Tennyoming: Redistricting Tennessee, But With 12 Districts

Under the Wyoming Rule, Tennessee would increase its share of districts to an impressive round dozen. But while the Volunteer State was once a swing state, it has become solidly Republican, at least for the time being. It remains unclear whether the wing of the party represented by the relatively moderate Sen. Corker or the wing of the party represented by Lt. Gov. Ramsey, who called Islam a “cult” during the primary campaign, will win in the battle for the soul of the Tennessee Republican Party, and whether the victor may determine where the fickle electorate lurches next.

As it rests now, though, Tennessee Republicans could force a 9-3 map under Wyoming Rule redistricting, and the only reason why they could not draw a 10-2 map is the Voting Rights Act.

TN-01 (safe Republican)

Rep. Phil Roe’s district just loses a few counties.

TN-02 (likely Republican)

Rep. Jimmy Duncan’s district is now consolidated around Knoxville.

TN-03 (safe Republican)

Rep.-elect Charles Fleischmann gets a nice safe district that looks a lot less disgusting than outgoing Rep. Zach Wamp’s current oddly shaped district.

TN-04 (safe Republican)

No longer Rep.-elect Scott DesJarlais’s district, this Republican-friendly open seat is leftovers from the first three.

TN-05 (safe Republican)

A partial successor to Rep.-elect Diane Black’s TN-07, this district contains her Gallatin residence and is thus her seat, for all intents and purposes. It has nothing to do with the safe Democratic district in Nashville, represented by Rep. Jim Cooper. On the contrary, this seat is safe Republican.

TN-06 (safe Republican)

Just as the previous district provided a natural home for Rep.-elect Black, DesJarlais’s gutted TN-04 is effectively replaced by this smaller district. Middle Tennessee is fertile ground for Republicans, and DesJarlais should be fine here.

TN-07 (likely Republican)

This district, which contains the home of outgoing Democratic Rep. Bart Gordon, is an open seat that leans Republican due to the territory. If Gordon runs, he might be able to win it, but it’s pretty conservative territory for the most part.

TN-08 (safe Democratic)

Team Blue finally gets on the board, with this successor to Cooper’s TN-05 solidly Democratic with its territory nibbled down to the center of Davidson County.

TN-09 (likely Republican)

With Democratic Rep. David Tanner history, Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn (currently of TN-07) gets a less stupid-looking district. She should be established enough to win even though it includes a bit more of Democratic-leaning Davidson County than before.

TN-10 (safe Republican)

This western district, which includes pieces of the current TN-07 and much of the current TN-08, is an open seat that any Republican should be able to win.

TN-11 (safe Democratic)

As VRA districts go, these aren’t very stringent. This partial successor to TN-09, represented by Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen, is 51% African American, 41% white. I don’t know if Cohen lives here, but it should be safe for Democrats.

TN-12 (likely Democratic)

I screwed over Rep.-elect Stephen Fincher, who looks like a liability for the GOP in Tennessee right now anyway, and plopped him into a coalition VRA district, which is 47% white, 46% African American, and 100% problematic for Republicans. Sen. John McCain of Arizona carried Tipton County in 2008, but only won Lauderdale County by a few points, while then-Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois won big in Shelby and Haywood counties. Fincher could win it with a great campaign, but he doesn’t seem to run great campaigns.

Thoughts, either on the map or on the Wyoming Rule?

Oregoming: Breaking Down the Internal Borders

Oregon is the latest guinea pig in my experiment with Wyoming Rule redistricting. Because under the rule, the number of seats in the House are apportioned by dividing the U.S. population by the population of its least populous state, Wyoming, Oregon would add two districts to its existing five.

Somehow, I managed to draw a 5-1-1 map for Democrats, although part of it is strong incumbency value in Oregon…and part of it is that Oregon is much more liberal on the federal level than it is on the state level.

Unfortunately, the app doesn’t have voter information for Oregon; fortunately, I did most of my division along county lines, and most of the rest of my division along lines I’m familiar with as a former Oregon resident.

OR-01 (safe Democratic)

Interestingly enough, when I originally drew this Wyoming Rule-sized district, the neat little combination of adjacent Washington and Columbia counties was the perfect size. Then I realized I was still using the 2000 Census data rather than the 2008 population projections, and that went to hell because the western Portland suburbs have positively exploded population-wise over the past decade. So I had to chop out the western halves of those counties, removing a lot of more conservative, rural areas to create a district that, especially with Yamhill County gone too, is even safer for Democratic Rep. David Wu. I say “even safer” because a lot of non-Oregonians are under the impression Wu isn’t completely fireproof in his current district. In 2004, Wu won going away despite being forced to admit to late-breaking claims of attempted date rape, against a highly qualified, moderate candidate with gangbusters fundraising in a cycle Republican enough that Oregonians cast the state’s electoral votes for Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts by an uncomfortably close four-point margin while passing a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in a state that today, just a few years later, has an openly gay man as mayor of its largest city; has the highest-ranking openly bisexual politician in the country in Secy. Kate Brown, first in line to the governorship; and has both of the nation’s only two openly gay state Supreme Court justices, both of whom were elected by popular vote. In 2010, amid a 63-seat loss for House Democrats nationally, Wu won by a double-digit margin over a challenger endorsed by the highly influential and fairly liberal Portland daily newspaper The Oregonian. If Wu is safe now, he will live forever here, even without the little spur into the western Multnomah County suburbs.

