Maryland Redistricting, 8-0 Democrats

Recently, I saw quite a few redistricting maps, especially on Maryland. Here is my perspective. Instead of playing it safe, I went all out for an 8-0 map. The Democrats are in control and may try for a map like this. I know what you are thinking; it will be too difficult for Democrats to hold. I feel that I definitely made each Democrat’s district safe enough for them without throwing the VRA down the drain. The Democrats have large majorities in the State Legislature and if they retain the Governorship, this map is realistic. Enough chatter, here are the maps.

Central/eastern Maryland

West Maryland

Balitmore Area

District 1 Frank Kratovli (D) Blue

This district did go to the western shore to pick up population. Yet it picked up heavily Republican areas to keep out of the 2nd and 3rd districts. Now that Maryland is trending Democratic, adding Republican areas to other districts will be offset by Democratic margins. This left me free to slip in Democratic Annapolis into Kratovli’s district as well as a hunk of Prince George’s County. These changes raised the Black percentage from 11% to 24%. If a Republican could not win in a district that is 11% Black, watch him or her try to win in a district with Prince George’s County. Obama probably won 54% of the vote here. Demographics are 24% Black and 67% White. Status is Likely Democrat.

District 2 Dutch Ruppersburger (D) Green

His district is less gerrymandered but should be safe. I added some Republican areas of Baltimore and Harford Counties but I slipped in more of Baltimore City. These changes should make the district a little more Republican. Ruppersburger is a popular representative and should handle himself. Obama probably won 53%-54% of the vote here. Demographics are 22% Black and 69% White. Status is Safe/Likely Democrat.

District 3 John Sarbanes (D) Reddish Purple

Okay, I see the flaws. Yes, I know I took Sarbanes’s home out of the district. I had to because the district would be too convoluted if I kept it. I also know that Carroll County is heavily Republican. I included Democratic territory in Howard County which should offset Republican margins in Carroll County and more. For any more Republican areas, Baltimore City should offset their margins. Bartlett is Sarbanes is the son of longtime former Senator Paul Sarbanes (D). I do not see Sarbanes losing here anytime soon. Obama probably won 56% of the vote here. Demographics are 23% Black, 5% Asian and 65% White. Status is Safe/Likely Democrat.

District 4 Donna Edwards (D) Red

Her district extends into Republican Frederick County but Edwards should be content. The 4th district is VRA protected. Obama probably won 73% of the vote here. Demographics are 50% Black, 5% Asian, 9% Hispanic and 33% White. Status is Safe Democrat.

District 5 Steny Hoyer (D) Yellow

I took out northeastern Prince George’s County and pushed the district into Republican parts of Anne Arundel County. I only reduced the Black percentage by 1% and should probably get higher in the mid 2010’s because of Blacks moving into Prince George and Charles counties. Hoyer and is successor are safe. Obama probably won 60% of the vote here. Demographics are 29% Black and 62% White. Status is Safe Democrat.

District 6 Vacant Teal

No current representative lives here. Even though I put in some heavily Republican counties in western Maryland, I more than erased that margin by 60% of this district in heavily Democratic Montgomery County. I slipped in about 84,000 people in Prince George’s County just to ensure Democratic votes. That area gave Chris Van Hollen (D) his winning margin against Connie Morella (R) so it had to be in this district to ensure it will vote Democratic. Mark Shriver (D) might want to run in this district. It would be nice to have another Kennedy in Congress. Obama probably won 62% of the vote here. Demographics are 13% Black, 8% Asian, 14% Hispanic and 61% White. Status is Safe Democrat.

District 7 Elijah Cummings (D)

This district is BARELY protected the VRA. I tried to squeeze in as many Republican precincts as I could while keeping the Black percentage at 50% or above. This district used to go into Howard County but now takes in Republican suburbs in Baltimore, Carroll and Harford Counties. Since almost all the Baltimore precincts in the 7th voted around 90% for Obama, Cummings should be very safe. Obama probably won 67% of the vote here. Demographics are 50% Black and 43% White. Status is Safe Democrat.

