four freshman Democrats.

    * CA-18 was strengthened enough so that another Democrat, Dennis Cardoza, could win it.

    Maybe we could have been a little more aggressive, but it wasn’t a complete disaster.

  20. it wasn’t a disaster at all.  No one could see the drastic swing to the Democrats that happened back in 2002.

    But I’m willing to bet that today we would have more seats in Cali than we do now even under a GOP gerrymander.  They would have tried to weaken Cardoza (CA-18), Capps(CA-23), Schiff (CA-27), Sanchez (CA-47), Davis (CA-53), and tried to draw Sanchez (CA-39) for themselves.  In the process, they would have not only lost all these seats, but handed Gallegy (CA-24), Dreier (CA-28), Bilbray (CA-50), and possibly Lungren (CA-3) and McClintock (CA-4). As well as several So Cal seats to us in 2008.

  21. I’d say the new district was Devin Nunes’ 20th district.

    Linda Sanchez’ district was made up of the ruins of the Democratic-leaning Long Beach seat that the endangered GOP incumbent had barely won in 2000.

  22. South Pasadena and Alhambra should be included to the district, pushing up the Asian-American population even more and probably making it more Asian than latino.

    I really think that Orange County is overdone.  The risk of putting to much Orange County in with strong liberal L.A. county districts is that it will result in wishy washy corporate Dems being elected.  I really think that there should be another safe GOP in Orange County to allow for increases in the voting strength of surrounding Dem. districts.

    I don’t like how CD-48 dips into Orange County.  Taking Newport Beach out of the district and adding Costa Mesa does wonders to improve the Democratic performance without crossing county lines.  Plus its not like Oceanside is super-Dem friendly.

    San Diego is unreasonably messy.  I don’t see why there can’t be three strong Dem districts all within San Diego County and then combine Imperial County with Coachella.

  23. re. Mike Honda’s district … I didn’t mention this in the post, but I intentionally made the borders include more Asian-Americans.  The district kind of had to move north anyhow b/c of overall population shifts, and why not include more Asian-Americans if it can be done.  The parts of Fremont put in are actually the ones w/ the highest proportion of Asian-Americans.  Also, the way the borders were shifted in San Jose enabled more Asian-Americans to be included.  I actually think that in this area, it may not matter much if Honda is/isn’t Asian-American, but it may make a difference if he retires.  Anyhow, I don’t know the stats exactly, but the new CA-15 is considerably more Asian-Am. than before — perhaps plurality (?) (one thing to keep in mind here, though, is that the Asian-Am. population in the area of CA-15 includes not only East Asians but South Asians as well, and, apparently the highest Afghani pop. in the US) … some other districts in the Bay Area are likely at least 25% too …  

  24. Laguna Beach and, even more so, Laguna Niguel are swing-to-liberal enclaves in a coastal area of Orange County that’s turning purple fairly rapidly.  Inland OC is an entirely different animal…blood red.

  25. Laguna Beach voted 63-36% for Obama, and more than 2-1 against Prop. 8, whereas it passed by a big margin in the rest of OC.  However, Dems only recently gained a tiny registration advantage here and the mayor is Republican, and it’s represented by the odious Chuck DeVore in the Assembly.  So the city seems to be pretty socially liberal but comfortable voting for Republicans.

  26. S Pasadena & Alhambra could be added, as you say.  Part of my exercise was also trying to keep communities together, but if you draw the lines a bit accross city lines you could easily add.

    re. OC, maybe you could draw one more strong GOP district … but the way I thought of all this — is I think Calif. is STILL moving towards the Dems. and didn’t want situation of Dems. lamenting in 2020 that they could have been more agressive in 2012 (sort of like we are now over the 2002 plan).  the districts in OC which appear “borderline” safe for a Dem. today will probably be solid safe within 5-10 years, w/ pop. shifts in the county; w/ CA-48, Oceanside in not super-friendly, but friendlier than other parts of OC that could have been put in.

    re. San Diego, this plan does basically provide 3 solid seats for Dems. in the county, and it’s less messy than before (like I mention, San Diego is now split among one less district than before).