OR-02 (safe Republican)

This was one of the trickiest districts to draw, which is funny, because on the current map, it’s obviously just the half of the state east of the Cascades. But recent population growth in Deschutes County has complicated the traditional breakdown of electoral politics in Oregon, with exploding Bend nearly handing the county to Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois in 2008; Sen. John McCain of Arizona only won Deschutes County by 0.3% in the worst showing by a Republican there since 1964. This year, Republican Jim Huffman appears to have won the county over Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden, the incumbent, by a whopping 22 votes in a year Republicans almost won the Oregon gubernatorial election for the first time since 1982, when moderate Gov. Victor Atiyeh blew now-Gov. Ted Kulongoski out of the water (how times change). Because districts are smaller under the Wyoming Rule anyway, I decided to cut out Central Oregon, including Deschutes County, and because Bend is by far the largest population center in the current district, that left me with a lot of ground to make up despite the fact each district is much less populous now. To make up for it, the district absorbed all of Josephine County and extended slightly upward into Douglas County. Instead of being just an Eastern Oregon district, it is now effectively Eastern and Southern Oregon, minus the Central Oregon subregion. Rep. Greg Walden, a Republican known to be close to incoming House Speaker John Boehner, would be fine here if his Hood River residence wasn’t drawn out of the district. I think he would probably move east to run here again, although if he chose not to, State Senate Minority Leader Ted Ferrioli of John Day would probably be the Republicans’ strongest potential candidate. If former Sen. Gordon Smith of Pendleton, defeated by now-Sen. Jeff Merkley in 2008, decided to run, he would be a very strong candidate, but he might be too moderate for this intensely red district’s Republican primary voters.

OR-03 (safe Democratic)

Instead of containing most of part of Clackamas County, this district is now Multnomah County-only, containing nearly all of Portland proper. Just to give you an idea of how safe Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer is here, he destroyed challenger Delia Lopez in the portion of Multnomah County now in his district by a better-than-3:1 margin. In the small part of Multnomah County now in OR-01 that has been reallocated to this compact district, Wu did equally well. This would be one of the safest Democratic districts in the country.

OR-04 (likely Democratic)

I took great pains here to keep Rep. Peter DeFazio, Democrat of Springfield, in this drawing of the district. Somehow, despite being one of the most left-wing members of the House, DeFazio is able to win reelection in a swingish district even when he barely campaigns. With the district stripped out and reapportioned as an Oregon Coast district extending a finger out to take in the twin cities of Eugene and Springfield, which drive the strong Democratic bias of Lane County, I doubt DeFazio would have much trouble. The Oregon Coast is traditionally union territory, and although unions don’t have as much sway in Oregon as they do in some other states, most of the coastal counties are good for Democrats at the federal level.

OR-05 (likely Democratic)

There are two important things to note about this district. First, Marion and Clackamas counties may be swingy on the state level, but on the federal level, they generally prefer Democrats. Second, Yamhill and Polk counties are much less friendly to Democrats at every level, and indeed, they are among the most conservative counties in the Willamette River Valley (although Linn County is by far the most conservative). Despite that, and despite the fact that on paper, this district looks like a tossup, I think it’s likely Democratic. Without the numbers, it’s hard to justify my reasoning here, but basically it goes like this: Chris Dudley may have won practically this entire district in the gubernatorial race, but Obama carried it in 2008 and Rep. Kurt Schrader, the incumbent Democrat, defied the polls in a serious way to win this district so frequently mentioned as a potential Republican pickup, so consistently held by a Democrat. Schrader, who wife is a state senator from Canby (still locked in an as-yet-undecided race for reelection, by the way), has actually been drawn out of this district, but I think a Salem-area Democrat like Brian Clem, a fairly young state representative who has stated his ambitions for higher office, would be a strong candidate here. Fellow Salem-area state Rep. Vicki Berger would probably be the Republicans’ strongest candidate, but she would slot in to the left of several Blue Dogs as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, so she would probably fail to win the nomination. West Linn-based state Rep. Scott Bruun, who won the Republican nomination this year, has been drawn out of the district along with Schrader.

OR-06 (likely Democratic)

Schrader and Bruun both wound up in this new Portland-area district, which covers the swingy Clackamas County suburbs of Oregon’s largest city, as well as eastern Multnomah County. Fiscally conservative, wealthy Lake Oswego and Wilsonville are more than balanced out in this district by strongly Democratic, working-class Gresham and Milwaukee. Lake Oswego is rapidly turning blue anyway, preferring former (and now future) Gov. John Kitzhaber over Chris Dudley and Schrader over Bruun this year, what with the Oregon Republican Party forgetting what made Vic Atiyeh and Gordon Smith so popular (hint: a combination of bipartisan credentials and socially moderate, environmentally conscious positions). It is entirely possible a rematch between Schrader and Bruun could take place, or that failed gubernatorial candidate Chris Dudley could mount a bid for the House from his Lake Oswego mansion. I think this district should be pretty good for Democrats, though.

OR-07 (swing)

This district includes the tiny Republican counties of Wheeler and Sherman, as well as the larger Republican counties of Crook and Linn, as well as the Democratic counties of Hood River and Benton and the swingy, blueing counties of Deschutes and Wasco. It also borrows large chunks of Democratic Lane County (excluding especially liberal Eugene and Springfield, though) and Republican Douglas County. To be blunt, I have no idea what will happen in this district, although I suspect that if current demographic trends and growth rates hold, it will be solid territory for the Democrats by the time of the next redistricting in 2022. As it is, I think it may tilt Republican. Walden has been drawn into this district, and while he could win here, I think he might prefer to run in his current OR-02. Freshman State Sen. Chris Telfer of Bend, who represents much of Deschutes County and waged an unsuccessful bid for state treasurer this year, may be a stronger candidate to run on the Republican side. State Sen. Rick Metsger of Welches, who did not seek reelection this year, is a potential Democratic candidate (he lost the Democratic primary for secretary of state to Brown in 2008).

Thoughts on the map or the Wyoming Rule?

North Caryoming: 17 Districts on an Already Ugly Map

I applied the Wyoming Rule, stating that each congressional district in the country should have roughly the same population as the smallest state’s at-large district, to North Carolina. Redistricting is gruesome in North Carolina, and with 17 districts, it’s even nastier. I came up with four safe Democratic districts (all of them VRA districts, either with black majorities or minority-majority coalitions), eight probable Republican districts, and five swing districts, ensuring electoral politics in the Tarheel State with this map would be pretty exciting.

Marvel at the atrocity I have committed. For anyone who is curious, going off 2008 population estimates, each district contains roughly between 472,500 and 474,500 people.