District 8 Chris Van Hollen (D) vs. Roscoe Bartlett (R) Purple

Bartlett is 83 years old and about 63% of the 8th district is in Montgomery County, Van Hollen’s home base. Bartlett can campaign as a moderate but I see Montgomery County voters sticking with Van Hollen. With Bartlett out of the picture, Van Hollen should have an easy ride to reelection. Obama probably won 63% of the vote here. Demographics are 16% Black, 10% Asian, 13% Hispanic and 58% White. Status is Safe/Likely Democrat if Bartlett decides to run, Safe Democrat without Bartlett.

By what margin will Bob Shamansky win?

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14 thoughts on “Maryland Redistricting, 8-0 Democrats”

  1. Not sure that the current delegation will like it much though, which could spell trouble for it.

    Hoyer, though his MD-5 has been based mostly in Southern MD for years now, has long been a patron of NASA and his district has AFAIK always included the NASA Greenbelt facility, and it’s nowhere near there now.

    Sarbanes not only doesn’t live in this district (I think he’s in MD-2 on that map), he lives far away from any of his constituents.

    Edwards, although her district doesn’t look too dissimilar to what it looks like now, lives in what would be Hoyer’s MD-5.

    I’d be a little worried about MD-2 and MD-3. Turnout in Baltimore City, especially in less affluent areas, is usually low and using the Baltimore population to balance out deep-red higher turnout outer suburbs could result in some unpleasant surprises. (It’s not as big a deal in a black-majority district; the architects of the current MD-7 pulled off a nice move by including all of contiguous and GOP-friendly western Howard in there.) With Obama on the ballot there were no turnout problems, but you count on that kind of turnout level as any sort of new normal at your peril. (Kerry’s numbers in the current MD-2 and MD-3 were only in the 50s IIRC; there’s not a lot of room for more dilution there.)

    Maybe I’m a pessimist, but I’ve seen two proposed 8-0 maps and they worry me and I feel way more comfortable with 7-1 maps. I would hate to see a strong Republican year come along and find out that they’ve suddenly got 3-4 seats in our state. I think you can either redraw the 6th to bury the panhandle with Montgomery County votes, or make the non-Shore parts of the 1st blue rather than red, but probably can’t do both safely without violating the VRA.  

  2. Your 1st includes Bowie in PG County, which is the whitest part and only slightly voted for Obama; Bowie prob belongs in a safer district.

    Your 2nd is weak, even if Ruppersberger is popular.

    Your 4th includes a lot of marginal areas rather than extremely Republican areas. Also, it includes a lot of white areas in PG.

    Your 7th includes a lot of majority white Jewish areas which vote Democratic, it needs more Republican areas.

  3. I don’t like this map, you unnecessarily made districts 4-8 overwhelmingly Democratic and as a consequence, districts 1 and 2 are politically neutral and district 3 is only marginally Democratic.  

    While your map could hypothetically produce an 8D – 0R delegation, it could just as likely produce a 5D – 3R delegation.

    Silver Spring’s map where Obama got at least 58% of the vote in all 8 districts was much better.

  4. And Democrats would constantly have to play defense for some of those seats, not to mention no way you are going to be able to maul the VRA nor is it a good thing to totally try to disenfranchise conservatives of Representation in a state at least 30% conservative is not somewhat more.

  5. This map is different from Silver Spring’s map posted 9-12.  Alibguy, which side of the MD-06/MD-08 is Kensington on in this map?  It’s right near the border, but I can’t see enough detail to be sure.

  6. It’s hard to get extremely Republican areas into MD-4. There’s no part of MoCo that’s not at worst marginal for Dems, and grabbing the parts of Anne Arundel that are now in MD-1 (which this map stuffs into MD-3, another reason that district worries me) would mess the map up.  And Western Howard is pretty Republican.

    If we’re assuming this is a Kratovil protection job, this MD-1 should suffice. (If he loses of course, you’ve got a different situation.) You can only put so much of PG County in there since you’ve got VRA compliance issues. For any Democrat having Bowie is leaps and bounds better than having Bel Air and Fallston.

    I agree with the criticisms re: the 2nd and, for that matter, the 7th.  

