Redistricting Oregon: O So Svelte

Dave Bradlee finally managed to sort the obnoxious problems with Oregon’s 2010 Census data, which means it’s time for me to give my home state a whirl.

Nothing too much has changed, as you can see. It just has pretty lines and definitely preserves communities of interest. Only three counties (Columbia, Josephine, and Lincoln) are split between congressional districts, and none of those three are split between more than two districts.

OR-01 (blue)

Democratic Rep. David Wu, who lives in Multnomah County, is out. Unfortunately, some depopulation along the Oregon Coast means this district is stretching a bit further south to find constituents, which is maybe the only part of this map I’m not thrilled about (for aesthetic reasons). As for the politics, as this is a horse-race elections site: Despite Yamhill County’s Republican lean, the great majority of this district’s population is in true blue northwestern Oregon. If Wu can be kept out by this redistricting job, state senators Suzanne Bonamici and Mark Hass are probably in line, provided Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian doesn’t want the job. The inside scoop is that if Wu’s job opens up, he’s got first right of refusal. Likely Democratic.

OR-02 (green)

Walden lives in Hood River. Hood River has been moved elsewhere. Even if Walden doesn’t move back – and I think the diehard conservatives in eastern Oregon, which is (surprisingly enough) one of the most conservative parts of the entire country, may prefer to send Oregon Senate Minority Leader Ted Ferrioli or Bend-area state senator and ambitious “rising star” Chris Telfer to Congress instead of Walden, a close ally of (the possibly doomed) Speaker Boehner who has taken flak for being a leading member of the quasi-moderate Main Street Partnership – this district is red enough to elect an Oregonian version of Christine O’Donnell without a fuss. Anyway, I felt Hood River County belongs with eastern Multnomah County in terms of communities of interest more than it belongs with the high desert cow counties. Safe Republican.

OR-03 (purple)

Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer’s district has consolidated all of Multnomah County, taken over Hood River County, and poked up into Columbia County just a tad bit, simultaneously withdrawing from Clackamas County. As for politics: Che Guevara could get elected here by double-digit margins. Walden could run here, but he would get clobbered. Wu could also run here, but he would also get clobbered. Mostly, I just think this district looks nice. Safe Democratic.

OR-04 (red)

One of the enduring mysteries of Congress is the charmed existence of Democratic Rep. Peter DeFazio, a blunt, unabashed, aggressively off-the-reservation left-winger sitting in a light-blue seat. Last year, when conditions seemed perfect for a Republican to potentially upset DeFazio, Republicans in the district nominated certifiable crazy person Art Robinson. DeFazio’s final margin was closer than expected, perhaps on account of his taking victory against Robinson pretty much for granted, but it was still fairly convincing. This district hasn’t changed much. DeFazio still has the red ball-and-chain that is Linn County tethered to him, but it’s easily offset by flaming liberal Benton and Lane counties, both of which are anchored by legendarily left-wing college towns. In terms of actually drawing the map, since I wasn’t consulting political data, it was basically just leftover western Oregon and as much of southern Oregon as fit with population limits stretching east from the coast (which turned out to be not much). Likely Democratic.

OR-05 (yellow)

What is there to do about Democratic Rep. Kurt Schrader? Well, one thing to do that would make Clackamas County residents happy would be to give the piece of OR-03 reaching down a little bit into Schrader’s home county back to this fairly swingy district. Another thing might be to embark on a registration drive in increasingly Hispanic Salem and its suburbs, but that’s not really redistricting’s job. Redistricting’s job is to preserve communities of interest, and that was my chief consideration here. As a progressive who generally supports Democrats, I’m not honestly worried about Schrader, and this is why: Republicans target OR-05 every cycle, and every time, they do worse than they were expecting. Last year, Schrader was supposed to lose to Scott Bruuuuuuuuuuuuuun (who, yes, still lives in this district). He won by over five points instead. Republicans were supposed to take over the district in 2008 when then-Rep. Darlene Hooley retired. Schrader crushed Hooley’s 2006 opponent (who was supposed to beat her then, too) by 16 points. Fun fact: in this D+1 district, Republicans haven’t even come as close as five points away since 1994 – the cycle before then-Rep. Jim Bunn lost to Hooley (in 1996) by a margin nearly identical to the margin by which Schrader prevailed last year. For whatever reason, this district is fools’ gold for the Oregon Republican Party. But my favorite part of this redrawn district? It consists simply of all of Polk, Marion, and Clackamas counties, and it’s just 515 heads over the target population. Sexy. Lean Democratic.

Arkansas Redistricting: Can It Be Done?

There has evidently been some discussion of drawing a minority-majority district in Arkansas to give the Democrats a buffer against an 0-4 Republican sweep.

My criteria for making this map was:

1. There must be a minority-majority district, no matter how hideous.

2. Rep. Ross must have a district he could potentially retain.

3. Rep. Griffin cannot be allowed to have a safe district to himself.

I’m not going to go district-by-district, mostly because I’m already up past my bedtime. But we have an open seat here, and it’s something new and blue. It’s also 49% white, 44% black, and although it goes up to majority-white when you VAP it, most Democratic primary voters will probably be black, and it’s diverse enough to be a solid Democratic district.