  27. The GOP sacrificed Steve Horn, who was in his 70s, in exchange for the new Nunes district. But the bottom line is +1 for Democrats.

  28. Laguna Beach was 62.7% for Obama (57.2 Kerry) and 68.2% against Prop. 8. The city has a relatively large gay pop.

    It’s interesting to note that many coastal areas of OC were actually more against Prop. 8 than they were for Obama (opposite of much of CA) … for ex:

    Newport Beach 48.7% against Prop. 8 but only 40.6% Obama or Huntington Bch. 46.9% against Prop. 8 but only 45.3% Obama — not really b/c of large gay pop. there, but b/c the pop. is socially more liberal (though still leaning conservative on economics)

    at the other extreme you had areas w/ very high Obama % but not very pro-gay marriage (Compton may be the extreme example w/ 94.5% Obama, but only 35% against Prop. 8,, as well as ).  most of CA was sort of in between of course.

    btw, going through this exercise I saw that perhaps the polls saying less gay people voted for Obama than for Kerry %-wise may be wrong.  In areas with a high gay pop in Calif., the Obama numbers were very high, and equal to or higher than they were for Kerry, incl. Laguna Bch. above as well as Palm Springs; West Hollywood was 82.9 Obama; 82.5 Kerry.

    and, perhaps best example: San Francisco’s 8th City Supervisor seat (Castro, Noe Valley):

    92.1% Obama (almost as high as Compton !); 91.4% Kerry

    what’s looks misleading here is perhaps the fact that Obama seems to have improved over Kerry by only 0.7%, BUT that’s true for all of SF, not just the Castro area — overall SF went 84.3 Obama; 83.4 Kerry

    … AND even more interesting is that Sup. Dist 8 (Castro) was THE MOST pro-Obama of all 11 San Francisco Sup. Districts — even the areas that still have sizable African-American populations — Dist 10 & 11 — only went Obama 87.6 and 80.3, respectively.

  29. than Kerry among gays.  George W Bush in 2004 was probably the most openly anti-gay bigoted candidate to ever be nominated (and probably to ever be nominated).  No other Repub nominee (including Bush in 2000) ever had made overt hate against gays part of his message.  

    So much so that the Log Cabin Republicans voted not to endorse him.  Many gay conservatives/Repubs voted for Kerry.

    McCain was much less offensive to gay conservatives than Bush (McCain opposed the FMA on states rights grounds) was, so many of them returned to the GOP fold.

    I’d assume that gay Dems/liberals voted for Kerry and Obama.  The increased support from the gay community for Kerry came from gay conservatives who would never have voted Democratic if they were straight.

  30. but some of us were pretty upset about Donnie McClurkin and the “embrace the change” concert tour in 2007.

  31. the (perhaps) surprising thing is that it appears that Obama did as well, or better than Kerry with gays … I mean, if the Castro voted more for Obama than for Kerry (and was also Obama’s best area in San Francisco) then it appears that may be the case.  I realize that most gays live outside of areas like the Castro (I’m one of them, btw, who lives in the DC suburbs) but, if anything, you’d think the Castro numbers would be more predisposed to be anti-Obama compared to other less “activist” gay areas, but that doesn’t appear to be the case, hinting that gays overall, were VERY pro-Obama.

  32. but I think gays whose votes Obama lost (as compared to Kerry) were from conservatives, not liberals.  I know two who voted Bush/Kerry/McCain and their votes for Kerry were solely because of Bush’s open bigotry in 2004.

  33. in one of the two newly created districts in the 1980s. (The other was Democrat Jim Bates’ district north of San Diego; he lost to Duke Cunningham in 1990, because of scandal which would 15 years later bring down Cunningham!)

