Louisiana Redistricting Maps

Well, I checked the poll results from my New Jersey map and the most popular result was Louisiana. I next plan to do Minnesota or Georgia so you can help me decide by voting in the poll below. Mainly because of Katrina, Louisiana will lose one electoral vote. Unfortunately, most of the population loss comes from New Orleans, a Democratic stronghold. This means that I had to extend the 2nd district all the way out to Baton Rogue through some marginal territory. My main objectives were to keep the 2nd district at Black majority status, keep the 3rd district safe enough for a Democrat. Charlie Melancon, its current Representative is running for Senate so the district needs to be safe enough for him if he loses the Senate race and decides to return to the 3rd. It also needs to be safe for another Democrat who would replace him if Melancon beats Vitter. I was able to create the majority Black 4th district which is very convoluted. You will see it before I even tell you what color it is. I think the map will create a 3-3 delegation. Trust me, a Republican controlled Legislature and Governorship will never let this plan pass. Feel free to share your thoughts. The link to my maps is http://frogandturtle.blogspot….

District 1 Steve Scalise (R) Blue

This district contains St. Tammany and Livingston Parishes. It contains parts of Jefferson, Ascension, Tangipahoa, and Washington Parishes. I tried to make this district as Republican as possible and I think I got it to be somewhere in the low 70’s. I slightly increased the Black population to 14% and the white population is 77%. Since Bill Cassidy is losing his Baton Rogue based district, he might want to take a run at this one. He probably will lose to Scalise, the current 1st district congressman. This is definitely a safe Republican hold. Status is Solid Republican.

District 2 Joseph Cao (R) Green

Since New Orleans lost a lot of people through Katrina, I had to snake the district up into Baton Rouge. This was detrimental to my plan and may have inadvertently weakened a few Democrats. The district contains all of Orleans Parish, parts of Jefferson, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. John the Baptist, St. James, Ascension, Iberville, West Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge Parish. This district barely has an African American majority and I hope that a Democrat holds it instead of Cao by the time they redistrict. It looks to me like a safe hold for a Democrat so we should not worry. Well, the stats are 52% Black and 39% White. Obama’s numbers here were probably between 58% and 64%. Status is Solid Democrat if Cao loses in 2010 which will probably happen.

District 3 Charlie Melancon (D) Purple

Before I tell you more about this district, I just want to say to Charles Melancon that I wish I gave you more Democratic precincts. I removed a lot of the river ones when I gave them to Districts 2 and 4. Anyway, the district has been Conservative while Melancon had it and he has been able to win not by nail biters. Since its original form has not been altered much, he could probably find a way to hold on unless a strong Republican ran against Melancon. Unfortunately, I put in some Republican precincts in East Baton Rogue but I think they should not alter the district too much. They might encourage Bill Cassidy to run in this district. Since he is unfamiliar to the voters outside of the Baton Rogue area, he does not have a strong chance of winning. The stats for the district are 24% Black and 69% White. They are the same as the current demographics for the district so I think Melancon will hold it unless Boustany decides to bail out and not run in the 6th. This district should vote Democratic in statewide elections. Status: Likely Democrat if Melancon runs without the 6th district congressman, Lean Republican if he does not.

District 4 No Incumbent Red

Boy, did I try here to pull off one. I created it to connect precincts with African Americans from Baton Rouge to Shreveport! It meanders along the river then extending across the northern border into Shreveport. It snakes into Monroe to take in a few Black precincts. Still, the northern parishes are Conservative and they drastically reduced the Black percentage of the population. Also, I had to extend the district to the east a bit because the 1st had too many people. I did it reluctantly but the eastern areas should not offset the Democratic areas enough. I do not know who would run here but I think Dan Cazayoux might want to give it a go. Or the guy who almost won the Shreveport seat might try too and since the bases are equal, this could trigger a large primary on the Democratic side. The Black population is 51% and the White population is 44%. This means that the district is now protected under the Voting Rights Act. It resembles the Cleo Fields district from the 90’s but this district is now much more Democratic. I estimate Obama won in this district somewhere in the range of 53% to 57%. Unless the Republicans can find a credible challenger, this district appears to be headed for the Democratic column. Status is Likely Democratic.

District 5 Rodney Alexander vs. John Fleming Yellow

Stats are 26% African American, 70% white. You could say that this district is the leftovers from the 4th district. The 5th district is meant to be safe for whichever Republican wins it. It should be safe for him and McCain probably won it within the 65% range. It contains the northern part of the state except for most of Shreveport, the border with Arkansas and the Mississippi River. Alexander could have a competitive primary with John Fleming but Alexander should probably win because the new 5th contains more of his district. Status is safe Republican.

District 6 Charles Boustany (R) Teal

This district closely resembles the old one. It has a 24% Black population and a 70% white one. I estimate McCain won this in the neighborhood of 66% of the vote. It takes in part of Lafayette and goes up the Texas border almost to Shreveport. John Fleming might take a go at this district but would probably lose to Boustany. This district might be competitive in statewide elections but in national races, the Republican hold it. Status is Safe Republican.  

By what margin will Bob Shamansky win?

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Redistricting Michigan in 2010

(Cross-posted at West Michigan Rising, Daily Kos, and Michigan Liberal-PB)


In recent months astute political analysts have noted that the real prize in the 2010 election is control of the redistricting process that will follow in the year to come.  While redistricting occurs on every level of government throughout the 50 states, many observers note the importance of redistricting United States House Districts.  In the 2001-2002 redistricting cycle following the 2000 Census, many states, including Texas and Pennsylvania, underwent an aggressive Republican gerrymandering developed to maximize GOP gains in 2002 and 2004.  This strategy largely succeeded, allowing the Republicans to further their control of many state delegations.  