As for Ross and Griffin, they get to square off over my hideous reincarnation of AR-04, which includes a hefty portion of Pulaski County and has a PVI probably not too far off the current R+7 version. But I’m just eyeballing it, and I’ve never even been to Arkansas, so someone should correct me if I’m wrong.

Rep. Womack gets to sit pretty in AR-03, and Rep. Crawford should be quite comfortable in AR-02, a.k.a. the Jolly Green Giant.

North Carolina (Updated!): The Map That Gets Uglier Each Time You Draw It

The lack of political data is a bit of a drawback in coming up with these North Carolina maps, but I’ve drawn North Carolina a few times now. In my experience, it’s hard to draw a pretty map, and in fact, I think it keeps getting grosser and grosser the more I try.

The idea here was to draw a rather unfriendly 4-9 gerrymander for the Republicans. I think it came out largely successfully, though at least two of those GOP districts (and perhaps one Democratic district) may be prone to a bit of wobble. I’d call it a 4-8-1 overall.

NC-01 (blue)

Rep. G.K. Butterfield, the Democrat who represents this VRA district, has little to complain about. It’s not pretty, but it is 44.4% white, 46.7% black, and no Republicans will be interested in seriously challenging Butterfield out here. Safe Democratic.

NC-02 (green)

Hey, it’s an open seat. Well, maybe. This district gobbles up a lot of ruby-red central North Carolina, much of which is currently held by Republican Rep. Howard Coble in modern-day NC-06, one of the most Republican districts in the country. I’m not exactly sure where Coble resides in Greensboro, but most of Greensboro is in another district, so I think this is open. Rep. Renee Ellmers, the freshman Republican who claims this district today, is certainly drawn out. No matter who runs here, the Republican will win unless he or she is caught with a live boy or a dead girl, as the saying goes. Safe Republican.

NC-03 (purple)

Republican Rep. Walter B. Jones, Jr., gets more respect here than most Republican congressmen. He’s an ally of Rep. Ron Paul, the iconoclastic Texas Republican who kick-started the nascent libertarian uprising within the Republican Party back in 2007 and 2008 when he ran for president, then flatly refused to endorse the party’s nominee, Sen. John McCain, in favor of holding a rival event to the Republican National Convention across town. The quirky Jones should be happy with this district, which looks rather similar to his current turf. He benefits heavily from water continuity here, of course. Safe Republican.

NC-04 (red)

Yes. Here is where things get a bit twisted. Democratic Rep. David Price gets thrown into the blender together with current NC-13 Rep. Brad Miller, another Democrat, in this urban vote sink. A primary fight between Price and Miller, both of whom claim a very Democratic voting record and both of whom are members of the extremely endangered club of white Democratic congressmen from the South, could be the source of some yucky schadenfreude for delighted Republican spectators. Whoever is the Democratic nominee will hold this seat, guaranteed. Safe Democratic.

NC-05 (yellow)

This is where Coble goes out of his NC-06. It’s a combination of the northern parts of that district and the current NC-05. Republican Rep. Virginia Foxx, otherwise known as the Mean Granny, has been redistricted elsewhere, paying the price of living at the absolute extremity of her district. If the district absorbed swingy Winston-Salem, it might be more competitive, but in this configuration, Republicans won’t sweat it. Safe Republican.

NC-06 (teal)

Mean Granny actually ends up here, in the district that soaks up Winston-Salem. She has little reason to complain, though, as outside of some parts of the city, the district is eye-blisteringly red. Foxx is such a piece of work that it’d be nice to think a strong Democrat could take her out, but in this configuration, she or any other Republican who runs is basically secure starts out with a solid edge. Safe Likely Republican.

NC-07 (grey)

Somehow, Ellmers lands in this district, while current Democratic Rep. Mike McIntyre goes elsewhere. With all the grace of a drunken giraffe, this district lurches from Ellmers’s home of Dunn down to the South Carolina border, scooping up lots of ancestrally Democratic territory. McIntyre likely would have gotten the boot last year were he not matched up against accused murderer and former Goldman Sachs stooge Ilario Pantano, as demographic trends in this area have not smiled on the Democratic Party. I’d rate Ellmers the favorite, but she’s not exactly Albert Einstein herself, and a good Democratic recruit could give the party a chance at keeping this seat blue post-McIntyre. Lean Likely Republican.

NC-08 (slate blue)

McIntyre, of course, wound up here, in the district now represented in Congress by his fellow Blue Dog Democrat, Rep. Larry Kissell. There’s been some talk of McIntyre running against near-toxic Gov. Perdue for the Democratic nomination in next year’s gubernatorial election, and if he gets deathmatched against his buddy Kissell (as appears likely), the odds probably go up. This district is probably going to stay in the Democratic column thanks to Fayetteville and the potent incumbency of Kissell, but the PVI is going to be pretty close to EVEN and Republicans will probably still want to take a crack at flipping it. Likely Democratic.

