Home Means Nevada: Redistricting Congress “Fairly”

(Also at Nevada Progressive)

In our previous glimpses into redistricting Nevada’s Congressional Districts, we discussed what would happen if The Legislature redraws the lines based on certain politicians’ future aspirations. But this time, I’m throwing a curveball at you. What happens if The Legislature can’t agree on a map?

Today, the fun really begins with a glimpse of a possible court drawn map.

Yes, you heard me right. Two law suits have already been filed, one by the Nevada Democratic Party and another by the Nevada GOP, and more legal action may follow if The Legislature drags on without a map ready for 2012. If the increasingly brutal state budget battle drags on to Summer Special Session with no agreement in sight, there’s a good chance the gridlock will also extend to redistricting. And as much as Nevada Supreme Court justices do NOT want to wade into redistricting, I’ve been hearing that both they and the major parties are seeing it as more of a real possibility.

So what happens? Let’s take a look at just that, as a few angry judges throw out the political memos and guide a nonpartisan team to draw “fair” lines.

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NV-02 (The Dark Green District)

Population: 674,932

69.3% White (73.7% VAP)

The State of Play

As you can see above, this is still a Washoe County based district. The good news for Republicans is that Washoe’s flirtations with Democrats can be offset by heavily Republican rural areas like Elko, Douglas, and Lyon Counties. However, the bad news is that swingy Mineral County and Carson City are also included. All in all, The 2nd District becomes slightly more Democratic.

Who’s All In?

Now that Kirk Lippold and Sharron Angle are officially in, let the tea-nuttery begin! It will be to fun to see those two out-crazy each other, then watch as “poor” Mark Amodei and Brian Krolicki try to get some of those teabagger votes without going too far off the deep end.

On the Democratic side, State Treasurer Kate Marshall is sounding more and more like a real candidate.

The Wild Cards

However, Marshall may not be alone. 2006 and 2008 NV-02 Democratic nominee Jill Derby is also looking at the race, along with Assembly Member Debbie Smith (D-Sparks) and Reno City Council Member Jessica Sferrazza. Now that all out madness is ensuing on the GOP side, Washoe Dems are increasingly liking their chances here… But it still won’t be an easy ride. Why? See below.

Estimated 2008 Results: 49-50% Obama (D)

Early Race Rating: Leans Republican for now, Tossup if Angle or Lippold wins the GOP primary

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NV-04 (The Purple District)

Population: 675,314

61.9% White (65.2% VAP)

The State of Play

Now here’s where things start to get wild! Notice some changes? For one, it’s the new district that now gets drawn into the rurals. The new 4th District starts in rural Churchill County (Fallon gets placed in NV-02 because it can be argued it shares a community of interest with the other Reno exurbs), but otherwise the other rural counties are left whole as the district stretches from Ely down to Pahrump, then finally to Clark County. And once the district crosses into Clark, it takes in northern rural areas, from Indian Springs to Overton & Mesquite, then drops into the valley to take in the once rapidly expanding Northwest and Southwest Las Vegas suburbs, as well as all of Summerlin and some whiter West Side neighborhoods.

In essence, this is THE classic swing district with a unique mix of rural Republican strongholds, urban Democratic bases, and a whole lot of evenly divided suburban battlegrounds that can very well go either way next year… And that’s how the court will want it.

Who’s All In?

Notice something else? There’s no incumbent here! Even though there technically is one in Shelley Berkley, we all now know what she’s up to. So in her absence, there should be a wild ride on both sides in vying for this seat.

On the Republican side, State Senator Barbara Cegavske‘s (R-Summerlin) wish will finally be fulfilled as she now has an open seat to compete in. But then again, she may get an unwanted surprise if local teabagger groups rally behind the newly crowned, tea-tinged superstar in State Senator Elizabeth Halseth (R-Northwest Vegas). State Assembly Member Scott Hammond (R-Northwest Vegas) may also feel the temptation.

On the Democratic side, Assembly Member Marcus Conklin (D-Northwest Vegas) may be real opportunity here. And considering his gracious concession earlier this month and offer to endorse Chris Giunchigliani for Las Vegas Mayor after 15 votes separated them in the primary, Larry Brown is busy re-earning goodwill that may come in handy should he run for Congress next year. (By the way, in case you were wondering, he’s also apologized for the confusion over his support for SB 283 and domestic partnerships for LGBTQ families.) And unless the Nevada GOP can sideline Cegavske and Halseth in favor of a more mainstream nominee, Dems may very well like their chances here.

The Wild Cards

Hey, isn’t it wild enough already!

Estimated 2008 Results: 51-54% Obama (D)

Early Race Rating: Tossup

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NV-01 (The Blue District)

Population: 674,765

47.0% Latino (41.2% VAP), 29.1% White (34.5% VAP), 14.6% African American (14.8% VAP)

The State of Play

Even if Shelley Berkley wasn’t running for Senate, the court would not care where she lives or where she “wants” to represent. But now that she’s definitely out of the picture, all bets are off! The 1st District contracts to just (all of) North Las Vegas and the older, more Latino and African American heavy parts of The City of Las Vegas, as well as a few heavily Latino unincorporated Clark County areas and the northern half of The Strip.