Perhaps the most aggressive GOP redistricting (with the exception of Tom Delay’s Texas redraw) came in Michigan.  Since the adoption of the 1964 Constitution, the state legislature has controlled the redistricting process, with the governor having veto power over the plan.  The redistricting plans offered in 1965, 1971, 1981, and 1991 by the state legislature were rejected by the federal courts, which decried the partisan nature of both the Democratic and Republican plans.  Given that the Republicans controlled the State Senate during each of four cycles (and the Democrats controlling the State House), the plans that were eventually approved by the federal courts strived to adhere to the 1964 State Constitution’s demand that districts be “compact, contiguous, and avoid breaking up political subdivisions (such as municipalities).”

This situation did not repeat itself in 2001. The Michigan Republican Party, which controlled the executive branch starting in 1990 and the State House in 1995, while maintaining its hold on the State Senate, drafted new legislation to guide the redistricting of federal and state legislative districts.  MCL 3.61 (PA 221 1996) often known as the Congressional Redistricting Act, guided redistricting of congressional seats, while State Legislative Redistricting Standards Act (MCL 4.261) charted redistricting of the State House and Senate. Both laws largely adopted the standards established by the Michigan Supreme Court during the previous redistricting battles.  

In regards to congressional redistricting, MCL 3.61 establishes the following requirements. First, the principle of “least cost” holds throughout, and states that municipalities should be incorporated within districts if the population of a municipality is smaller than the size of an average Congressional District. Secondly, populations for Congressional districts must equal (MCL 3.63d). Finally, the preservation of municipal and county identity is encouraged, and district lines should be drawn on municipal or county boundaries (3.61g).

Since the GOP controlled all three branches of the state government in 2001, the Republican drawn redistricting plan upheld by the Michigan Supreme Court in the same year had profound effects on Michigan Congressional Representation.  The state lost a seat, and two Democratic incumbents were thrown into one district (John Dingell and Lynn Rivers), while a number of marginal seats were stacked with Republicans. While the Michigan Delegation had 9 Democrats and 7 Republicans prior to the 2002 elections, afterwards the GOP held 9 of 15 seats.   Despite two Democratic tidal wave in the 2006 and 2008 elections, the Democrats only gained two seats, and currently hold a 9 to 7 edge in the Congressional delegation.  

As 2010 approaches, it appears that the Democrats will likely control at least one leg of the redistricting chair.  The 67 to 43 Democratic edge in the State House is likely to ensure that the Democrats will remain the majority party in the lower chamber.  While the gubernatorial race remains an open contest, the Michigan Democratic Party has made a serious effort to recapture the State Senate, something which has not happened since the tax-revolt elections in 1984.  Should the Democrats gain four seats (The current margin is 21 Republicans to 16 Democrats with one open seat), the Democrats will be in solid control of the redistricting process.  Given that the Michigan State Supreme Court also has a Democratic majority it is likely that a reasonably drawn plan by a Democratic legislature adhering to MCL 3.61 would receive judicial sanction.  

Two previous redistricting efforts have been made on the blosphere redraw Michigan’s congressional districts.  Both (rightly so) assume that Michigan will lose one congressional district after the 2010 Census.  The first, drawn by Menhen and was first posted on the Swing State Project creates 11 safe Democratic seats and three Republican districts.  The second, drawn by ArkDem, and also posted on the Swing State Project, that provides 10 Democratic seats with four Republican districts.  With both redistricting plans are ingenious, and do an excellent job at screwing the GOP, both have some flaws that limit their usefulness.  First, the vote analysis relies on the Presidential vote percentages from the 2008, which represents the strongest Democratic vote percentage in Michigan since Johnson’s landslide in 1964.  Obama’s excellent performance should be viewed as a high watermark of the Democratic vote in 2008, as his opponent has effectively conceded the state in early October.  Thus, Obama’s decisive win in Michigan makes the state appears far more Democratic than it really is.  Likewise, there is no examination of the Democratic performance in previous election cycles, which hinders a long-term analysis of how stable Democratic majorities are in the proposed Congressional Districts.  Finally, voters tend to vote for the candidate for races on the top of the ballot (such as in the Presidential, Senate, and Gubernatorial races) that limits the effectiveness of using this data for determining the underlying partisan affiliation of a proposed district.


I created a redistricting plan that tries to avoid some of the pitfalls mentioned earlier.  First, rather than using the Obama vote percentage in 2008, I used another indication to determine the underlying Democratic partisan edge.  While Michigan does not have partisan registration, it does have a wonderful obscure State Board of Education (BOE) that has eight members, of which two are elected every two years.  Each party is allowed to nominate two candidates, and the top two vote getters join the BOE.  BOE races often have candidates largely unknown by voters, who generally vote according to their partisan preference. I calculated the Republican and Democratic baseline by finding the average Democratic share of the vote cast for the two major parties. I calculated the Democratic Baseline on the municipal and county level for the 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2008 elections.  Mark Gerbner, the famous guru of Michigan Democratic politics helpfully provided the raw data for all but the 2008 election cycle, which I tabulated myself from the Michigan Secretary of State website.  The Democratic Baseline generally runs slight behind successful top of the ticket candidates (such as Obama, Granholm and Levin), but provides an elected approach to examining long-term voting trends within communities across the state.