NC-09 (cyan)

Rep. Sue Myrick, the longtime Republican congresswoman here, has kept a low profile on the national stage, but she’s well-connected and well-loved in suburban Charlotte. Her district has not changed too much at all, and she’s a lock for reelection if she runs. Safe Likely Republican.

NC-10 (magenta)

This district is the unlucky one charged with cracking the Democratic stronghold of Asheville, credited by some with keeping Rep. Heath Shuler, the Blue Dog Democrat representing NC-11, in Congress last year. Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry should be able to handle it, seeing as that most of the rest of his district remains the same (though it no longer stretches to the Tennessee border) and the modern-day incarnation is a dramatic R+17. Safe Republican.

NC-11 (chartreuse)

The man with the biggest target on his back in North Carolina redistricting this year, Shuler has been an irritant to the North Carolina Republican Party (as well as the national Democratic Party, but that’s another story) due to his apparent inability to lose despite occupying an intensely Republican district. But with about two-thirds of Asheville locked away in NC-10, this could be the end for Shuler. The thing is, I wouldn’t count the man out. Tossup/Tilt Republican.

NC-12 (cornflower blue)

I haven’t exactly made my loathing of Democratic Rep. Mel Watt, the congressman for Bank of America NC-12, a secret on this site. But he’s got a VRA district, albeit perhaps the most atrocious one in the country, and he’s not going anywhere. Republicans said they’d like to kill this grotesque district, which snakes from Charlotte up to Greensboro, but they also don’t want to get nerfed with a retrogression suit, because a court-drawn map of North Carolina would look a hell of a lot different than a Republican gerrymander. This district is 31.4% white, 47.6% black, and 14.2% Latino, which is about as strong a minority-majority district as can be drawn here. Safe Democratic.

NC-13 (salmon)

Despite its color, this district is not intended for every SSPer’s favorite authentic self-utilizing power along the lines of excellence, last seen launching a committee to explore just how many points he would lose by to independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. With two pairs of Democratic congressmen deathmatched, this district must be North Carolina’s second open seat, and it’s a doozy. It’s basically an incomplete ring around the Research Triangle, joining together a bunch of white-collar suburbs and exurbs. It doesn’t exactly scream “recipe for Democratic strength”, but it’s an open seat, so it could be surprising. I’d bet strongly on a competent Republican candidate, though. Likely Republican Tossup.

UPDATE: roguemapper kindly calculated some political data (based on the 2008 election results) for the above map. This inspired me to get slightly more diabolical. If Republicans wanted to get very, very aggressive (and maybe a little bit spiteful), they could try a map like this:

I’d call this a 4-9, but I haven’t crunched the numbers yet. One of those Republican districts will belong to Rep. Heath “Captain Jack Harkness” Shuler, cursed with apparent political invulnerability, but there’s only so much you can do in redistricting.

NC-01 (blue)

No change from previous map. Safe Democratic.

NC-02 (green)

This district takes up a lot of swingy territory (helping to push a few marginal Republican seats deeper into the red) and tries to smother it with rural territory. It’s still an open seat, I believe. Democrats’ biggest foe here is its lack of geographic compactness; I don’t see a Durham-area Democrat running strongly in northern Cumberland County, for example, which would find a Blue Dog more palatable than Democrats from the Research Triangle would. Likely Republican.

NC-03 (purple)

No change here. Safe Republican.

NC-04 (red)

No change here. Safe Democratic.

NC-05 (yellow)

Scooping up more of Greensboro in exchange for some rural counties on the Virginia border will push the PVI of this district a point or two more Democratic, but it should remain a solid Republican district, especially with veteran Coble entrenched in the Greensboro area. Safe Republican.

NC-06 (teal)

No change here. Likely Republican.

NC-07 (grey)

No change here. Likely Republican.

NC-08 (slate blue)

One of the cruelest districts I’ve ever drawn, this minority-majority district basically screws both Kissell and McIntyre (who are both drawn into it) in the primary. That’s probably no benefit to Republicans, as Kissell and McIntyre are among the least loyal members of the Democratic caucus, but it fulfills the vendettas of the North Carolina Republican Party. Plus, if a black Democrat from Greensboro sneaks through in a primary, the consternation of ancestral Democrats happy enough to vote for Kissell and willing to begrudgingly pull the lever for President Obama in 2008 could give a moderate “good ol’ boy” Republican (including Kissell, if he switched parties) an opening. 45% white, 34.1% black, 8.2% Latino, 8.1% American Indian. Likely Democratic.

NC-09 (cyan)

Myrick gets a safer seat, with a lot of blueing Charlotte gobbled up by Watt and a lot of reddish territory incorporated into this district. Safe Republican.

NC-10 (magenta)

No change here. Safe Republican.

NC-11 (chartreuse)

No change here. Note that as before, the rating is only because Shuler is Shuler; in an unlikely open-seat scenario, it’s almost certain to flip. Tossup/Tilt Republican.