NC-01 (safe Democratic)

41% white, 54% black

66% Obama, 34% McCain

This is one district I did manage to make more compact. It remains black-majority and acts as a Democratic vote sink in swingy eastern North Carolina. Rep. G.K. Butterfield, the Democrat who currently holds this seat, would have no new obstacles here.

NC-02 (swing)

78% white, 12% black

51% Obama, 48% McCain

This is where things start getting ugly. After surveying the map I drew for the Raleigh-Durham area, I felt like I needed to take a shower. Rep.-elect Renee Ellmers, a Tea Party Republican loathed by the GOP establishment for some reason, has been drawn out, as she currently resides in Dunn in Harnett County, which isn’t even a part of this district. Meanwhile, I believe Democratic Rep. Brad Miller of NC-13, who resides in Raleigh, has been drawn into the district. Realistically, Ellmers has little chance of holding the current NC-02 in 2012, and Republicans would be better off running a more competent candidate in this district anyway.

NC-03 (safe Republican)

78% white, 18% black

41% Obama, 58% McCain

This district hasn’t changed much, absorbing some of the more conservative parts of NC-01 and ceding a bit of ground where the African American population has risen at a disproportionate rate. The only major change is that it has been extended along the Atlantic coast, absorbing some of the southern suburbs of Wilmington. Republican Rep. Walter B. Jones of Farmville, a town in western Pitt County, would easily win another term here.

NC-04 (safe Democratic)

42% white, 44% black, 9% Latino

73% Obama, 26% McCain

If you thought NC-02 was ugly, this is even worse. It effectively combines the African American precincts of Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Garner, Sanford, and Fayetteville, linking them via spindly threads of rural countryside and wilderness. Rep. David Price, the incumbent Democrat here, has been drawn out of this district. Price lives in Chapel Hill, home to the University of North Carolina. Chapel Hill, for what it’s worth, is just too white to include in this district without the risk of upsetting its VRA status depending on demographic rates. Democrats should romp in this district regardless.

NC-05 (likely Republican)

69% white, 25% black

45% Obama, 55% McCain

Northern North Carolina is mostly white and mostly Republican, but the inclusion of Vance County and parts of Nash County, as well as a cut of ultra-liberal Chapel Hill, in this district make it a bit less absurdly partisan than the current iteration. Republican Rep. Virginia Foxx, who lives in Avery County, would have to move in order to run for reelection here, but I’m inclined to think somebody a bit younger and less emblematic of conservative obstinacy would make a better candidate for the GOP here anyway. A Democrat could certainly win this seat in a good year, and indeed, it is possible Price has been drawn into this district (I’m not exactly sure where he claims his address). But the quandary of having part of a liberal college town in an otherwise Republican district is that students might not get out the vote for a Blue Dog, and socially conservative ancestral Democrats might not vote for a progressive.

NC-06 (safe Republican)

81% white, 11% black

43% Obama, 56% McCain

This district effectively drowns what is left of liberal Chapel Hill in the bathtub of rural conservatism. In my first drawing, this district had not changed a lot from the current version represented by Rep. Howard Coble, a long-serving Republican, but the new version crawls evilly into Orange County to keep Chapel Hill out of a swingier district. If Coble wants another term, he should have no problem getting one in this district, even if he has to run against Price, who is probably drawn in here. As with NC-05, though, Democrats will have a wicked balancing act to perform, as well as a lot of electoral ground to make up, if they want to flip this seat.

NC-07 (safe Republican)

71% white, 21% black

42% Obama, 57% McCain

This redrawing would represent a fait accompli for the Republicans, drawing out Rep. Mike McIntyre, the Lumberton-based Democratic incumbent. It’s another district with a face only a mother could love, but the loss of Wilmington’s majority-black northern precincts and the excision of outlying Democratic-friendly areas like Robeson County take it from being a swing district to being a fairly solid Republican district, especially with McIntyre out of the picture. It trades a few rural precincts with NC-03 with no real effect otherwise, simply a matter of working out the numbers.

NC-08 (safe Democratic)

47% white, 33% black, 12% Native

58% Obama, 41% McCain

If you were curious as to where McIntyre went, he was drawn into this district currently held by Rep. Larry Kissell, a fellow Democrat. This new drawing sucks in pieces of Wilmington, Fayetteville, and Aberdeen in exchange for Cabarrus and Stanly counties. It is narrowly a minority-majority coalition district, with a not-insignificant Native American population, and it should be solid for Democrats regardless of whether Kissell, McIntyre, or someone else is the party’s 2012 nominee.

NC-09 (likely Republican)

81% white, 11% black

44% Obama, 55% McCain

Despite sacrificing its southern and western portions in favor of extending further north into Cabarrus County, this district serves the same function as it did before: dividing Charlotte along racial lines. Republican Rep. Sue Myrick, who I believe would still reside in this redrawn district, isn’t going to have any trouble getting reelected here. In the event Myrick has been drawn out, any other Republican might have a bit tougher haul but would probably still be favored.

NC-10 (safe Republican)

85% white, 8% black

41% Obama, 57% McCain

Okay kid, here’s where things get racially homogeneous. This redrawn district would be overwhelmingly Republican if it didn’t stick a long spur into liberal Asheville, intentionally diluting that population center’s influence. Instead it’s just very Republican, and it’s hard to see a Democrat picking it up. Rep. Patrick McHenry of Cherryville, a Republican, has been drawn out of this district with its move north from Gaston County.

NC-11 (safe Republican)

87% white, 7% black

40% Obama, 59% McCain

This is that pesky district where Shuler, a Blue Dog, seems to be hanging on just fine despite determined attempts to dislodge him. This redrawing is effectively just the most conservative parts of western North Carolina, with its sole purpose being to get rid of Shuler. Republicans would benefit from a shrunk-down district excising Democratic-friendly Asheville, and indeed, Shuler winning a district now-President Barack Obama lost by 19 points in 2008 seems like a stretch even for him.

NC-12 (safe Democratic)

38% white, 49% black, 8% Latino

75% Obama, 24% McCain

This is another slimmed-down version of an existing monstrosity. Democratic Rep. Melvin Watt’s district is famous for being one of the most egregious examples of gerrymandering in the county. Fortunately, this Wyoming Rule map puts it to shame, with multiple examples of even grosser gerrymandered districts. The smaller version of this district omits the spur into Winston-Salem and includes only southern and eastern Greensboro. Despite my personal distaste for Watt, he would have no excuse not to win reelection here.