I used Census Data from the 2007 American Community Survey (ACS) to determine the current population of municipalities in Michigan.  With Michigan’s current population at 10,287,460, I calculated that each congressional district needs to have 734,818 residents.  Under MCL 3.63, each district is allowed to have a 5% variation (ranging from 95% to 105% of the average), giving each district a population range of 698,077 to 771,558.  In Google Docs I provide the county level voting data for each district, and when I need to divide further, I provide the municipal data.  The link can be found below:


All the maps were created in ArcGIS 9.3, which I use for my career and for fun.  



The overall state map is shown above without the Upper Peninsula, which is part of the 1st Congressional District.  


1st Congressional District (2008 Democratic Baseline of 53%).  The First Congressional District is relatively similar to its 2001 incarnation, with a few moderate changes.  The district loses Bay County, and gains some smaller rural counties on the western edge of the district from David Camp’s district.  Stupak has always done very well in the 1st District, and ran 3% ahead of the Democratic Baseline in his current district.  He will likely continue to do well in the new district, although the Democratic Baseline dropped slightly below 50% in 2004 and 2002, two very Republican years.  Until Stupak retires, it will be hard for a Republican to win this district.


2nd Congressional District (2008 Democratic Baseline of 40.2%).  This is one of the three safe Republicans seats in Michigan.  Essentially this new seat flips Republican Pete Hoekstra’s current 2nd District, running from GOP bastion Ottawa County south along the Lake Michigan shoreline.  The district would take a majority of the 6th District (represented by Republican Fred Upton), moving Cass, Berrien, Van Buren, and Allegan Counties to Ottawa County and the four southern townships in Kent County (Byron, Gains, Caledonia, and Bowne Townships).  The new 2nd District would likely force the current 2nd District Representative (whoever replaces Pete Hoekstra in 2010) into a nice runoff against Fred Upton, who lives in Berrien County (St. Joseph). I would suspect that Upton would be able to win a primary, and given that he is a relative moderate in the GOP caucus, it would be beneficial long-term for moderates in the GOP.  


3rd Congressional District (2008 Democratic Baseline of 52.7%).  This district is a likely swing seat since Muskegon and Kent Counties (minus the southern four townships) have trended Democratic over the past decade, and Obama carried 54.5% of the total vote in the two counties. An important case can be made for congressional districts that follow regions land use patterns, and this district certainly encompasses the heart and soul of western Michigan.  This proposed 3rd district allows for issues addressing the urban core (Grand Rapids and Muskegon), and provide two centers of Democratic voters that gave baselines of 64% and 72% respectively.  The district loses the largely rural counties of Ionia and Barry, allowing for strong economic development efforts for metropolitan Grand Rapids. On an off-Democratic year this seat may be difficult for the Democratic Party to hold, but it also provides an excellent excuse for further party building.  Some strong Democratic candidates would be former State Representative Steve Pestka or Scott Bowen. Should current Republican Representative Vern Ehlers retire, the GOP primary battle would be between Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land and State Senator Bill Hardiman. However, to run competitively in this district the GOP will need to find candidates that can speak on urban and metropolitan issues, something which the party of no has a difficult time even thinking about.  


4th Congressional District (2008 Democratic Baseline of 47.5%)  While this district is slightly less Republican than the 2nd, it is the third most Republican district in the state.  Moving westward from the current 4th District, it collects the portions of the 2nd District north of Muskegon County, follows the current district boundaries to Midland County, and gains Ionia and Barry Counties.  Like the current 4th, the district mostly consists of rural areas, along with a few mid-side cities, including Midland, Big Rapids, and Traverse City.  This district will likely reelect Republican David Camp.


5th Congressional District (2008 Democratic Baseline of 60.8%).  This is among the most reconfigured districts from its 2001 incarnation.  While the current 5th  district covers Genesee, Tuscola, and portions of Bay and Saginaw Counties, the new 5th includes Bay, Saginaw, Clinton, Shiawassee, and Ingham Counties.  Much like the existing 5th District, it is a Democratic stronghold, but unlike the current 5th it steals the western half of Republican Mike Rodgers gerrymandered seat and restores its Democratic edge.  This district combines the urban centers of Lansing, Saginaw, Bay City, and will be easily held by a Democratic candidate like Lasing Mayor Virgil Bernero or former Democratic Representative Jim Barcia.  Good luck to any Republican running in this safe Democratic seat.  


6th Congressional District (2008 Democratic Baseline of 90.3%).  Similar to the current 13th Congressional District, this district reflects the painful reality that Detroit continues to lose population.  According to the 2007 ACS, Detroit’s population is 916,000, and I suspect it might fall below 900,000 by 2010.  The 6th District contains the eastern Wayne County suburbs, Highland Park, Hamtramck, and two-thirds of the city of Detroit.  This seat is a safe Democratic stronghold, and complies with the Voting Rights Act by being a minority-majority district.  Let’s hope that State Senator Martha Scott once again primaries Carolyn Kirkpatrick.  