Who’s All In?

State Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford (D-North Las Vegas) hasn’t done a great job of hiding his desire to head to DC. And thankfully for him, a court drawn map doesn’t prevent that, as this is designed to be a VRA protected minority-majority coalition district.

However, the path isn’t too clear for him. After all, this is a strong Latino plurality district, and State Senator Ruben Kihuen (D-North Las Vegas) is a fierce fighter who’s gaining broader appeal as a strong, progressive voice in The Legislature. Since this district overlaps with nearly all of his current Senate district, Kihuen definitely can’t be counted out.

The Wild Cards

State Senator John Lee (D-North Las Vegas) isn’t stupid, so perhaps he can’t entirely be counted out yet. But as I’ve said before, he’s acting far too conservative this session to really gain traction in a Democratic primary here.

And sorry, Republicans, but there’s really no GOPer who can compete here.

Estimated 2008 Results: 67-68% Obama (D)

Early Race Rating: Safe Democratic

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NV-03 (The Red District)

Population: 675,520

56.2% White (60.3% VAP), 23.1% Latino (19.8% VAP), 9.6% Asian American (10.0% VAP)

The State of Play

Now here’s where things get really crazy! Remember, the court is overseeing the drawing of this map. The judges don’t care what Joe Heck wants or who he wants to represent. All they care about are population equity and fair boundaries. So unfortunately for him, he’s forced to accept a Henderson based district that keeps the entire city intact while stretching north into the strongly Democratic East Side (which can be argued shares a community of interest with most of Henderson), and west across The Strip to heavily Democratic Spring Valley (which can be argued shares a community of interest with The East Side, and is needed for population equity), and across Eastern Avenue to Democratic leaning Silverado Ranch.

However, Democrats shouldn’t get too giddy here. Remember, ALL of Henderson is kept in here, including Joe Heck’s own MacDonald Ranch/Roma Hills base as well as the opulent, affulent, & Republican dominant Anthem & Seven Hills communities. Also kept in are more GOP heavy Boulder City, along with the rural communities of Searchlight and Laughlin further south (as well as Primm, added in from NV-02).

Who’s All In?

Obviously, Joe Heck wants another term. However, he will really have to rethink his strategy if The Legislature deadlocks on the state budget and redistricting gets determined in court. Since he’s likely to be kept in what will at least be a Democratic tilting district, he will need far more crossover support than he got in 2010 to survive next year in a district President Obama will probably win by double digits again.

So obviously, Heck looks to be an inviting target for Assembly Speaker John Oceguera (D-Silverado Ranch). He’s survived tough battles before, and he’s in the fight of his life now over the state budget. He may feel ready to take on Heck…

But there’s someone else waiting in the wings, someone who will have waited a year for the rematch she’s been looking for. Dina Titus definitely shouldn’t be counted out, especially since she only barely lost last time… And this time, many of the areas where she performed worst have been removed. Meanwhile, her East Side base is left intact, along with the Green Valley (Henderson) neighborhoods where she beat Heck.

The Wild Cards

Byron Georgiou has quickly turned from welcomed Democratic fundraiser to unwelcome Democratic pariah. Both Shelley Berkley and Harry Reid want him out of the Senate race, and rumors have surfaced about him possibly running for House instead. So will it be here? Or in the new NV-04 seat? Or maybe even NV-01? Whatever the case, a whole lot of Democratic strategists nervously await where Georgiou will land.

And of course, depending on what Joe Heck does, particularly how he votes in The House, there’s a chance of him being called for “tea time” in the GOP primary.

Estimated 2008 Results: 55-57% Obama (D)

Early Race Rating: Tossup for now, Leans Democratic if Heck has primary woes & Dems get a top notch nominee

So there you have it. This is just one scenario of what might happen if redistricting Nevada’s Congressional Districts is tossed to the courts for judges to decide and nonpartisan players to draw. An incumbent is thrown into jeopardy, two open seats lead to total feeding frenzies, and an epic rematch may be coming to doorsteps near me soon.

Idaho Legislature PVIs (if anyone is interested)

District 1 (Boundary County and Sandpoint)

2004: Bush 61.1%, Kerry 36.9%

2008: McCain 56.9%, Obama 40%

Senator Sean Keough (R), Representative Eric Anderson (R), Representative George Eskridge (R)

District 2 (Shoshone County, Benewah County and part of Bonner County)

2004: Bush 62.6%, Kerry 35.7%

2008: McCain 59.3%, Obama 37.4%

Senator Joyce Broadsword (R), Representative Shannon McMillan (R), Representative R.J. Hardwood (R)

District 3 (Coeur d’ Alene’s suburbs, exurbia and rural areas, also my district!)

