Maryoming: A Plausible Redistricting for an Unlikely Eventuality

I like the idea of the Wyoming Rule. Take the population of the smallest state in the Union, divide the total U.S. population by it, and allocate however many seats that comes out to be according to each state’s population. Under the Wyoming Rule, Maryland would probably end up with 11 congressional districts at the next redistricting; assuming no population growth or decline, that puts each district’s population at roughly 481,500, although for this map, I’ve given each district a margin of about ±1,500, give or take a bit.

Spoiler alert: two of these districts are safe Republican, eight are safe Democratic, and one is a super-exciting swing district!

MD-01 (safe Republican)

85% white, 11% black

59% McCain, 39% Obama

This district covers most of the Eastern Shore, as well as rural, conservative northern Harford and Baltimore counties. It effectively soaks up big areas that Democrats don’t want. Rep.-elect Andy Harris could easily hold down this seat.

MD-02 (swing, lean Democrat)

75% white, 19% black

54% Obama, 44% McCain

This district covers the eastern Baltimore suburbs and exurbs, taking in portions of southern Harford and Baltimore counties, as well as some of the eastern reaches of Baltimore City and Anne Arundel County. It snakes awkwardly down the shoreline to capture the Democratic stronghold of Annapolis. If Rep. Frank Kratovil moved across the Bay, he could probably win this district without too much trouble.

MD-03 (safe Democratic)

40% white, 54% black

81% Obama, 17% McCain

This is a VRA district that goes straight down the middle of Baltimore City and includes some northern suburbs in Baltimore County. I’m not exactly sure where Rep. Elijah Cummings’s house is, but he could definitely win here. That would probably set up a primary showdown with Rep. John Sarbanes, though, unless he moved elsewhere.

MD-04 (safe Democratic)

46% white, 48% black

71% Obama, 28% McCain

It turns out that under the Wyoming Rule, the Baltimore area actually needs two VRA districts. This is actually a coalition district, technically, with black residents making up only 48% of the district’s population by 2000 numbers. It includes western Baltimore City while soaking up some of the western and northern Baltimore County suburbs and exurbs, none of which are numerous enough to really threaten Democrats here. As with MD-03, Rep. Cummings could win here easily. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberg, who I believe lives here, could win as well.

MD-05 (safe Democratic)

69% white, 12% black

61% Obama, 37% McCain

Incorporating some of central Maryland’s swingier rural areas in Howard, Montgomery, and Frederick counties with a few Democratic bastions like the cities of Frederick and Gaithersburg, this is a fairly solid Democratic district that is almost entirely within the D.C. media market. Jennifer Dougherty, who ran against Rep. Roscoe Bartlett in 2008 and used to be Frederick’s mayor, would probably win in a walk here.

MD-06 (safe Republican)

93% white, 4% black

62% McCain, 36% Obama

This district soaks up the Panhandle, Carroll County, and most of Frederick County. It’s a community of interest, and keeping it that way avoids some unpleasantness for surrounding Democrats. If Rep. Bartlett ran for reelection here, he’d be a lock to win.

MD-07 (safe Democratic)

70% white, 20% black

59% Obama, 39% McCain

This district includes eastern Howard County and western Anne Arundel County, as well as collecting some southern Baltimore County suburbs. It went for President Obama by 20 points, so I’m calling it safe, unless anybody objects. If Rep. Sarbanes moved down here from Towson, considering this MD-07 includes most of his current district anyway, I think he could win easily.

MD-08 (safe Democratic)

63% white, 28% black

63% Obama, 36% McCain

By balancing out Republican-leaning Anne Arundel County with parts of northern and eastern Prince George’s County, one of the country’s bluest, this district should be a walk for a competent Democrat. I don’t think any of Maryland’s current representatives are likely to run here, though.

MD-09 (safe Democratic)

64% white, 11% black

72% Obama, 27% McCain

This Montgomery County district is basically just a smaller version of Rep. Chris Van Hollen’s current district, MD-08. It eschews the tendril into Prince George’s County and cedes some space to surrounding districts, but it remains strongly Democratic. Van Hollen could win here without trouble, and I think he already lives within its boundaries.

MD-10 (safe Democratic)

17% white, 64% black

93% Obama, 7% McCain

This suburban district would be one of the most strongly Democratic districts in the country even under the Wyoming Rule, including most of the majority-black and -Latino parcels of land in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties. Rep. Donna Edwards would be a natural fit for this district.

MD-11 (safe Democratic)

60% white, 34% black

65% Obama, 34% McCain

This district of remainders stretches across the Chesapeake Bay to encompass Somerset and Worcester counties on the Eastern Shore as well as Charles, St. Mary’s, and Calvert counties in southern Maryland. It also stretches up into Prince George’s County to solidify its Democratic orientation. Rep. Steny Hoyer, soon to be the House minority whip, lives here and could win here without trouble.

Your thoughts, either on the map or the Wyoming Rule (or both)?

20 thoughts on “Maryoming: A Plausible Redistricting for an Unlikely Eventuality”

  1. Especially since I’m a Montana politico and that would allow for the creation of two congressional districts, one safe R, one likely D.

    I don’t think Dave’s app exists for MT, but I could easily do one along county borders that’s a 1-1 split.  

  2. -not a fan of splitting the lower shore

    -I wonder how many CD’s Maryland has to have before a 3rd Republican CD is necessary.

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