7th Congressional District (2008 Democratic Baseline of 72.5%).  The 7th District is a greatly modified version of the 14th District currently represented by Democratic Congressman John Conyers.  The new district includes the western third of Detroit, and the western Wayne County suburbs of Redford Township, Livonia, Canton Township, Westland, Garden City, Inkster, Northville City and Township, and Plymouth City and Township.  While this district is much less Democratic than the 6th District, it is still a strong Democratic seat that accomplishes the beautiful task of eliminating Republican Thad McCotter’s seat. McCotter could try to run against Conyers (or State Senator Buzz Thomas should Conyers retire), but he’d lose.  Too bad.


8th Congressional District (2008 Democratic Baseline of 65.3%).  Much like John Dingell’s 15th District, this seat is a strong suburban working-class district that covers southern Wayne County, Monroe County, and a portion of eastern Lenawee County.  While the new 8th Congressional District loses Ann Arbor and its surroundings, the new district remains a strong Democratic seat, anchored by Democratic communities in Dearborn, Monroe, and Romulus.  While it remains unlikely that Dingell will stay in US House much longer, I would not be surprised to see Debbie Dingell run for this seat when John retires.  It would be hard to see a Dingell lose this safe Democratic seat to a Republican.  

9th Congressional District (2008 Democratic Baseline of 63.6%).  The new 9th District is all about providing incumbency protection for Democratic Representative Gary Peters.  Peters currently represents much of Oakland County, and this redraw would add the southern portions of the county that are currently represented by Democratic Representative Sander Levin.  This district would shed the conservative northern suburbs of Rochester and Rochester Hills and would become increasingly Democratic.  Even in the Republican year of 2002, this safe Democratic seat still had a Democratic Baseline of 54.4%.  

10th Congressional District (2008 Democratic Baseline of 60.2%).  This district covers the southern portion of Macomb County.  Much like former Democratic Representative David Bonior’s old Macomb County seat, this district would be a working class Democratic stronghold, providing two districts (the 8th and the 10th) that would be platforms for labor voices to be heard from Michigan.  Sander Levin will have no problem holding this safe Democratic seat.


11th Congressional District (2008 Democratic Baseline of 46.0%).  This safe Republican seat would give Representative Candice Miller a vastly new district to represent, which is good for her.  Covering the northern and western portions of Oakland County, northern Macomb County, and much of St. Clair County, this district has some suburban communities along with a strong rural character.  This district is the third safe Republican seat in the state.


12th Congressional District (2008 Democratic Baseline of 61.7%).  This is a modified version of Dale Kildee’s current 5th Congressional District, and is centered in Genesee County.  Many people don’t know that the “thumb” of Michigan is a pretty swing district, and adding Huron, Tuscola, Lapeer, Sanilac Counties, and a portion of St. Clair County (largely metropolitan Port Huron) would not significantly dent the Democratic base around greater Flint.  This district has a a couple major urban centers, but is largely rural as well, which might call for some vigorous constituency work to ensure the Democrats holding this seat.  


13th Congressional District (2008 Democratic Baseline of 54.3%).  Much like Gary Peter’s 9th District, Democratic Representative Mark Schauer won election to a traditionally Republican district.  Should Schauer win reelection in 2010, his district should shed some GOP votes and pick up some Democratic voters.  The new 13th District does just that, losing a portion of Jackson County and Washtenaw County that are largely Republican.  In return, the district adds Kalamazoo and St. Joseph Counties, the latter, along with Calhoun County, provides a strong Democratic base for the 7th District.  This district, while increasingly Democratic, was a swing seat from 2000 to 2006, giving it swing district status on an off year.  Given that Schauer has done a great job in the State Senate and in 2008 in running effective constituency service and electoral campaigns, a GOP would need a determined candidate to knock him off.  Someone more likable than Taxing Tim Walberg would be needed.


14th Congressional District (2008 Democratic Baseline of 57.6%).  This District covers Livingston and Washtenaw Counties, while also including portions of Lenawee and Jackson Counties.  Largely rural, the district’s heart is Ann Arbor, which provides the Democratic base for this seat.  A strong Democratic candidate from eastern Washtenaw County could win this district, although he or she would need to appear to the conservative Livingston County voters.  That said, this new district would invite Republican Representative Mike Rogers to run a losing campaign to hold his seat.  This isn’t Mr. Rogers neighborhood anymore.


This proposed 2011 redistrict makes Michigan’s congressional boundaries much more friendly for Democratic candidates.  There are seven safe Democratic seats (Districts 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 12), one strongly Democratic District (District 14), and two leaning Democratic Districts (District 1 and 13), giving the MDP 10 Congressional Seats.  The Michigan Republicans would have three safe seats (Districts 2, 4, and 11), while the 3rd Congressional District is arguably a swing seat.  

This proposal also forces many GOP incumbents into retirement, which is something a good plan always does.  Forcing Upton to run against Hoekstra’s replacement in the new 2nd District, and placing Mike Rogers and Thad McCotter into unwinnable seats is something sure to give Democratic loyalists a smile on Election Day.  Should the Michigan Democrats win control of the Michigan State Senate in November 2010, 10 Democratic Congressional seats are a real possibility.  