NC-12 (orange)

Yes, I changed the color. And the shape. Watt’s ugly snake-shaped district has been made more compact, and in turn, it has become much whiter. It remains minority-majority, but by a smaller margin, and it is white-plurality. 44.4% white, 35.6% black, 13.8% Latino. Safe Democratic.

NC-13 (salmon)

This district loses suburban Durham and Orange counties in exchange for exurban Chatham and Lee counties. This should be the district I meant to draw last time. Still an open seat. Likely Republican.

Nevada Redistricting: Silver State, It’s Your Time to Shine

Fast-growing Nevada is adding a fourth congressional district in this round of redistricting. The C.W. says Republicans, who control the governor’s mansion, and Democrats, who control both houses of the State Legislature, will work toward a 2-2 compromise, although the solidity of one Republican seat may be dubious. I tend to think a 2-1-1 map is likelier, with the swing district favoring the incumbent.

Forth Eorlingas:

Now, uh, before getting deep into this, I should note that unlike some of our Nevadan SSPers, I haven’t memorized the home addresses of every sitting congressperson in Nevada or every prospective candidate for the new NV-04 or a (likely) vacancy in NV-01 or NV-02. So, this map may need some tweaking. Just let me know, help me out.

I’ll start out of order, because the way districts are numbered in Nevada is weird.

NV-02 (green)

Rep. Dean Heller, the Republican congressman for this district, is widely expected to launch a primary challenge to sleazy Sen. Ensign, but he seems to be crossing his fingers for a retirement in the meantime. The trend for Republicans in Northern Nevada is…not great. Washoe County is quickly becoming another Democratic stronghold in the state, and the surrounding counties appear to be on a blue trend. Elko, in northeastern Nevada, is a Republican stronghold, and the minor population center there combined with the still-reddish sprawl around Reno and Carson City should keep this district on the Republican side of the PVI line, but it’s uncomfortably close to EVEN PVI and there doesn’t seem to be a lot Republicans can do about it. If Heller runs, he’ll probably retain it, but if he goes for Senate, it’s going to be very close in a presidential year. Tossup/Tilt Republican.

NV-01 (blue)

I think the expectation is that Democratic Rep. Shelly Berkley will run for Senate, potentially setting up a marquee battle with Heller, her colleague in the Nevada congressional delegation. I’m pretty sure her house is included in this district either way – but the person I had in mind while drawing this district is Steven Horsford, the term-limited Nevada Senate Majority Leader. Horsford, if elected, would become the first African American congressman from the Mountain West in…a while. The racial breakdown, for the curious, is 52.3% white, 13.4% black, 20.2% Latino, and 10% Asian. Safe Democratic.

NV-03 (yellow)

This district is represented by freshman Rep. Joe Heck, the Republican who put Southern-talkin’ Democrat Dina Titus on ice last year even as Sen. Reid stomped nutty Tea Party conservative Sharron Angle by a five-point spread. Interestingly enough, Heck would see his district balloon out substantially to eclipse NV-02 in size under this map. While the vast majority of this district’s population is in Clark County, the little fraction that comes out of the rest of the state has a huge geographic footprint, because the cow counties are so underpopulated (this may have something to do with them being a jumble of arid desert, craggy mountain ranges, and current and former nuclear test sites). Heck, who lives in Henderson, gets the lion’s share of exurban Clark County, as well as bedroom communities in Nye County, and the more conservative Las Vegas suburbs. Titus has been redistricted out, but she could always move back, I suppose. Likely Republican.

NV-04 (red)

Nevada is getting a brand-new district, and that means at least one open-seat contest next year. Potential Democratic candidates for this VRA seat (31% white, 10.1% black, 49.2% Latino, 6.7% Asian) include Ruben Kihuen, a Mexican American state senator with an independent streak; John Oceguera, the term-limited Speaker of the State Assembly, who would become the country’s only Native American congressman if elected; Richard Carrillo, also a member of the State Assembly; and Dina Titus, the former NV-03 representative. This district should be solid ground for the Democrats, whoever runs, although I think a Latino Democrat would be favored in the primary. Safe Democratic.

Redistricting in Missouri (Updated!): Return of the Revenge of the United States Census

Well, Missouri was one of the Big Losers once the 2010 Census numbers came in. It’s sloughing a congressional district, which probably means two or more congresspeople get drawn together.

Let’s do this.

The map, if you’re familiar with my previous proposals for redistricting Missouri, isn’t going to look scads different from maps I’ve drawn before. I had to draw this map from scratch in order to use the 2010 Census data – hence the (Updated!). Sorry about the confusion there. This map is roughly 2-5-1, with the swing district probably favoring the Republican by a smidgen.

MO-01 (blue)

The C.W. is that Rep. Lacy Clay, the Democrat, will have to take all of St. Louis City to maintain his VRA seat. This is not actually true. This district, as drawn, is actually 48.7% black, 43.4% white – and it’s hard to do better, as South City isn’t much less white than north St. Charles County (which actually does have some pockets of black-majority precincts for Clay to collect). Now, granted, any part of St. Louis City is probably more Democratic than just about anywhere in St. Charles County, but if 90% of blacks vote for the Democrat, it’s pretty damn hard to see this district being competitive for Team Red. Safe Democratic.