NC-13 (swing)

79% white, 15% black

47% Obama, 52% McCain

This district simply ended up in a completely different place than it currently occupies. The current NC-13 includes most of Wake County and a great deal of northern North Carolina, using Raleigh’s Democratic tilt to offset the conservative tendencies of Rockingham, Caswell, Person, and Granville counties in what amounts to a big fat Democratic gerrymander. Because there is literally no overlap between the current and redrawn versions of this district, Miller has been drawn out and placed in NC-02, as previously mentioned. The new NC-13 would cover a swath of the central part of the state, including the cities of Kannapolis and Concord in Cabarrus County, stretching down to the South Carolina border west of Charlotte (there is actually an outside chance that Myrick, the NC-09 incumbent, may find herself living here). Because of the inclusion of Cherryville, Gaston County, the long-serving Republican McHenry has certainly been drawn into this district. It’s a swing district, and a savvy Blue Dog Democrat could win it, but I think it tilts Republican, especially if McHenry or Myrick run.

NC-14 (likely Republican)

90% white, 6% black

43% Obama, 55% McCain

This new district in North Carolina under the Wyoming Rule is mostly left over from Shuler’s gutted NC-11 and McHenry’s dismembered NC-10, with Foxx drawn in along with parts of the current incarnation of NC-05. It’s not as strongly Republican as it might have been, but most of liberal Asheville is here putting a weight on the scale due to its size. Considering that Shuler might rather move here from NC-11 to run, I would love to see him battle it out with Foxx. The demographics here ultimately would work in Foxx’s favor whether she ran against Shuler or another Democrat.

NC-15 (swing)

72% white, 18% black

48% Obama, 51% McCain

Yes, you’re seeing it right: this district includes the east and west sides, but not the middle third, of Harnett County. For all its gerrymandered-to-hell appearance, this is a swing district, carved up in a hideous way partly to permit the existence of the two VRA districts it borders, partly to keep it competitive enough to make surrounding districts more solidly partisan. Ellmers has been drawn into this district, although I’m not sure it’s conservative enough for her to win. Getting around in this district looks like it would be hell, and the cultural incongruity between Durham and Dunn might pose an issue in an election year.

NC-16 (swing)

74% white, 18% black

47% Obama, 52% McCain

Amazing how a district of leftovers can end up being perhaps the most compact one on the entire map. This all-new district covers most of Winston-Salem, along with rural Yadkin County and large swaths of Stokes, Surry, and Wilkes counties. I don’t believe any member of the House of Representatives lives within these district boundaries, but either a conservative Democrat or a cautious Republican could win here. It’s a swing district, but it tilts Republican.

NC-17 (swing)

78% white, 16% black

47% Obama, 52% McCain

The last new district is materially similar to the previous one in some ways. Demographically, it comes out looking much the same. It includes most of Guilford and Rockingham counties, serving to sponge up Democratic-friendly areas that could change NC-05 or NC-06 from being Republican districts to being swing districts, as this Republican-tilting district is. I don’t think a current House member lives here, meaning we would probably see a new face in Congress representing it in 2013. I think that face is likely to be Republican.

Comments, either on the map or on the Wyoming Rule?

Pennsylvania gets wyoming’d

First of all, this is my first diary and my first redistricting so be gentle! Also, there is one small error in the bigger pictures, however it is fixed in the zoom ones.

I basically did a very dem friendly redistricting of Pennslyvania under the Wyoming plan. This gives PA 25 seats of about 491,242 that MassGOP has made diaries on.

Without further ado, the map: http://img.imgcake.com/pajpgbu…

Without counties/cities: http://img.imgcake.com/paunmar…

Zoom on Philadelphia: http://img.imgcake.com/phillyu…

East PA: http://img.imgcake.com/eastpai…

SEPA: http://img.imgcake.com/southea…

District 1 (Blue): Obama 73%

Plurality Minority  

Goes from Philly to chester county, covering most of delco along the way. I was surprised how democratic the district was. 49 W 44 B

District 2 (Green): Obama 58%

Just gave the district a chunk of philly then tried to make it more conservative, so it went into Bucks, Montgomery and most of South Delaware. Should be reasonably safe.

District 3 (Purple): Obama 56%

Northeast Philly and wraps around the 2nd and 4th. Most bucks, but also Northampton and Lehigh. Would lean strongly D, and it would only get moreso. Would be vulnerable in another 2010 like year.

District 4 (Red): Obama 55%

Takes Allentown and half of Bethleham. Goes into Montgomery, Bucks, a lot of lehigh, and northhampton. Should be ok in most years.

District 5 (Yellow): Obama 55%

Rest of Bethleham, Easton, and most of Hazleton. All of carbon and monroe counties. Only 2 people off the population goal. Should lean Dem.

District 6 (Teal): Obama 53%

Wilks-Barre, the scranton suburbs, a tiny piece of scranton, all of Montour, columbia counties and the majority of wyoming, luzurne and lackawanna. (Thank you the office for spelling of that). Would tilt D but probably require a blue dog.

District 7 (Silver): Obama 54%

The funniest district in the state, containing the rest of scranton, most or all of 3 northeastern counties, and going all the way to Penn State. Leans D

District 8 (Violet): Obama 64%

This one is ugly. Starts in Philly and just goes out. Snakes through Montgomery to get some of the central pa counties like Snyder and Mifflin. Easy D.

District 9 (Sky Blue) Obama 58%

The most Liberal parts of delco and montco along with eastern chester county. Leans D pretty heavily.

District 10 (Pink) Obama 53%

Harrisburg, Half of Lancaster and coatsville. Pretty tough to hold but def doable. Leans slightly

District 11 (Lime Green): Obama 73%

Starts in Philly and snakes.

District 12 (Robin’s Egg Blue): Obama 57%

Starts in Philly and snakes up to central. Easy Dem.