The Vote on the Clean Energy Bill

Tonight’s vote on the American Clean Energy and Security Act was the closest so far on a final bill in the House this year. The legislation passed by just seven votes (219-212), with eight Republican “yeas” providing the margin. Forty-four Democrats voted no. The Republicans in favor were you usual handful of threatened “moderates,” with Chris Smith of New Jersey being the closest thing to an outlier:

District Representative PVI
NJ-04 Smith, Chris R+6
CA-45 Bono Mack R+3
NJ-07 Lance R+3
NY-23 McHugh R+1
WA-08 Reichert D+3
NJ-02 LoBiondo D+1
IL-10 Kirk D+6
DE-AL Castle D+7

Meanwhile, the Democrats opposed were almost entirely from conservative districts, with a few liberal purity votes and a classic Artur Davis defection thrown in:

District Representative PVI District Representative PVI
CA-13 Stark D+22 PA-17 Holden R+6
AL-07 Davis, Artur D+18 AZ-01 Kirkpatrick R+6
OH-10 Kucinich D+8 WV-03 Rahall R+6
IN-01 Visclosky D+8 TN-08 Tanner R+6
CA-20 Costa D+5 AR-04 Ross R+7
IL-12 Costello D+3 AR-01 Berry R+8
OR-04 DeFazio D+2 PA-10 Carney R+8
GA-12 Barrow D+1 IN-08 Ellsworth R+8
IL14 Foster R+1 SD-AL Herseth Sandlin R+9
NY-24 Arcuri R+2 WV-01 Mollohan R+9
IN-02 Donnelly R+2 GA-08 Marshall R+10
NC-08 Kissell R+2 ND-AL Pomeroy R+10
TX-27 Ortiz R+2 AL-05 Griffith R+12
OH-06 Wilson, Charlie R+2 LA-03 Melancon R+12
PA-03 Dahlkemper R+3 OK-02 Boren R+14
TX-23 Rodriguez R+4 MS-01 Childers R+14
NY-29 Massa R+5 TN-04 Davis, Lincoln R+14
NC-07 McIntyre R+5 UT-02 Matheson R+15
AZ-05 Mitchell R+5 AL-02 Bright R+16
VA-02 Nye R+5 ID-01 Minnick R+18
CO-03 Salazar R+5 TX-17 Edwards, Chet R+20
PA-04 Altmire R+6 MS-04 Taylor R+20

Among Dems in D+ seats that we don’t typically see on lists like this, Pete Stark called the bill “watered-down,” Visclosky said it would cost jobs in the Northern Indiana steel industry, Jim Costa’s objection is inscrutable, and Jerry Costello has nothing on his website, though a tradmed story paraphrased him as believing the legislation would “result in higher electric bills.”

Weekly Open Thread: What Races Are You Interested In?

Remember, if it’s not on SSP, it’s not worth reading.

PS: I’d like to take this opportunity to give a big shout-out to the third graders SSP user bombino for writing a new script that allows our new sortable tables to be sorted by the PVI column. Just check out our most recent House Open Seat Watch to see this radtacular new feature in action. (You may need to hit a hard refresh if the PVI sorting doesn’t seem to work.)

Redistricting the Mitten (Michigan)

The goals of this map were:

a)Shore up Stupak’s 1st

b)Create a Dem leaning 2nd using the Western Shore Counties and Grand Rapids

c)Pack as many GOPers into the 3rd and 4th CDs

d)Create a Democratic Lansing District and a Democratic Ann Arbor based district, destroying Thad McCotter’s 11th in the process

e)Dismember Candace Miller’s Northern Macomb base while drawing safe districts for Gary Peters and Sander Levin

f)Preserve 2 black majority districts.

Under my map, I think that:

CDs 1, 5, 8, 11, 12, 13, and 14 are mortal Dem locks

CDs 6, 7, 10 have strong Dem leans

CD 2 leans slight Dem, CD9 is a tossup

CDs 3 and 4 are Republican fortresses

Let me know how I did….

Here’s Stupak’s New 1st CD

Here’s the bulk of Western and Central Michigan:

The Kalamazoo/Battle Creek 6th and Lansing based 7th

Here’s the 9th, which I’m guessing is a tossup district, maybe with an ever so slight Democratic lean.

The new Ann Arbor based 8th and a Dingell friendly 14th:

Gary Peters’s 10th and Sander Levin’s new 11th

The two majority black districts, numbered 12 and 13:

SSP Daily Digest: 6/26

CT-Sen: Gov. Jodi Rell just signed into law an important piece of legislation (and, in doing so, reduced her own power): from now on, in the event of a Senatorial vacancy, the void will be filled by a fast special election instead of a gubernatorial appointment. The farcical Rod Blagojevich affair in Illinois was apparently the genesis for this new law.

KS-Sen: Rep. Todd Tiahrt, facing a big primary fight for the GOP nomination against fellow Rep. Jerry Moran, got a key endorsement that will help him out-conservative his red-state colleague, from prominent anti-abortion group Kansans for Life. Moran, meanwhile, got another establishment endorsement of questionable utility to the Kansas electorate, from South Dakota Sen. John Thune.

NC-Sen: Insider Advantage polled Richard Burr’s approvals, and like many other pollsters (including PPP, the messenger that the Burr campaign has chosen to attack), found that Burr’s approvals are low and his unknowns are possibly catastrophically high. Burr clocked in at 39/31 approval, with 30% with no opinion.

NH-Sen: John Sununu Sr. now says that John Sununu Jr. will make a decision (or will have his daddy make a decision for him, more likely) “within a week or so” as to whether or not he’ll run for Senate next year. Sr. also says that AG Kelly Ayotte will step aside if Jr. runs, which may be news to Ayotte. GOP insiders seem to think that odds are against Sununu running.

