SSP Daily Digest: 4/18 (Redistricting Roundup)

A special redistricting-only afternoon edition of the digest:

Alaska: Alaska’s redistricting board released two plans for remapping the state legislature, which you can see here.

Arkansas: It’s official: Gov. Mike Beebe signed Arkansas’s new congressional maps into law last Thursday. Note that Arkansas is not subject to DoJ pre-clearance under the Voting Rights Act. And while citizen map-makers have shown it’s possible to draw a majority-minority district in the state, I think a suing to force the creation of such a seat would be a very difficult challenge. So I think these maps are what we’ll get.

Colorado: Diarist larimercodem takes a detailed look at the new redistricting plans submitted by Democrats and Republicans in Colorado. There are half a dozen plans from each side, but all six from each party are pretty similar, so the diarist examines two representative plans. You can find images of all the maps here.

Iowa: Gov. Terry Branstad said on Friday that he’ll sign Iowa’s new maps (passed by both houses of the state lege) into law. Any other decision would have been quite the shocker, though it’s not clear on exactly when he’ll make it official. Also of interest, the Des Moines Register takes a look at the legislative shuffle, where Republicans seemed to mostly get the shaft in terms of what their new districts look like (i.e., more GOPers have to face blue districts than vice versa).

Indiana: A state Senate committee approved new congressional and Senate maps, while a House committee approved the same congressional map as well as a House map.

Maryland: Rep. Steny Hoyer confirms that his buddies in the Maryland legislature are looking to take out freshman GOPer Andy Harris. I feel like these guys could save a lot of money on consultants just by looking at all the MD maps that people on SSP have drawn over the last year! Anyhow, the same article also mentions as an aside that Republican Roscoe Bartlett could be targeted, but it’s just newspaper speculation-there are unfortunately no quotes. It would be a real shame if Maryland Dems didn’t at least think about going for an 8-0 map.

Missouri: It’s definitely been weird to see all these redistricting battles erupt between upper and lower houses of various state legislatures, despite both chambers being controlled by the same party. We saw this in GOP-held Louisiana, we saw it in Dem-controlled Arkansas, and now we’re seeing it in Missouri, where the lege is run entirely by Republicans. The state House and Senate are working on very similar congressional maps but apparently can’t reach agreement, with the Senate refusing to consider the House’s map and, in response, the House taking an adjournment. Republicans are eager to finish work soon, because Dem Gov. Jay Nixon may veto their work, and they want a chance to over-ride it before the current session ends on May 13th.

In any event, here’s a cool link you’ll enjoy: The Columbia Missourian has an interactive map which lets you scroll back in time all the way to 1845 to see how the state’s districts looked after each round of redistricting.

Virginia: I’m really not sure what the next step is for Dems here. Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell, as you know, cannily vetoed the legislature’s plan for remapping both the House and the Senate, decrying the supposedly outrageous Senate gerrymander which would have protected Dem incumbents. The House map was no better when it came to Republicans, but Dems in that chamber stupidly gave the GOP cover by voting for that map.

In any event, the General Assembly has returned to work, but Senate Majority Leader Richard Saslaw, a Dem, says that his body will simply adopt the same plan again and dare McDonnell to veto it a second time. Of course, that would require House Republicans to pass the Senate plan again, which they may be unwilling to do. (For their part, the House GOP will also reconvene and plans to tweak their own map.) If no agreement can be reached, McDonnell risks forcing the courts to draw a new set of maps-something he may well desire, since it would probably give Republicans a better chance of recapturing the Senate. Further delays could also possibly cause issues with DoJ pre-clearance and potentially lead to two sets of elections: One this year with the old maps, and a new round next year with new maps.

Victims: Aaron Blake has a roundup of what he calls the “most likely redistricting victims.” Pretty much all of these names will be familiar to regular readers, and of course, who the hell knows what will happen in California or Florida, but it’s worth a look.

72 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 4/18 (Redistricting Roundup)”

  1. From the Maryland article:

    Johns Hopkins political scientist Matthew A. Crenson says Democrats might have already maximized their opportunities.

    Having “crammed” as many Republicans as they could into the districts now represented by Bartlett and Harris, he said, the Democrats’ only option would be to move some of those GOP voters back into Democratic districts. That could make those districts more vulnerable to competition.

    “There’s not too much they can do,” Crenson said.

    Just about all of us have spent hours on Maryland, and we know that’s just not true.  

  2. Just got an insider look at 3 of the congressional map proposals and Im pretty excited : )

    They are going for a 2-1 and likely combining Capito and the freshman

  3. I’m thinking now that the angry declaration that they’ll just pass the same map again and “dare” another rejection is really just to stall, making enough time to go by that DOJ preclearance is impossible and a court has to follow the early 80s precedent of elections in back-to-back years.

    That would be the next best result for state Senate Dems, with their chosen map rejected.

    They would have a chance to persuade the older state Senators who are looking forward to retirement to stick it out one more year.  One year is a helluva lot smaller ask than 4.  So far there are 2 retirements, but both inside the Beltway in safe Dem seats.  If they can avoid retirements in seats they otherwise could actually lose, they have a good shot at holding their majority this fall under the current map.  Then force Republicans to go along with something friendlier.  And then in 2012 we have a huge advantage!  Republicans benefit in state legislative races from the odd-year elections that always have lower turnout where Democratic-favoring groups just don’t show up.  But put state leg elections on the same day with Obama turnout, and you have some the potential for same major noise in our favor.

    I don’t know if this scenario requires a double bankshot,

    since it relies in the first instance on being able to convince a judge to do back-to-backs.  But maybe they’re calculating that legally a judge has no choice.

  4. Because they had to cut out three (!) districts following the 1933 census, MO legislators couldn’t agree on the new boundaries so they just elected 13 reps at-large.


    “It finally dawned on me why Gov. Jerry Brown hasn’t been able to cut a tax deal with Republicans. It’s because Democratic legislative leaders no longer are allowed to draw legislative and congressional districts…

    If the governor’s allies still could custom-craft districts to legislators’ liking – or to ensure their political demise – they’d be able to make offers that Republicans couldn’t refuse.”

  6. It’s a shame that Washington does redistricting by committee, because drawing an 8D 3R map is pretty trivial.  

    1. But if that were the case, then in 2003 the blue district would be the fourth instead of the ninth.  

  7. Former MD Gov. William Donald Schaefer died today.

    In his prime, this man basically WAS Maryland; he was more than a governor or mayor. He was basically the John Waters of politics, and there will never be another quite like him. I actually have a poster with his picture on it in my room – yes they did make those, to promote voting in general no less, not just voting for him specifically.

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