MO-02 (green)

As I said, Republican Rep. Todd Akin is talking up a prospective Senate bid, and it sounds like a deal may be in the works for former ambassador to Luxembourg and defeated candidate for Republican National Committee chair Ann Wagner to succeed him. This district takes in a large share of the Greater St. Louis exurbs and white-collar suburbs, though I believe it retains Akin’s home in Town and Country. Akin or Wagner or not, this district isn’t terribly likely to go blue; it occupies some of the most Republican parts of the state. Safe Republican.

MO-03 (purple)

I did all I could for Democratic Rep. Russ Carnahan, one of the scions of the powerful Carnahan political dynasty. I gave him the southern parts of St. Louis City. I tried to limit the damage in terms of the parts of modern-day MO-02 he soaked up. I kept the Republican territory snaking down the Mississippi River to Cape Girardeau to as plausible a minimum as I thought Missouri Democrats and Gov. Nixon might be able to get away with demanding, handing him Democratic-leaning Jefferson County to help balance things out. But I still would give Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, the Republican congresswoman drawn together with Carnahan, the slight edge here. Tossup/Tilt Republican.

MO-04 (red)

This district loses a lot of the sprawl into central Missouri in favor of scooping around urban Kansas City, picking up a portion of the northern environs currently contained in MO-06. Rep. Vicki Hartzler, the Republican representing this district, should be completely fine here; Republicans will want to protect her, as she just took over this seat last year, by cutting out some of Ike Skelton’s old stomping grounds around Jefferson City. The parts of Greater Kansas City Hartzler picks up should be red enough, too. Safe Republican.

MO-05 (yellow)

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, the black Democrat representing this white-majority district, sees his turf consolidate around the more urban, likely-Democratic precincts of Kansas City. Democrats in the legislature will take pains to shore him up after his uncomfortably close reelection last year. Safe Democratic.

MO-06 (slate blue)

Republican Rep. Sam Graves gets pretty much all of “Little Dixie” in northeastern Missouri from modern-day MO-09. While Graves has been viewed in past cycles as potentially vulnerable, Republicans should be happy with the tweaks to his district, despite the addition of Jefferson City and Columbia; Little Dixie has a more Republican PVI than some of the swingy Kansas City suburbs picked up by Cleaver and Hartzler. Safe Republican.

MO-07 (magenta)

This district has changed very little. Republican Rep. Billy Long takes a bit of territory off Hartzler’s hands, but otherwise, it’s the same district. Safe Republican.

MO-08 (orange)

This district has changed very little except to exchange Emerson’s Cape Girardeau County with parts of central Missouri, including Republican Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer’s home in Miller County. Safe Republican.

Now, if Emerson pushes back against the idea of being thrown into the octagon with Carnahan next year, I drew this map with a scenario in mind that has been floated recently: Red. Todd Akin, the Republican representative from MO-02, vacating his seat to run for Congress.

This map gives Luetkemeyer most of Akin’s turf, rather than letting him take over Emerson’s district from his convenient central location. It’s still a 2-5-1 map.

MO-01 (blue)

Not much different than in the other map, including racial breakdown (43.5% white, 48.6% black). Safe Democratic.

MO-02 (green)

This district connects Miller County, where Luetkemeyer resides, with the Greater St. Louis suburbs and exurbs currently represented by Akin. This should be blood-red Republican territory. Wagner might run against Luetkemeyer, but I don’t think the Republicans would draw this map if they wanted that to happen, unless Luetkemeyer decides to retire for some reason. Either way, it doesn’t really matter in terms of partisan breakdown. Safe Republican.

MO-03 (purple)

There are two real beneficiaries of this map as opposed to the previous one. Carnahan is one of them. This district should be very close to EVEN PVI, and his incumbency as well as his political connections should be enough to consider him a slight favorite. Tossup/Tilt Democratic.

MO-08 (orange)

Skipping ahead to Emerson’s district, as the other districts haven’t changed from the previous map: she is, of course, the other beneficiary of this alternate proposal, because she’s completely safe here in a district that has changed very little other than to take in some additional Republican territory. Safe Republican.

Questions? Comments? Complaints?

Random Antics: Hypothetical Connecticut Redistricting

Well, I started thinking about ways the Connecticut Democratic Party can get Ted Kennedy, Jr., into politics without potentially screwing over Rep. Chris Murphy of CT-05, the bold young soul in a bid for the Senate seat held by retiring independent Sen. Joseph Lieberman. And I thought, “Well, what about starting him off with a nice House seat?” And that evolved into wondering about exactly how to negate the fact that CT-05 represents a pickup opportunity for the Republicans, provided they field a good candidate, now that Murphy is moving on to (hopefully) bigger and better things.

I came up with this map.