OH-Sen: Rob Portman, G.W. Bush’s former trade rep and OMB Director, has taken on a strange approach to selling himself to voters: that he’s a consummate Washington insider, going so far as to say that he knows “where the bodies are buried” (way to write the opposition’s advertisements word-for-word for them!). In a state where there’s a lot of populist indignation over job losses and outsourcing, emphasizing your technocratic elitism is somewhere past tone-deaf and out in the realm of political malpractice.

PA-Sen: More signs that the party is finally coalescing around Pat Toomey as nominee: another endorsement from one its sitting Reps., Joe Pitts. (Pitts is probably the most conservative GOPer left in the PA delegation, so no surprise here.)

WV-Sen: With 91-year-old Robert Byrd still in the hospital, Gov. Joe Manchin sought to tamp down speculation that he was looking into potential replacement Senators (such as ex-Gov. Gaston Caperton).

IL-Gov: Bob Schillerstrom became the third Republican this week to announce his gubernatorial candidacy. The DuPage County Board chairman had had an exploratory committee open for several months, so this was expected. A 4th entrant, State Sen. Kirk Dillard, also from Chicago’s western suburbs, says he’ll announce his candidacy on July 8.

MI-Gov: A third Democratic candidate got into the governor’s race today: state Rep. (and former state Senator) Alma Wheeler Smith. Smith, who’s the only African-American in the field, also ran in the gubernatorial primary in 2002.

NJ-Gov: Strategic Vision polled the New Jersey governor’s race; no surprises here, as they found Chris Christie beating Jon Corzine 51-39. Christie was also busy yesterday in Washington testifying before the House on the no-bid monitoring contracts that Christie awarded while US Attorney (including to his former boss, John Ashcroft); look for this to become a prime issue in the race (if Corzine has even half-a-clue how to campaign).

NM-Gov, NM-02: Ex-Rep. Steve Pearce, last seen getting annihilated in last year’s Senate race, says he’s pushing back his announcement on whether he’ll run for governor, for his old House seat, or something else to somewhere between July 20 and July 27.

PA-Gov: Here’s one state where the gubernatorial field is actually managing to get smaller: Lehigh County Executive Don Cunningham opted out of the Democratic primary race (and said that he isn’t interested in the Lt. Gov. slot). This may give a small boost to Philly-area businessman Tom Knox, as the Dem side’s two biggest-names, Allegheny Co. Exec Dan Onorato and state Auditor Jack Wagner are both from the Pittsburgh area.

CA-10: Rep. Ellen Tauscher was finally confirmed as Undersecretary of State last night, after Sen. Jon Kyl dropped his hold on her. (She’s also getting married on Saturday, so it’s a big week.) Tauscher’s last day in the House is today, so this means the wheels are now officially in motion for the CA-10 special election.

FL-12: Looks like the GOP will have a primary in the race to replace Rep. Adam Putnam, depsite their efforts to grease the skids for former state Rep. Dennis Ross. Polk Co. Commissioner Randy Wilkinson has been taking steps to enter the race as well.

LA-03: Here’s a potential Dem contender for the potentially open seat currently occupied by Rep. Charlie Melancon, who hadn’t been mentioned in previous discussions (either from SSP or Roll Call or The Hill): Steve Angelle, who heads the state Natural Resources Department and used to be President of St. Martin Parish.

SC-04: Rep. Bob Inglis is taking an unusual approach to a potentially bruising primary fight in 2010: instead of trying to out-conservative his opponents, he’s saying the GOP needs to “lose the stinking rot of self-righteousness.” In a Washington Wire interview, he said that the Mark Sanford Experience shows that “This may be an opportunity to extend a little grace to other people, to realize that maybe it’s not 100% this way or that way,” and referred to the Bob Inglis who was a zealous Clinton impeachment manager in 1998 as “Bob Inglis 1.0,” who was a “‘self-righteous’ expletive.”

TN-09: Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton announced that he’ll be resigning his job on July 10 in order to campaign full-time in his primary challenge against Rep. Steve Cohen. Since Herenton has tried to resign (and changed his mind) at least once before, after five increasingly rocky terms in office, this sounds more like a relief to Herenton instead of giving something up.

DCCC: The DCCC is running radio spots over the July 4 weekend against seven vulnerable House GOPers: Ken Calvert, Charlie Dent, Jim Gerlach, Dan Lungren, Mike McCaul, Lee Terry, and Joe Wilson. They’re getting attacked for voting for war supplementals during the Bush administration and now happening to vote against them now that a Demmycrat is in charge.

The Tubes: Hotline On Call compares and contrasts the mellifluous email stylings of Gov. Sanford with the SMS billet-doux of Detroit ex-Mayor Kilpatrick. This outlines the foundational divide between email and texting: in SMS you automatically sound crazier, but it also prevents you from banging out divinity school dropout diatribes about First Corinthians. (Ben)

IL-07, Cook County – Danny Davis opens Exploratory Committee for Cook County Board President

The news of this seems to have been quashed by the Sanford saga but I felt it was important enough to bring up in a diary. Rep. Danny Davis has opened an exploratory committe to run for Cook County Board President.  Davis ran for the position a few years back and lost to John Stroger’s son Todd, but now it looks like he could upset Stroger.  Stroger’s antics have been making more voters angry over the past year, and Mike Quigley was able to win the IL-05 by touting his experience “fighting” the Stroger machine.

First off, why would Davis do this?  He’s been in the House since 1996, and Cook County Board President appears to be a step down in some ways (granted, you do get to have a lot of influence over Chicago politics).  He’s been a fixture in Chicago politics for 3 decades, but it seems between this and his previous desire to take Obama’s vacated Senate seat, he just wants to get out of Congress.