  7. Interesting insights but a few things… The old 1st was 11% Black where Obama won 40% of the vote. The new 1st is 24% Black. The Obama percentage should rise to 53% and even 54% because Annapolis has some white Democrats. With the 2nd, the Baltimore County area is even but the Harford coast actually leans Democratic. With the 3rd, it was formerly 16% Black and was safe enough. Columbia has alot of white Democrats and the Carroll County portion should have voted Republican by no more than 19,000 votes. Howard County voted for Obama with about 30,000 votes. Considering that I put in Democratic parts of Baltimore City, this district should be safe enough. Thanks for the insight.

  8. 16% African-American is indeed enough for the current MD-3 because it also contains not only Columbia (which, yes, you also include in your new map, and you prob include more of it than in the current MD-3) but several majority-white parts of Baltimore City (including where I live) that vote Dem, the heavily Jewish area immediately NW of Baltimore City that votes Dem, the closest parts of Towson to the city line which votes Dem, and Annapolis, which has a decent number of white Democrats.  This is more than enough Democrats to counter the Republican parts of Anne Arundel in there.

    However, on this map the only parts of Baltimore County you have are a small slice in the far west and the Halethorpe/Arbutus area which doesn’t move things much in one direction or the other. And while there’s not a huge chunk of Anne Arundel in there, it looks like what you have is also mostly GOP turf with no Annapolis. You do have Columbia in there, but also a decent-sized swath of exurban Howard County. And the less said about deep-red Carroll County (though you did good work in cutting out Sykesville/Eldersburg, leaving just Westminster/Hampstead in terms of heavy settlements) the better. I’m concerned that in a down year low-turnout Baltimore isn’t going to be enough to counter all that red if its only real ally is Columbia.  

  9. 8-0 plan for MD the other day … (with 58%+ Obama in all districts) …. I ran the numbers for Kerry/Bush for the districts I did and the lowest Kerry percentages were in my MD-2 and MD-6 (both approx. 53 Kerry/46 Bush) … I personally think that is safe for MD; both MD-2 and MD-3 in their CURRENT form are only 54/45 Kerry/Bush and they have both been quite safe for us this decade, even when one of the incumbents (Cardin) moved on to the Senate…

    oddly enough my new MD-1 (which was technically the least “pro-Obama” by a smidge, was not the worst Kerry district, as it came in at around 54/45) … I did a diary re. California redisricting a month or so ago and several districts there were about 58% Obama too, but in CA several of those came out to only 50/50 Kerry/Bush, as the Dem. jump was greater there …. but in MD, I think 58%+ Obama/53%+ Kerry districts should be quite safe for us … (granted, the some of the ones w/ this map have lower Obama percentages which may be approaching marginal territory) …

  10. A district that voted 53-46 for Kerry would be D+5 since Bush won nationwide 51-48.

    That’s good, it means in 2004 and 2008, none of your districts were less then D+5.

  11. MD-2 and MD-3 are drawn just about right from a Democrat’s point of view in terms of partisan division, though with the caveat that the Democrats were lucky to have relatively strong candidates/incumbents in both seats, which we can’t necessarily assume going forward. The downside of this is that the intuitive move to shore up Kratovil by trading MD-1’s beet-red territory in Baltimore, Harford, or Anne Arundel counties with one of those two districts is fraught with danger. (And yes, the drawers of all three maps I have seen on here were smart enough to understand this.)  

    Baltimore City is as sliced and diced as it can be given VRA constraints and the danger of a marginal seat increasing as Baltimore gets diluted. So the other logical place to go beyond Annapolis is PG County…which makes drawing a VRA-compliant MD-4 more difficult and creates a need to boost MD-3.  

    It’s hard to draw MD-5 any way that’s too different from it is now without literally painting oneself into a corner. One could make it a little more white and Republican, but to do too much of that risks that seat becoming marginal. (It helps a lot that Charles County has turned so strongly toward the Dems, making it less urgent to push MD-5 too far into PG.)

    MD-4 is correctly identified as a district that can be diluted, but its location makes it hard to add much deep red territory to it. Your options are pushing up well to the north or well to the east. Either way you’re probably talking about some thin tentacles given the shape of the state and it’s population distribution.  

    MD-8 can definitely be diluted some and that’s where those 8-0 plans seem the most plausible.  

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