What I’ve done here is I’ve basically cracked the existing CT-05, giving pieces of it to CT-01 (pink), CT-04 (red), and the new south-central-based incarnation of CT-05 (blue). I can’t guarantee Rep. Jim Himes in CT-04 is going to be thrilled, considering he had a closer-than-expected reelection campaign against Dan Debicella (drawn into Rep. Rosa DeLauro’s CT-03 [purple] on this map); Rep. John Larson in CT-01 should be fine, considering the sizable Democratic tilt of Hartford. I think Democrats will have to concede one district as “fair fight” and hope the state’s strong Democratic proclivities and a mediocre Republican bench are enough to keep it in friendly hands, and I think they’d rather trust an incumbent member of Congress to hold it down rather than the likes of First Selectman Mary Glassman, whose ticket didn’t even come close to prevailing in the Democratic gubernatorial primary last year. Having two close districts, as they did last year, is a bit uncomfortable when the Republicans remain capable of winning statewide at least on the state government level.

I’m not too knowledgeable about Connecticut politics in particular. My idea here is that by drawing CT-03 a bit west, CT-04 a bit north, CT-01 over into the northwestern corner of the state (making it much more compact in the process), and CT-02 more into the north-central than the south-central part of the state, I could create a new, open-seat CT-05 without jeopardizing the Democrats’ control of the congressional delegation. This CT-05 is specifically drawn for Kennedy, who lives in Branford (just east of the new boundary with CT-03, in the vicinity of New Haven). With a seat tailor-made for his political debut, Kennedy might be less tempted to upset the apple cart by making a damn-the-torpedoes run at the Democratic nomination-a scenario the Democratic establishment in Connecticut and the DSCC would surely like to avoid.

All I Want for Christmas is a Nevada Redistricting

Merry Christmas to everyone who celebrates it, whether on 25 December or otherwise. While waiting for the ham to be done, I drew up a map of Nevada with four shiny new districts, just what the U.S. Census Bureau ordered.

The way I drew it, we’re basically looking at a 2-2 map, with three if not all of those districts being somewhat “soft” (potentially competitive in the right cycle) due to the quirks of Nevada geography, politics, and geopolitics. Some people on other threads (the Missouri one, for example) have suggested that Gov.-elect Sandoval and the Republicans will probably be satisfied to shore up Rep.-elect Heck somewhat in exchange for letting the Democrats have their way, to an extent, with the new NV-04. I’m inclined to agree. Also, drawing a safe 1-3 map for a rapidly blueing state like Nevada is not terribly easy.

I don’t usually go out of order, but we should probably start at the top here (geographically rather than numerically) because Nevada is an oddly shaped state.

NV-02 (green, safe lean Republican)

Rep. Dean Heller, a Republican, is thought to be prepping a Senate bid against Sen. John Ensign, the scandal-tarnished Republican incumbent whose unreliability and moral flexibility has been a thorn in the side of Republican leadership in Nevada and in Washington for several years now. If he decides to forgo a bid for statewide office in favor of running for reelection, I doubt he’ll have a problem here. Washoe County may be swingy, but Heller is popular, and any Republican can run up crushing margins in the cow counties. If Heller runs for Senate in 2012, though, Republicans and Democrats alike will want to put a lot of effort into recruiting top-tier candidates here.

NV-01 (blue, safe Democratic)

Vegas, baby! This is Rep. Shelley Berkley’s district, and she’s considered the likeliest Democrat to run for Ensign’s seat in 2012. I figure she’ll vacate, and it’s just as well, because although Nevada isn’t a VRA preclearance state, the Department of Justice may lean on the incoming Sandoval administration to ensure a minority-majority seat. Latinos are actually about a quarter of Nevada’s population, they’re the fastest-growing demographic, and it’s pretty easy to draw a compact Latino-plurality district. This district is actually 28% white, 14% black, 6% Asian, and 49% Latino, going off 2008 population estimates, and I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts it’s outright Latino-majority in the new census data. Sandoval himself may do okay here, but it’s a safe Democratic district.

NV-03 (purple, likely Republican)

Rep.-elect Joe Heck edged Rep. Dina Titus, flipping the present “fair fight” incarnation of this district from blue to red, last month. One of Sandoval’s top priorities will be shoring him up. Adding a bunch of cow counties and consolidating the district’s hold on white-collar Clark County precincts is a decent way of accomplishing that. While Sharron Angle might lose this district, and Titus could conceivably take it back, it now tips pretty firmly in Heck’s favor.

NV-04 (red, likely Democratic)

One of the big reasons why the current NV-03 is a swing district is that it includes both Democratic and Republican areas along with some subdivisions that go both ways (no, not like that, most of those are pretty heavily Democratic). I gave most of those Republican areas to my NV-03, or at least I tried to, while NV-04 takes over most of the Democratic areas, centering around Spring Valley. It’s a mostly suburban district, though it includes just a bit of rural Clark County up Highway 95. Titus or another strong Democrat with a suburban base should be pretty solid here except in particularly gruesome cycles, although a socially moderate or libertarian Republican could potentially win it.