I’ve also failed to see any news sources talk about potential successors lining up to replace Rep. Davis.  For a district as Democratic as his, why hasn’t there been the requisite feeding frenzy of ambitious aldermen, state legislators and county comissioners running to get a ticket to Washington?  Is there anyone interested?

Just curious about this – for what could be a battle royale in Chicago politics, there’s been little coverage of it.

Redistricting South Carolina: 2 Black-Majority Seats UPDATED

Ok, so this is my first redistricting diary not focused on Michigan.  I chose the state of South Carolina for several reasons, it’s relatively small, it will probably gain a seat, and that new seat may be a Majority-Minority seat.  I don’t know if the DOJ will require a new Min-Maj seat, or what the recent Supreme Court decision has to do with this.  

The rest of the map I drew with a Republican gerrymander in mind.  I tried to dislodge Rep. Spratt, and I think that I was probably successful.  I also made Rep. Brown and Rep. Wilson safer, in light of their recent competitive races last year.  

This map is incredibly gerrymandered.  I mean incredibly.  I don’t know much about SC, so let me know if I’ve done something wrong.

District 1- Henry Brown (R) Blue

72% White, 19% African American, 6% Hispanic

Drops all of Horry County (Myrtle Beach) in exchange for Beaufort, Hilton Head area.  Drops some heavily African American areas in exchange for more Republican Charleston areas.

District 2- Joe Wilson (R) Green

77% White, 17% African American, 3% Hispanic

This is the most gerrymandered non-VRA seat, mostly so that it can cede it’s black areas to the new 7th District.  It follows the SC-GA border, then winds down to the Columbia area and takes in almost all of Lexington County, where Wilson’s home is located. AA population drops almost 10% and this district is much safer for Wilson.

District 3- TBD (successor of Gresham Barrett) Purple

78% White, 14% African American, 5% Hispanic

Includes all of Oconee and Pickens as well as northern Greenville and Spartanburg Counties and winds down to pick up some conservative Columbia suburbs formerly in Wilson’s district.  This district includes Barretts home but may or may not contain the home of his successor, which could be problematic if he or she is from Anderson County. Black population drops 6%

District 4- Bob Inglis (R) Red

70% White, 22% African American, 5% Hispanic

Includes all of Anderson Couny and the cities of Greenville and Spartanburg.  By far this is the least gerrymandered district in the state.  Because it now grabs Aiken County and due to growing minority populations in North SC, the African American and Hispanic populations actually go up in this district slightly.

District 5- John Spratt (D) Yellow

75% White, 18% African American, 4% Hispanic

I drew this district with the intend of defeating John Spratt, because I doubt that South Carolina Republicans settle for a 3-4 Delegation, especially because 2 districts are VRA.  The African American vote here is nearly halved, and the district now stretches into Horry County and includes all of Myrtle Beach, a Republican stronghold.  I don’t know whether Spratt would win this district, but he may decide to retire rather than find out.

District 6- Jim Clyburn (D) Blue-Green

52% African American, 43% White, 2% Hispanic

This district takes in more of Columbia than before and stretches north into Fairfield, Chester, and Union Counties.  To stay majority African American, and to hurt Spratt, it has now grown several oogie tentacles that slither into some of the more rural African American areas, as well as a few small cities.  Don’t worry though, it remains contiguous.  Despite the additon of another majority Black district, the AA population only falls about 5%

District 7- NEW (D) Gray

54% African American, 41% White, 3% Hispanic

I’ll admit, this district is awfull, but maybe not as awful as it looks at first glance. It starts by taking in the Black neighborhoods of Charleston and North Charleston, the takes in as many black majority tracts as humanly posible without going into Columbia.  I tried to salvage some integrity for this map, so I made sure that there were no oogie tentacles like in the 6th, so give me credit for that at least.

What does everyone think? Are they legal?

Update– Based on comments and criticism, I’ve totally redrawn my map, this time giving Spratt the African American majority seat instead of creating a new one.  This district is  a thousand times less gerrymandered than the last, so I think you’ll all like it much better.

Spratt’s New District is exactly 50% Black

While Clyburn’s is about 55% Black.

To compensate for lost population, Clyburn’s district takes in more of both the Charleston and Columbia areas.

The  new 7th district follows the North Carolina border from Spartanburg to Myrtle Beach, taking up much of what was Spratt’s District.  The other districts remain almost unchanged, although the first and second become a few percentage points more white. I tried very hard to split as few counties as possible, and even though it may look bad, many counties remain compact in even the 5th and 6th Districts.

NY-Gov: Rick Lazio (R) to Run

Oh boy:

Republican Rick Lazio, who ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate against Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2000, is planning to run for governor of New York next year, his spokesman said Thursday.

“He fully intends to,” said Barney Keller when asked if Lazio was running.

Lazio has made no public announcement and Keller said the former congressman from Long Island is still deciding when to make the decision formal. Lazio has formed a campaign committee and his website is soliciting contributions.

In 2000, Hillary Clinton flattened Rick Lazio by twelve points – and the state, while very blue, is even more Dem now. Any Dem ought to be able to steamroll him today. The guy has been out of politics for almost a decade, and currently works at JPMorgan/Chase, at a time when the Wall Street brand isn’t exactly selling like hotcakes. Buuut… sadly, we don’t have just any Dem. We have Gov. David Paterson, whom Marist had losing to the Rickster, 40-37. (The same poll showed Cuomo up by a punishing 67-22 margin.) The thought of Gov. Lazio gives me the heaves.