District 13 (Tan): Obama 89%

VRA district. 29 W 46 B 19 H

District 14 (Gold): Obama 39%

Huge by Land Area, takes a ton of the conservative areas into one votesink.

District 15 (Orange): Obama 53%

The one I’m perhaps most proud of. Goes from York to Pittsburgh. Takes Altoona, Johnstown, and some of the bigger Pitt suburbs. Blue dog should take this one easily.

District 16 (Slightly darker lime green): Obama 50%

Reading and the other half of Lancaster. True toss-up, very winnable.

District 17 (Navy Blue) Obama 40%

The surprisingly heavily populated York, Adams and Franklin counties in south central pa. Not a shot in hell for us to win it.

District 18 (Bright yellow): Obama 41%

Scraps. Takes parts of a lot of other counties. Easy R win.

District 19 (Pea Green): Obama 40%

A lot of the Southwestern counties. Easy R win.

Pitt close up: http://img.imgcake.com/pittclo…

District 20 (Light Pink): Obama 52%

Parts of Pitt and Washington county and Fayette county. Lean D or Toss-Up

District 21 (Blood Red): Obama 54%

East Pittsburgh, some suburbs and then it just snakes out east. Lean D

District 22 (Poo Brown): Obama 38%

One of the most conservative districts in the country. Easy easy R.

District 23 (Baby Blue): Obama 54%

Erie, Saint Mary’s and a lot of the more liberal areas in the Northwest PA. Lean D

District 24 (Dark Purple): Obama 55%

Lots of pittsburgh and Allegheny county. Likely D

District 25 (Pink-Red Mesh): Obama 49%

What was left. Surprised it was still winnable for us.

Lean Dem or better: 18

Toss-up: 2

Easy R: 5


New Mexicyoming: Four Wyoming-Size Districts in the Land of Enchantment

Redistricting according to the highly hypothetical Wyoming Rule is the latest SSP trend. In brief, the rule throws out the inequality currently on display in the House, where the at-large district of Wyoming is dramatically overrepresented in terms of population compared to the average district in, say, Los Angeles.

I took on the task of drawing a Wyoming Rule map for New Mexico. Under the rule, the Land of Enchantment would add one congressional district. Using 2008 population estimates, I managed to draw a 3-1 map with no less than three VRA minority-majority coalition districts.

NM-01 (safe Democratic)

43% white, 4% Native, 47% Latino

64% Obama, 35% McCain

This district covers most of the Albuquerque area, excluding the whiter, more Republican suburbs and exurbs in eastern Bernadillo County and creeping up just barely into Sandoval County. It’s quite close to being an outright Latino-majority district; growth rates suggest it will be by the end of the decade, if I remember right. No reason studly Rep. Martin Heinrich couldn’t win here, as it’s a heavily Democratic district.

NM-02 (likely Democratic)

33% white, 17% Native, 48% Latino

58% Obama, 40% McCain

In Maryland, this would be a safe Democratic seat, but inconsistent voter turnout among Native Americans means that for New Mexico, this is just a district in which Democrats start off with a pretty decent advantage. Indeed, virtually all of this district will be represented by Republican Rep.-elect Steve Pearce in the 112th Congress, although western New Mexico tends to be more liberal than eastern New Mexico, which balances out the current NM-02 for a Republican-tilting swing district. Rep. Harry Teague could certainly win here, but as this district is likely to be outright majority-Latino by redistricting, the base might prefer a Latino representative.

NM-03 (safe Democratic)

43% white, 13% Native, 41% Latino

63% Obama, 36% McCain

This district in northern New Mexico is basically just a smaller version of Rep. Ben Ray Luján’s current district, ceding McKinley County and much of Sandoval County to NM-02 and ceding Quay, Curry, and Roosevelt counties to NM-04. It is strongly Democratic and actually plurality-white, although minority groups still make up the majority of the population. Luján would cruise here, much as he does in the current version of his district.

NM-04 (safe Republican)

60% white, 2% Native, 33% Latino

40% Obama, 58% McCain

The whitest, most conservative district in the Wyoming Rule drawing of New Mexico covers the state’s southeastern quadrant, with tendrils reaching into the Republican-tending eastern part of the greater Albuquerque area, including eastern Bernadillo County. Rep.-elect Pearce would be fine here.

Thoughts, either on the Wyoming Rule or on the New Mexico electoral map?

Maryoming: A Plausible Redistricting for an Unlikely Eventuality

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

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

MD-01 (safe Republican)

85% white, 11% black

59% McCain, 39% Obama

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

MD-02 (swing, lean Democrat)

75% white, 19% black

54% Obama, 44% McCain

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

MD-03 (safe Democratic)

40% white, 54% black

81% Obama, 17% McCain

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

MD-04 (safe Democratic)

46% white, 48% black

71% Obama, 28% McCain

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

MD-05 (safe Democratic)

69% white, 12% black

61% Obama, 37% McCain

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

MD-06 (safe Republican)

93% white, 4% black

62% McCain, 36% Obama

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

MD-07 (safe Democratic)

70% white, 20% black

59% Obama, 39% McCain

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

MD-08 (safe Democratic)

63% white, 28% black

63% Obama, 36% McCain

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

MD-09 (safe Democratic)

64% white, 11% black

72% Obama, 27% McCain

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

MD-10 (safe Democratic)

17% white, 64% black

93% Obama, 7% McCain

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

MD-11 (safe Democratic)

60% white, 34% black

65% Obama, 34% McCain

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

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

Washington & Wyoming Primary Results Thread

2:07am: Well, things have pretty much ground to a halt in Washington, so we’ll probably just leave it for here for the night. Currently 60% are reporting in WA-Sen (with Murray at 46, Rossi at 34, and Didier at 12), but bear in mind that ballots are going to keep straggling in over the next few days (since they can be postmarked today). Only half of King County is reporting, for instance. At any rate, I did some rough extrapolation and it doesn’t look like the final needle will budge much: I’m projecting Murray 47, Rossi 33, Didier 11.