As a Christmas bonus, I’m also going to repost my revised and updated map for Missouri, which shrinks to eight districts in 2012’s redistricting, without much commentary:

This isn’t necessarily the most favorable map Democrats can possibly get, but it’s probably the most favorable map they’re likely to get in 2012. (There’s a whole discussion about this on the other diary.) It’s probably a 3-5 map, with Democratic Rep. Russ Carnahan’s MO-03 (purple) likely playing host to a deathmatch between Carnahan and Republican Rep. Jo Ann Emerson of Cape Girardeau in 2012.

A few quick notes: Democratic Rep. Lacy Clay’s MO-01 (blue) is 48% white, 47% black, remaining VRA-compliant. I was of the school of thought saying it couldn’t be done without throwing Carnahan overboard, but there you have it. Carnahan’s share of St. Louis County consists almost entirely of precincts that voted for then-Sen. Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election, so I think Mr. Local Boy has a good base there. And Republican Rep. Todd Akin’s home in rich white Town and Country remains in his district of MO-02 (green).

Not much to add here. Democratic Rep. Emanuel Cleaver in MO-08 (slate blue), renumbered from the current MO-05, still doesn’t get a VRA district, but he’s a good politician who is popular with both white and black Democrats in Kansas City. I resisted the urge to dismember Republican Rep.-elect Vicki Hartzler’s MO-05 (yellow), renumbered from the current MO-04, because I didn’t think the Republicans in the Missouri state legislature would let such a plan get to Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon’s desk.

Hope everyone is dividing their time as they see fit between family, friends, and politics. Thoughts on either map are welcome and appreciated.

Missouri Redistricting (Updated!)

I don’t know much about Missouri politics, but I do know the state is ending up with eight districts (down one) after redistricting, and Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon gets the opportunity to veto any map that is submitted by the legislature. So, I drew up a quick-and-dirty map.

I think Nixon and the Democrats are likely to settle for a 2-5-1 map. Anything better for the Democrats isn’t going to pass muster in the legislature, and anything better for the Republicans is going to get vetoed.

MO-01 (blue, safe Democratic)

Democratic Rep. William Lacy Clay gets to keep his safe urban district, which remains narrowly minority-majority (48% white, 47% black). Not much to add here. I definitely don’t think the northward excursion into St. Charles County will be enough to give a Republican an opening, especially with the racial demographics staying pretty much as is. If Clay gets to draw his own district, it might end up more confined to St. Louis City than in this drawing, but I think Nixon will be talking to Clay and other African American legislators to ensure a 2-5-1 map. If he can keep them safe, there’s no real reason for them to throw Democratic Rep. Russ Carnahan in MO-03 to the wolves altogether.

MO-02 (green, likely Republican)

This wealthy, white suburban district, currently held by Republican Rep. Todd Akin, has been consolidated somewhat. I think he should retain it barring a stern Democratic challenge, although a Democrat with suburban appeal might be able to make him sweat considering the lack of ruby-red rural areas. And I don’t know exactly where Rep. Carnahan lives, but if he and Akin are drawn into the same district, that would be a marquee battle.

MO-03 (purple, swing)

Assuming Rep. Carnahan runs in this district, I think he might have a tougher go of things than before. It includes a lot more of rural Missouri along the Mississippi River, though it includes enough of St. Louis and its suburbs to remain competitive. Republican Rep. Jo Ann Emerson has also been drawn into this district, so it’d be a classic urban-rural matchup.

MO-04 (red, safe Republican)

Rep.-elect Billy Long should be able to keep this seat Republican despite having a lot of new territory to cover.

MO-05 (yellow, likely Republican)

Republican Rep.-elect Vicki Hartzler gets some new ground, too, including most of the current MO-07, but I don’t really see this district swinging either way, maybe unless Democratic Rep.-elect Ike Skelton ran again. But I doubt he will.

MO-06 (teal, safe Republican)

It was a bit of a pain to keep Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, the Republican congressman for the current MO-09 (which encompasses most of this district), in this district. He’d be fine here.

MO-07 (grey, safe Republican)

Republican Rep. Tom Graves overcame his stiffest challenge in 2008 with flying colors. He’s solid here, despite this district including so much of (suburban) Jackson County. No reason to think he’s not safe.

MO-08 (slate blue, safe Democratic)

This district is basically Democratic Rep. Emanuel Cleaver’s current MO-05, urban Jackson and Clay counties stealing a few precincts from the urban parts of Cass and Platte counties. Cleaver should be just fine here.

Thoughts? Expertise from more Missouri-savvy SSPers?

What if Oregon Gets That Sixth District?

Oregon is one of the closest states, at last projection, to adding a House seat (and an electoral vote). I believe the Democrats should be cheering for this outcome, and here is why.

I think this map should shake out to a 5D-1R split in a neutral year, although Republicans may be able to swing the new OR-06 in an especially good year.