I can’t imagine Lazio and Rudy fighting it out in a primary, so either this means Rudy ain’t running (what I’ve always suspected), or Lazio will go for a hike on the Appalachian trail (it runs through New York) if Rudy enters. And, once more, I cannot resist this “Zagat’s” review of the guy:

RaceTracker: NY-Gov

OR-Gov: Dems Start in Solid Shape

Research 2000 for Daily Kos (6/22-24, likely voters, no trendlines):

John Kitzhaber (D): 46

Gordon Smith (R): 37

Undecided: 17

John Kitzhaber (D): 44

Greg Walden (R): 38

Undecided: 18

John Kitzhaber (D): 48

Jason Atkinson (R): 35

Undecided: 17

Peter DeFazio (D): 47

Gordon Smith (R): 37

Undecided: 16

Peter DeFazio (D): 45

Greg Walden (R): 37

Undecided: 18

Peter DeFazio (D): 48

Jason Atkinson (R): 34

Undecided: 18

Bill Bradbury (D): 42

Gordon Smith (R): 38

Undecided: 20

Bill Bradbury (D): 40

Greg Walden (R): 39

Undecided: 21

Bill Bradbury (D): 41

Jason Atkinson (R): 34

Undecided: 25

Steve Novick (D): 28

Gordon Smith (R): 41

Undecided: 31

Steve Novick (D): 28

Greg Walden (R): 43

Undecided: 29

Steve Novick (D): 29

Jason Atkinson (R): 34

Undecided: 37

(MoE: ±4%)

R2K, via Daily Kos, strikes with the first full poll of the Oregon governor’s race (there was a quickie a few weeks ago by a local Republican pollster, Moore Information, that only included head-to-heads involving Rep. Greg Walden) — and when we say full, we mean it: there are 12 different permutations. Here’s a scorecard for those who don’t know the players:

John Kitzhaber: Oregon’s Governor from 1994-2002, currently head of the Archimedes Foundation, which studies health care policy

Peter DeFazio: Representative from OR-04 since 1986

Bill Bradbury: Oregon’s Secretary of State from 1999-2008, who also lost the 2002 Senate race to Gordon Smith, 56-40

Steve Novick: a lawyer and activist who came out of nowhere to almost win the 2008 Democratic Senate nomination, losing 45-42 to Jeff Merkley

Gordon Smith: Oregon’s Senator from 1996-2008, now a well-paid advisor at a K St. lobbying firm

Greg Walden: Representative from OR-02 since 1998

Jason Atkinson: State Senator who finished 3rd in the 2006 GOP gubernatorial primary, so it’s “his turn;” while very conservative, he’s young (39), charismatic, and perhaps most endearing to many Oregonians, a huge bike enthusiast

Unsurprisingly, this poll shows both Kitzhaber and DeFazio running strongly against all comers. DeFazio seems to perform a tiny smidge better, and has lower unfavorables (Kitzhaber is at 46/26, while DeFazio is at 47/22), which I’d attribute to Kitzhaber being better known statewide and to his having pissed off a lot of Republicans during his first gubernatorial stint, wielding his veto pen mercilessly against the then-Republican-controlled legislature.

In a bit of a surprise, though, this poll finds Walden overperforming Gordon Smith in head-to-heads, and with much better approvals (Walden is at 36/25, while Gordo is in negative territory at 39/48). Again, that may have to do with Walden not being well-known outside eastern Oregon, and as result of Smith’s last campaign (which alternately saw him going hard negative and flinging his arms around Barack Obama) having left a bad taste in a lot of mouths on both sides of the aisle across the state. (Smith’s collapse is seen in his 4-point deficit against Bradbury, whom he beat by 16 in the GOP-friendly year of 2002.)

So who will the nominees actually be? Polls aren’t likely to tell us that, because unless something weird happens, we’re unlikely to see competitive primaries. The two titans, Kitzhaber and DeFazio, are both visibly interested, but, if they don’t work something out behind the scenes, seem likely to just wait each other out… conceivably meaning that they both wait too long and neither of them gets in. That would probably leave Bradbury (who’s already in, and apparently staying in) as the de facto nominee (unless Novick, who has said he won’t run against Kitzhaber, at that point gets in and defeats Bradbury using his almost-successful ’06 primary playbook, by being feistier and funnier than his boring opponent). (Novick’s problem seems to be lack of name recognition; his approvals are only 16/5, meaning 79% of the state needs to be reminded of his existence.)

Simiarly, the GOP nod is likely to be decided by totem pole/pecking order, with Gordo having first right of refusal (which he doesn’t seem likely to exercise, having settled in on K Street), then Walden (not seeming too likely either, as he’s a key player at the NRCC and seems interested in the leadership ladder), then Atkinson… and if Atkinson bails for some reason too, then the nomination would probably fall to Allen Alley, who’s committed to the race but would most likely lose the GOP primary handily to Atkinson. (Alley ran surprisingly well as the GOP candidate in the 2008 Treasurer race, where he was supposed to get flattened by Ben Westlund — but he’s from the once-proud moderate wing of the Oregon GOP and in fact was deputy CoS to Democratic Gov. Ted Kulongoski for a while, giving him a whiff of “non-starter” among the GOP rank-and-file for a higher-profile race than Treasurer.)

RaceTracker: OR-Gov