    In the 1990s Lehman’s district was renumbered the 19th and made more Republican, exchanging the Democratic parts of Stockton (to the new CA-11) and most of the old 18th’s Latinos (to CA-20) for some rural Sierra Nevada areas. Lehman barely won in his new district in 1992 before being wiped out in 1994 by a surprisingly lopsided margin. George Radanovich is the only Republican from the class of 1994 remaining in California’s delegation. Frank Riggs in CA-01 was also elected in 1994 (after losing reelection in 1992) and also 1996 before running unsuccessfully for Senate in 1998. Brian Bilbray was first elected in 1994 but in a different district (CA-49 then in San Diego City) and he lost to Susan Davis in 2000. Bilbray returned to the House in 2006 in the further-north CA-50 (Cunningham’s district, which was then CA-44 when Cunningham was first elected) after Cunningham resigned in disgrace!

    Here’s a visual aid, comparing the CA-18 of the 1980s with the CA-19 of the 1990s, with the CA-19 of the 2000s thrown in for comparison.

  34. but the GOP could use the 2/3 majority hurdle to blackmail Dems on the redistricting.  They could refuse to support a budget unless the Dems pass their redistricting plan.

  35. We were shocked that Lehman actually won in 1992(the internals had him down by mid single digits the weekend before the election).  He was almost certainly saved by Bush’s low percentage in the district and low turnout from Conservatives.  We knew that even a slight shift away from Democrats in 1994 would doom him.  Lehman trailed Randovich by around 10-15 points through much of 1994 and the DCCC actually pulled out of the race to focus on holding CA-01, CA-36, and CA-49.  Sure enough, Lehman lost by 17 points and the DCCC never targetted the district again.  

  36. If the GOP couldn’t agree on a budget with the economy in the dire straits and the budget in the mess that it was in Cali, I seriously doubt they’re going to be so forgiving on any budget in the future.  Who cares?  They’re going to hold up the budget as much as possible anyway.  

  37. the turnout was UP in places like the Castro and West Hollywood and other identifiably gay areas in the state also, and combined with the percentage numbers, I find it hard to fathom that gays (AT LEAST IN CALIFORNIA) were less enthusiastic for Obama than for Kerry; the raw numbers seem to indicate the opposite (and I would tend to trust the raw numbers more in this case, rather than exit polls which often seem to be screwy when looking at relatively small populations ).

  38. turnout in West Hollywood was UP 35% from 2004 (compared to a DECREASE of 21% in turnout in neighboring Beverly Hills – which, btw, was one of the few areas in Calif. where Obama’s percentage, 59.5%, was lower than his percentage in 2004, 62.1%) … overall, in the city of LA turnout was up 11%, while in LA County it was up 10%.

  39. in CA-20 in 1992.  We may have at least had a real Democrat in that seat instead of conservatives like Dooley and Jim Costa.  

  40. And was convinced by Democratic strategists that he would have a better chance of holding the district for Democrats than Dooley, who had just been elected over a scandal tarred incumbent in 1990.  

  41. should have realized was that no Democrat was going to be able to hold that district long term.  The numbers there, which gave just a 2% Democratic registration edge (which for 1990 Cali was safe Repub since Cali had lots of DINOs at the time), clearly suggested that it was a safe Repub seat.

    Lehman tried to morph himself into a conservative Democrat in his last two years (after being a liberal for his entire career), but that wasn’t going to work.

  42. Why we didn’t opt for a protectionist map during the 1990 redistricting process, instead it looked like we were shooting for another expansionist map

  43. was drawn by judges since GOP Governor Wilson and the Dem legislature couldn’t agree on a map.

    As a whole, they drew a fair map.  My suspicion is that had judges drawn a map in 2002 instead of the Dems pushing an incumbent protection plan, we might have around 40 seats from Cali today.  Heck I think even a GOP gerrymander in 2002 would have given us more seats than we have today.  

    That’s how much California shifted to the Dems this decade.  The map we have today is not that much different than what I would draw as a GOP gerrymander today.

