Redistricting according to the highly hypothetical Wyoming Rule is the latest SSP trend. In brief, the rule throws out the inequality currently on display in the House, where the at-large district of Wyoming is dramatically overrepresented in terms of population compared to the average district in, say, Los Angeles.
I took on the task of drawing a Wyoming Rule map for New Mexico. Under the rule, the Land of Enchantment would add one congressional district. Using 2008 population estimates, I managed to draw a 3-1 map with no less than three VRA minority-majority coalition districts.
NM-01 (safe Democratic)
43% white, 4% Native, 47% Latino
64% Obama, 35% McCain
This district covers most of the Albuquerque area, excluding the whiter, more Republican suburbs and exurbs in eastern Bernadillo County and creeping up just barely into Sandoval County. It’s quite close to being an outright Latino-majority district; growth rates suggest it will be by the end of the decade, if I remember right. No reason studly Rep. Martin Heinrich couldn’t win here, as it’s a heavily Democratic district.
NM-02 (likely Democratic)
33% white, 17% Native, 48% Latino
58% Obama, 40% McCain
In Maryland, this would be a safe Democratic seat, but inconsistent voter turnout among Native Americans means that for New Mexico, this is just a district in which Democrats start off with a pretty decent advantage. Indeed, virtually all of this district will be represented by Republican Rep.-elect Steve Pearce in the 112th Congress, although western New Mexico tends to be more liberal than eastern New Mexico, which balances out the current NM-02 for a Republican-tilting swing district. Rep. Harry Teague could certainly win here, but as this district is likely to be outright majority-Latino by redistricting, the base might prefer a Latino representative.
NM-03 (safe Democratic)
43% white, 13% Native, 41% Latino
63% Obama, 36% McCain
This district in northern New Mexico is basically just a smaller version of Rep. Ben Ray Luján’s current district, ceding McKinley County and much of Sandoval County to NM-02 and ceding Quay, Curry, and Roosevelt counties to NM-04. It is strongly Democratic and actually plurality-white, although minority groups still make up the majority of the population. Luján would cruise here, much as he does in the current version of his district.
NM-04 (safe Republican)
60% white, 2% Native, 33% Latino
40% Obama, 58% McCain
The whitest, most conservative district in the Wyoming Rule drawing of New Mexico covers the state’s southeastern quadrant, with tendrils reaching into the Republican-tending eastern part of the greater Albuquerque area, including eastern Bernadillo County. Rep.-elect Pearce would be fine here.
Thoughts, either on the Wyoming Rule or on the New Mexico electoral map?