1:28am: We’ve gotten some more Santa Cruz Co. precincts reporting (now that they’ve stopped playing Jenga). That takes us up to 59% reporting, but with 91% of votes in by our figuring. It’s 49-43 for the GOP’s Blakeslee, and that’s still what we’re projecting as the final result in California.

1:03am: The AP has called Jaime Herrera for the 2nd spot in WA-03. She’s at 27, to Heck’s 32. That’s with 71% reporting. (In case you cared, they also called Jim Watkins as Jay Inslee’s opponent in WA-01. Inslee is at 57, Watkins at 26.)

1:01am: There’s 39% reporting in CA-SD15. But by our calculations, 87% of the votes have been counted, and we’re still on track for a 49-43 finale.

12:53am: Wow, it looks like we might go into overtime in Wyoming after all. We’ve hit 486 of 486, and Mead’s lead over Meyer fell to 714 votes (30,272 to 29,558). That’s less than a 1% margin (28.7%-28.1%), so Mead isn’t clear anymore. So, naturally, no AP call yet.

12:48am: Well, we’ve added 4 more precincts in WY-Gov, taking us up to 481/486. They don’t seem to have been much help for Rita Meyer, as she still trails Matt Mead by 1,250 votes. The automatic recount line is a 1% margin (again, thanks to Aaron Blake), and Mead’s edge over Meyer is currently 28.9%-27.6%, so he’s clear of the zone.

12:39am: Still no new reports in CA-SD15. We’d like to remind the good folks of Santa Cruz County that Proposition 19 hasn’t passed yet!

12:31am: One other small piece of bad news, although this is pretty down-in-the-weeds for Washington. Jim Johnson won another term on the state Supreme Court, beating Stan Rumbaugh 63-37 (for some technical reason that I don’t know, probably because it’s a nonpartisan office and there were only 2 contestants, this race is decided tonight). Johnson is the lone across-the-boards conservative on SCOWa. (The rest of you are probably now saying “You only have one conservative on your Supreme Court?!?”)

12:29am: We’re estimating 86% of the vote is in in CA SD-15. It’s still listed at 49-43 Blakeslee, and that’s what we’re still projecting in the end, too. Worth noting: the final numbers last time were 49-42, so, apparently, nobody changed their mind over the last month.

12:24am: We’re up to 56% reporting in WA-Sen. The latest report includes all of Benton Co. in eastern Washington (Didier’s home turf), so there’s a small Didier surge and Murray erosion: Murray 46, Rossi 34, Didier 12 now. Half of King is still outstanding, though, so look for Murray to push upward again.

12:20am: If you’re looking for something interesting to watch in Washington, try the GOP side in WA-09, where there’s a good establishment/teabagger duel for the right to face the probably safe Adam Smith. Currently, Pierce Co. Commissioner Dick Muri (a pretty good get in terms of his office, but a zero on the fundraising front) leads 2008 challenger Jim Postma 24-19 (with Smith at 53).

12:18am: Cue up inevitable lamestream media narrative of OMG! Mama Grizzly fail!!1! Is Sarah Palin losing her touch? (With probably no mention of G.H.W. Bush’s support of 4th place Colin Simpson.)

12:15am: Just like that, Campbell Co. in Wyoming reports. Mead won 31-23 there over Meyer, so that pads his lead a bit. Statewide, it’s Mead 29, Meyer 28, Micheli 27, Simpson 16 (with Mead’s lead over Meyer at 1,300 votes). That’s with 477 of 486 precincts total reporting, so I think this is pretty much over and done, in favor of Mead. (But no AP call yet.)

12:13am: The AP has declared victors in WA-08, as Suzan DelBene has gained some ground, though it’s still not a convincing win. It’s Reichert 48, DelBene 27. Also, they’ve called WA-02 for Rick Larsen and John Koster. It’s actually pretty close, at 44-41 for Larsen, but there’s also 10% going to random other Dems.

12:11am: The AP has partially called WA-03. They’ve given a check mark to Denny Heck (at 31), and presumably Jaime Herrera (at 27) will get one soon. Still 65% reporting.

12:09am: We’re up to 89% reporting in Wyoming, rattling toward a conclusion, and Mead is pulling a smidge ahead of Meyer. He’s up 29-28 over Meyer, by 750 votes. Nothing from Campbell Co. has reported yet, but it’s worth noting that neighboring county Johnson Co. went for Mead, 37-30 over Meyer.

12:07am: Wow, here’s a fun fact I just learned (thanks to Aaron Blake’s Twitter feed). Pete Gosar, the guy who just lost the WY-Gov D primary, is the brother of rogue dentist Paul Gosar, the guy who’s expected to win the GOP primary in AZ-01.

12:00am: White smoke is pouring out of the SSP Labs mainframe, although we don’t know who the new pope will be. What we do know is that we’re projecting the 49-43 margin for Blakeslee in CA-SD15 is predicted to continue all the way to the end, with all vote-by-mail having been reported there. (Even though we’re only at 27% reporting, 80% of the vote has reported because so much of it was by mail.)

11:56pm: We’re up to 65% reporting in WA-03, but things have flattened out. It’s Heck 31, Herrera 27, Hedrick 14, Castillo 12, Crist 11. That’s GOP 53-Dems 44, if you’re playing along at home, not an especially good omen for November.

11:52pm: Sam Blakeslee (R) pulls into the lead in CA-SD15, thanks to some reports from his turf at the southern end of the district (SLO and Santa Barbara Cos.). Now he leads over Laird, 49-43. With Santa Cruz not having reported much of anything yet, though, this could tighten again.

11:48pm: The AP also just called the WY-Gov D primary for Leslie Petersen, who’s up 48-39 over Pete Gosar. We’re up to 85% reporting. And we’re a long way from a winner in the R primary, although the Ron Micheli bulge seems to have passed. It’s now 28 each for Mead and Meyer (with Meyer up by about 50), with Micheli down at 26 and Simpson at 15. Looks like the biggest outstanding clot of votes is all of Campbell County (Gillette).

11:45pm: The AP has already called WA-Sen for Murray and Rossi. Murray’s at 47, Rossi’s at 34, with Didier at 10 and Akers at 2. That’s with 45% reporting, but without any of the WA-07 part (i.e., Seattle) of King County reporting yet.