  44. The Latinos in Florida and Texas are quite a bit more conservative than the ones in California, largely because of the lack of labor unions in those two states.  And there lacks strong liberal places like the Bay Area and Western LA/Hollywood.  

    I see Florida purplish/blue and Texas purplish/red in a few years.  Which I guess is where California was 20 years ago.

  45. skew conservative mostly because the Cubans are predominantly Republican. I agree with you that TX Latinos are generally more conservative.

    But in both cases, I will be interested to see the impact of Republican anti-Latino rhetoric. That, plus the TX Demographic time bomb, makes me think that big changes will be somewhat sooner than 20 years. (Texas would already be there if the whites weren’t so conservative).  

  46. Compared to a place like Palm Springs seems very different when it comes to gays’ overall political ideology. As the ones in Castro, and SF in general, seem to be overall very liberal while there are many gay conservatives and moderates in places like Palm Springs.  

  47. I threw some numbers together using American Community Survey data (which isn’t perfect because it doesn’t usually estimate for small communities and unincorporated non-CDPs but should still give a ballpark estimate at least) and this is what I came up with:

    CA-08, CA-12: Should both be somewhere around 29%-30% Asian-American. The inclusion of Redwood City and loss of more of San Fransisco accounts for the slight drop-off in CA-12 from the 33% it’s at currently. Their both also right around 44% non-Hispanic White.

    CA-13: No longer plurality Asian-American what with the loss of the bulk of Fremont and inclusion of towns like Livermore and Castro Valley, but should still sport a healthy Asian-American minority around 26%-27%, with about 40% of the population Non-Hispanic White and should have a Hispanic population in the lower 20s.

    CA-14: Between the rapid Asian-American growth in the current configuration of this district, the losing of Redwood City, and the gaining of Santa Clara, CA-14 should be right around 25% Asian-American. It’s probably still majority Non-Hispanic White though; barely anyway.

    CA-15: Should be plurality Asian-American, with their population at least 10-points ahead of the next largest ethnic group (non-Hispanic Whites). Specifically, I’d estimate the Asian-American population to be somewhere around 42%-48%, depending on the details of how San Jose and Fremont are split up.

    CA-16: Asian-American population probably drops below 20% because it has to give up parts of San Jose and take in not terribly Asian communities like Gilroy and Morgan Hill, but on the flip side it’s Hispanic population is up to somewhere in the neighborhood of 40%-45%, giving it a healthier Hispanic plurality.

    So, we’re looking at one plurality Asian-American district that within the next 11 years would more likely than not select another Asian-American successor to its probable open seat and four majority or plurality non-Hispanic White seats that between them will more likely than not elect one or two Asian-American Democrats to succeed their White incumbent their three probable open seats (and the fourth very possible; I could see Jackie Speier running for an open Senate seat in 2012 or 2016 or retiring outright before 2022 when she’d be 72). Toss in to that a seat that a Hispanic Democrats would have a great chance of succeeding its White incumbent in what could probably at this point be described as a Hispanic-opportunity district–another first for NorCal. Good deal.

    This is probably it for districts with large Asian-American populations but just out of curiosity I’ll mess around with the other Bay-area districts if I have the time. Your CA-11 looks like it might have a pretty large Hispanic population…

  48. for crunching the numbers !!  in re. to CA-15, if your estimate is 42-28 Asian-American, depending on the borders in Fremont & San Jose, then it’s probably around the 48% mark b/c I specifically drew lines around Fremont & northern San Jose to include Asian-American areas into CA-15 …

  49. Obama won the current CA-26 by 51-47, and the current CA-29 by 67.6 to 30.4.  David Dreier is currently in CA-26, but under this plan his home would be in the new CA-29, even though the bulk of CA-29 would be made up of territory currently in Schiff’s CA-29.  The new CA-29 would be good for Schiff to run in, the new CA-26 would become an open Hispanic-majority seat, and Dreier would be out of luck.

    not sure where you get the 60% – ???

Comments are closed.