OR-01 (salmon, safe Democratic)

Democratic Rep. David Wu’s district consolidates to the western Portland suburbs, Portland’s West Hills, Columbia County, and the Oregon side of the Columbia River Delta. Wu is safe now in a district that includes a lot more reddish territory. He’s safe here.

OR-02 (red, safe Republican)

Eastern Oregon will never, ever vote for a Democrat. As incumbent Republican Rep. Greg Walden, who lives in Hood River, has been drawn out of this district, I think the electorate here would be happy to elect a more conservative Republican. State Senate Minority Leader Ted Ferrioli of John Day would be a top recruit, but really, Some Dude could win here as long as he touted his conservatism and ran on the Republican ticket.

OR-03 (green, safe Democratic

This district is basically just most of Multnomah County. Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer could get reelected here until the day he dies. After that, I’m sure this district would be happy to elect any other Democrat.

OR-04 (purple, safe Democratic)

Yes, it still includes Linn County. Yes, it retains most of Douglas County. It also includes all of Lane County, including the People’s Republic of Eugene. It also includes the most liberal parts of the Oregon Coast. Democratic Rep. Peter DeFazio is safe here. If and when he retires, I like Albany Mayor Sharon Konopa to succeed him, although I have no idea if she’s interested; running on a platform of environmental conservation and responsible urban growth management in a city renowned for being a conservative island in the middle of the sapphire Willamette Valley, she stomped the chairwoman of the Linn County Republican Central Committee in a nonpartisan election last month.

OR-05 (yellow, likely Democratic)

Yamhill and Polk counties are Republican, but Benton County is Democratic, and Marion County is bluer than not, especially with the influx of Latinos along the I-5 corridor from Salem to Aurora. The district also includes southern precincts of Washington and Clackamas counties. Democratic Rep. Kurt Schrader has been drawn out of this district, but Brian Clem, a Salem-area state representative who briefly was a candidate for governor this cycle, is probably in line to succeed him in any district centered on Salem. Fellow Salem-area representatives Kevin Cameron and Vicki Berger are probably the likeliest Republican entries, although I think Berger is too moderate to win in a primary. Matt Wingard, a representative from Wilsonville, could pick up support from the conservative wing of the party if he ran, but any competent Democrat would clean his clock in a district like this.

OR-06 (blue, lean Democratic)

This is the new district, and it could swing. But it includes the Democratic stronghold of Hood River County, most of blueing Clackamas County, and all of blueing Deschutes County. Not sure if it would have gone Republican this year; I believe Gov.-elect Kitzhaber narrowly lost the portions of the state included in this hypothetical district, but Sen. Wyden won it pretty handily. Democratic Rep. Kurt Schrader and Republican Rep. Greg Walden have both been drawn into this district. The terrain is more familiar for Walden, but Schrader has a base in populous Clackamas County and probably an overall advantage in terms of what politics are likely to play here. If Walden wants to move next door, Chris Telfer, a Bend-area state senator, would be the Republicans’ top recruit here; if Schrader would prefer to run in OR-05, his current district, the Democrats would probably like to turn to Rick Metsger, a Mount Hood-area state senator.

This whole exercise may be entirely academic. We’ll know for sure on 21 December…

Maryland and Utah: Plausible Redistricting Maps

This writeup will be brief and will lack detail pictures. Dave’s app ate one of my save files for the Maryland map, and the Utah map I drew up on a public computer when I was bored.

Utah will gain one seat. Rep. Matheson, the only Democrat in the Beehive State’s congressional district, has resisted every effort to defeat him. With the Wasatch Front gobbling up so much of Utah’s voting population and Salt Lake County trending blue, I think Utah Republicans will be relieved to confine Matheson to the state’s most populous county and parcel out his redder rural and suburban territory to help create a new district. Rep. Chaffetz will probably run against Sen. Hatch in 2012, but if he doesn’t, he could run in the new UT-04, as he’s been drawn out of UT-03. It really doesn’t matter, as UT-01, UT-03, and UT-04 would probably vote for Attila the Hun as long as he could prove he was a naturalized U.S. citizen.

All of these districts but MD-06 (teal) are safe Democratic seats. I posted this map in the comments section of a now-buried diary, but I figured I’d repost it in a new diary. Rep. Kratovil can run for MD-01 (blue) from his Stevensville home in coastal Queen Anne’s County. Rep. Bartlett has been drawn out of MD-06, with the blueing city of Frederick (as well as its little cousin of Hagerstown, in Washington County) drawn into Rep. Van Hollen’s MD-08 (slate blue). Rep.-elect Harris would probably do just fine in MD-06. Just to give you an idea of exactly how Democratic this state is, MD-06 voted for Sen. McCain over Sen. Obama in 2008 by within a point of the same margin by which MD-05 (yellow) and MD-08 broke for Sen. Obama. MD-04 (red) and MD-07 (grey) are black-majority VRA districts (54% black, 22% white; and 53% black, 33% white respectively). I may have drawn Rep. Sarbanes out of MD-03 (purple), but moving across Baltimore is really not a big deal for a congressman.