11:41pm: We’re up to 45% reporting in Washington, and that includes a sizable part of King County now. That moves the needle quite a bit, to Murray 48, Rossi 34, and Didier 10.

11:38pm: I guess we should check in on WA-08. Dave Reichert’s at 50%. Suzan DelBene is way back at 19, although that should still be enough to easily get her into November. (There’s another Dem, Tom Cramer, polling at 11, and a few other stray Dems in single digits. The Seattle Times’ new pet rock, Tim Dillon, is at 5.)

11:36pm: 22% are reporting in CA-SD15, and things are actually getting better for Laird. He’s up 49-43 over Blakeslee. However, the new votes are from Monterey Co., his home turf, so, again, don’t start getting optimistic yet.

11:35pm: Wow, I pretty much forgot about Wyoming, and with 71% reporting, we’re in pretty much a 3-way tie among the GOPers. Micheli, Mead, and Meyer are all at 28%. Micheli leads Mead by only 22 votes, and Mead’s ahead of Meyer by another 550. For the Dems, not much change: 48 Petersen, 39 Gosar.

11:32pm: In WA-03, we’re up to 49% reporting. It’s Heck 33, Herrera 27, Hedrick 14, Castillo 11, Crist 11.  

11:30pm: Now there’s 25% reporting statewide, says the AP. (Typical Washington deluge.) It’s Murray 42, Rossi 37, Didier 13. But bear in mind that absolutely none (of 1788) of King County’s precincts have reported, so that should pad things out for Murray once they get going (late, as they usually do).

11:25pm: Definitely getting some disparities here between the WA SoS, and the AP. The AP says the Senate race is Murray 41, Rossi 36, Didier 14, with 15% reporting. In WA-03, they have 37% reporting: Heck is at 32, Herrera at 30, Hedrick at 16, Castillo at 10, and Crist at 9.

11:22pm: OK, here’s some unexpected good news, though: John Laird is leading Sam Blakeslee in the CA-SD15 special election, with 10% of the vote in. It’s 47-45. However, that’s in Santa Clara Co. only, so Laird’s stronger areas (like San Luis Obispo) haven’t reported. But recall that Laird lost Santa Clara last time.

11:20pm: In the only other federal race worth watching in Washington, in WA-03, Jaime Herrera actually has a small lead over Denny Heck, 27-25, with the assorted teabaggers fairly far behind (Castillo at 17, Hedrick at 13). Cheryl Crist, who primaried Brian Baird from the left in 2008, is actually racking up a fair share too, at 12.

11:18pm: Wow, a lot of Washington votes landed with a thud. (Over 222,000 of them, according to the SoS.) Patty Murray’s at 44, Dino Rossi is at 37. Didier’s at 11, Akers is at 2. Goodspaceguy is at 0.4%.


     California: Associated Press

     Washington: Associated Press | WA SoS | Politico

     Wyoming: Associated Press | Politico

Wyoming Primary Results Open THread

11:14pm: Follow us over here.

11:06pm: Out of nowhere, Ron Micheli has pulled into the lead in the R primary. He’s at 30, with Mead at 28 and Meyer at 27. That seems to be all thanks to a huge clot of Micheli votes in Lincoln County (Kemmerer, in the southwest), which reported all at once and where he won with 66% of the vote. The bad news for Micheli is that there aren’t any more Lincoln votes, so this is probably as good as it gets for him, unless he has any other random counties where he has an advantage.

10:57pm: Things are tighter than Dan Rather’s pants after a big meal in a hot sweaty room. With 52% reporting, now it’s Mead with a 250 vote lead over Meyer (both are at 30), with Micheli at 24 and Simpson at 15. (Mead is viewed as less wingnutty than Meyer, for what that’s worth, in case you’re looking for somebody to root for.) For the Dems, it’s 47-41 for Petersen.

10:47pm: Now 40% reporting, but the needle’s oscillating much less wildly. It’s Meyer 30, Mead 30 (trailing by 200), Micheli 24, Simpson 15. For the Dems, still 46-42 for Petersen over Gosar.

10:35pm: We’re up to 31% reporting now, with much of Natrona Co. (Casper) in. On the GOP side, it’s Mead 31, Meyer 30, Micheli 23, and Simpson 15. For the Dems, it’s Petersen 46, Gosar 42.

10:20pm: Now we’re picking up some speed, with 22% reporting. On the GOP side, it’s Matt Mead surging into the lead, at 33, with Meyer at 28, Micheli at 23, and Simpson at 14. On the Dem side, Petersen’s now in the lead 48-40. That’s with much of her home base (Teton Co., where Jackson Hole is, and where she’s winning 86-10) having reported.

10:10pm: We got a big dump of ballots from Laramie Co. (Cheyenne), so now we’re up to 12% reporting. On the GOP side, it’s now 30 Meyer, 29 Mead, 28 Micheli, and 12 Simpson. On the Dem side, it’s now Gosar 49, Petersen 38… getting closer, but Gosar still may be able to pull this out. (4 precincts from Albany Co., where Laramie and the University of Wyoming are, have also reported, and they apparently still remember Gosar, as they’re going strongly for him.)

10:05pm: While we kill time here, did you know that Wyoming was the first state to have a female Governor? Nellie Tayloe Ross, a staunch prohibitionist, was elected in 1924. (She lived to be 101, proving you should stay away from demon rum.) They haven’t had a female governor since.

9:50pm: Sweetwater Co. also got caught up on the GOP side, so now that’s up to 5% reporting too. Interestingly, Ron Micheli, who’d polled in 4th, is in the lead, at 34. Matt Mead’s at 27, Rita Meyer’s at 26, and Colin Simpson’s at 12. That may also be skewed by geography, though, as Micheli’s also from the southwestern part of the state (although from Uinta County).

9:45pm: Actually, I am temporarily overruling my prediction of upset in the making. 24 of those 25 precincts reporting are from Sweetwater County. Pete Gosar was born in Rock Springs, the largest town in Sweetwater. So those early votes are probably his extended family.

9:41pm: After a terribly long period where only one precinct had reported, we’re finally getting some movement. Oddly, though, it’s only on the Dem side. On the GOP side, it’s still only 1 precinct reporting. Anyway, with 5% reporting, we might be looking at an upset on the Dem side, with Pete Gosar (his main claim to fame is former Univ. of Wyoming football star) beating state party chair and presumptive frontrunner Leslie Petersen, 54-34.

Polls have now closed in Wyoming, and Washington will follow at 11pm Eastern.


Associated Press | Politico

August Primaries to Watch

After a slow few weeks in late June and July, August promises to be quite exciting, primary-wise!

Here are some races to watch in August:


MO-Sen (R) – Blunt v. teabagger

MO-04 (R) – Free-for-all

MO-07 (R) – open seat

Proposition C – It’s about NULLIFICATION!

KS-Sen (R) – Moran/Tiahrt

KS-01, 04 (R) – open seats

KS-03 (R) – Yoder v. Lightner

KS-04 (D) – will Raj Goyle get VicRawl’d?

MI-Gov (D), (R)

MI-01, 02, 03 (R) – open seats

MI-07 (R) – Rooney/Walberg

MI-09 (R) – Rocky v. Welday

MI-12 (D)

MI-13 (D) – Kilpatrick weak

8/5: (hey, two primaries in one week!)

TN-Gov (R) – open seat

TN-03 (R) – Wamp’s open seat

TN-04 (R) – clusterfuck

TN-06 (R) – open seat

TN-08 (R) – Kirkland v. Flinn

TN-09 (D) – impending Willie Herenton fail


CT-Gov (D) and (R) – Lamont/Malloy and Fedele/Foley

CT-Sen (R) – ghost of Rob Simmons?

CT-02, 04, 05 (R)

CO-Gov (R) – McInnis and Maes double fail

CO-Sen (D) – Bennet v. Romanoff

CO-Sen (R) – the devil wears prada?

CO-03, 07 (R)

GA-Gov (R)Palin Handel v. Newt Deal

GA-07, 12 (R) – more runoffs

GA-09 (R) – Graves v. Hawkins round 3

MN-Gov (D) – Dayton v. Kelliher




WY-Gov (D), (R)


AZ-Sen (D), (R)

AZ-03 (R) – Shadegg’s open seat

AZ-01, 05, 08 (R)

VT-Gov (D)

FL-Gov (R) – (yes!!!!!!)

FL-Sen (D) – Meek v. Greene

FL-12, 25 (R) – open seats

FL-02, 08, 22, 24 (R)

FL-02 (D) – challenge to a Blue Dog from the left, v4.1

FL-17 (D) – Meek’s open seat

AK-Gov (R) – Parnell and the ghost of Palin?

AK-Sen (R) – Murkowski v. Palin proxy


LA-Sen (R) – Vitter v. Traylor

LA-02 (D) – Lafonta v. Richmond

LA-03 (R)

WV-Sen (D), (R) – Byrd special primary

The Rest of the West: Part 1

(Proudly cross-posted at C4O Democrats)

About 2 weeks ago, we talked about the rising Democratic tide in The Southwest. Now, I want to discuss what’s happening in The Northwest. Believe it or not, we have plenty of opportunities up north as well.

Want to come along with me as we look at where we can win in 2010 and beyond?

Let’s start in Wyoming. While John McCain beat Barack Obama by 32%, it was an improvement over Bush’s 40% margin of victory in 2004. And believe it or not, Wyoming voters twice elected Democrat Dave Freudenthal as Governor while Democrat Gary Trauner twice lost the At-Large House seat by surprisingly narrow margins. We have an opportunity in 2010 to win both races, as Freudenthal is termed out and newly elected GOP Rep. Cynthia Lummis doesn’t seem much more popular than outgoing GOP Rep. Barbara Cubin. I see both races as “Leans Republican” now, but that can change if we find good candidates.

Unlike Wyoming, Montana is rapidly trending Democratic. Bush won the state by 20% in 2004, but McCain could only muster a 3% win and Obama may be the first Democrat since Bill Clinton in 1992 to win here in 2012. And better yet, Montana now has 2 Democratic Senators, a Democratic Governor, and a split legislature. But for some reason, incumbent GOP Rep. Dennis Rehberg is still in office. If we find a strong Democrat to challenge Rehberg in 2010, I think we can make this “Likely Republican” seat more competitive.

Now Idaho may not be trending Democratic as quickly as Montana, but the state is moving our way. Bush’s 39% win in 2004 was reduced to a 25% McCain win this year. And better yet, Democrat Walt Minnick scored a stunning upset win over incumbent GOP Rep. Bill Sali in ID-01. But even though Minnick won this year, we must remember that this House seat will be the top GOP seat in 2010. This race looks like a “Toss-up” now, and we’ll need to work hard to hold ID-01 while continuing to make electoral gains in Idaho.

While all the other Northwest states previously mentioned still tilt toward the GOP, Washington state is quite the different game. Barack Obama won here by 17%, a great improvement over Kerry’s narrower 7% win in 2004. Meanwhile, Democratic Governor Chris Gregoire won reelection this year while Democratic majorities in both houses of the legislature, both Democratic Senators, and all 6 Democratic House Reps. look quite safe. However, we have a chance to pick up another House seat in the eastern suburban Seattle WA-08 district. Incumbent GOP Rep. Dave Reichert only narrowly won reelection in 2006 & 2008 in a district that both Kerry & Obama won. If we perhaps find a candidate with legislative experience to challenge Reichert in 2010, we can finally win this “Toss-up” race.

As you can see, The Northwest is undergoing many of the same changes being seen Southwest. Wyoming and Idaho may still look strongly Republican, but Montana has rapidly become a swing state as Oregon and Washington have gone from simply leaning Democratic to strongly Democratic. As the population grows, diversifies, and changes from rural to suburban & urban, Democrats are rising to victory.

As long as demographics change and voters continue to care less about “the culture wars” and more about issues like energy, environmental preservation, and economic development, Democrats will win. That’s why our party must continue to invest in winning The West. So are you ready to win?