2004: Bush 71.3%, Kerry 27.3%

2008: McCain 67.7%, Obama 30.0%

Senator Steve Vick (R), Representative Vito Barbieri (R), Representative Phil Hart (R)

District 4 (Coeur d’ Alene)

2004: Bush 59%, Kerry 39.4%

2008: McCain 53.3%, Obama 44.2%

Senator John Goedde (R), Representative Marge Chadderdon (R), Representative Kathleen Sims (R)

District 5 (more suburbia except it’s a Spokane oriented one called Post Falls)

2004: Bush 69%, Kerry 29.2%

2008: McCain 64.9%, Obama 32.6%

Senator Jim Hammond (R), Representative Bob Nonini (R), Representative Frank Henderson (R)

District 6 (Latah County: home of the University of Idaho and nothing else besides a few sheep fucking peasants)

2004: Bush 49.5%, Kerry 48.0%

2008: Obama 51.3%, McCain 44.6%

Senator Dan Schmidt (D), Representative Tom Trail (R), Representative Shirley Ringo (D)

District 7 (Lewiston, a few small towns and a Nez Pearce reservation)

2004: Bush 62.2%, Kerry 36.6%

2008: McCain 58.1%, Obama 40.0%

Senator Joe Stenger (R), Representative Jeff Nessett (R), Representative John Rusche (D)

District 8 (Clearwater County, Lewis County, Idaho County and Valley County. Known for vast expanses of nothing)

2004: Bush 70.3%, Kerry 27.3%

2008: McCain 65.1%, Obama 31.8%

Senator Sheryl Nuxoll (R), Representative Ken A. Roberts (R), Representative Paul Shepard (R)

District 9 (Adams, Washington and Payette. No idea what exists here besides a Payette Lake)

2004: Bush 75.3%, Kerry 23.5%

2008: McCain 69.1%, Obama 28.4%

Senator Monty Pearce (R), Lawrence Denney (R), Judy Boyle (R)

District 10 (Boise’s exurbs and suburbs)

2004: Bush 72.1%, Kerry 26.6%

2008: McCain 61.9%, Obama 35.8%

Senator John McGee (R), Representative Pat Taskugi (R), Darrell Bolz (R)

District 11 (Boise’s exurbs and farmland)

2004: Bush 76.9%, Kerry 21.7%

2008: McCain 71.6%, Obama 25.8%

Senator Melissa Snyder (R), Representative Steven Thayn (R), Representative Carlos Bilbao (R)

District 12 (Nampa)

2004: Bush 72.5%, Kerry 26.5%

2008: McCain 61.5%, Obama 36%

Senator Curtis McKenzie (R), Representative Robert Shaffer (R), Representative Melissa Robinson (R)

District 13 (Boise suburbs)

2004: Bush 76.2%, Kerry 22.5%

2008: McCain 69.6%, Obama 29.9%

Senator Patti Longe (R), Representative Brent Crane (R), Representative Christy Perry (R)

District 14 (Eagle and parts of Meridian)

2008: McCain 62.8%, Obama 35.5%

Senator Chuck Winder (R), Representative Mike Moyle (R), Representative Reed DeMourdant (R)

District 15 (Meridian)

2004: Bush 64.0%, Kerry 34.8%

2008: McCain 53.0%, Obama 44.8%

Senator John C Andreason (R), Representative Lynn Luker (R), Representative Max Black (R)

District 16 (West Boise)

2004: Bush 55.2%, Kerry 43.5%

2008: Obama 53.0%, McCain 44.5%

Senator Les Bock (D), Representative Grant Burgoyne (D), Representative Elfreda Higgins (D)

District 17 (Boise Bench)

2004: Bush 50.1%, Kerry 46.7%

2008: Obama 56.6%, McCain 40.1%

Senator Eliott Werk (D), Representative Bill Killen (D), Representative Sue Chew (D)

District 18 (South Boise/Boise State University)

2004: Bush 54.7%, Kerry 46.8%

2008: Obama 52.7%, McCain 45.1%

Senator Mitch Toryanski (R), Representative Julie Ellsworth (R), Representative Phyllis King (D)

District 19 (Boise’s Northend which is basically Idaho’s mini Boulder, Colorado)

2004: Kerry 60.5%, Bush 37.8%

2008: Obama 67.9%, McCain 29.9%

Senator Nicole LeFavour (D), Representative Cherie Buckner-Webb (D), Brian Cronin (D)

District 20 (Meridian)

2004: Bush 74%, Kerry 25.1%

2008: McCain 62.7%, Obama 34.9%

Senator Shirley McKague (R), Representative Joe Palmer (R), Representative Marve Hagedorn (R)

District 21 (Kuna, Bill Sali’s old district)

2004: Bush 73.6%, Kerry 26.5%

2008: McCain 63.5%, Obama 34.2%

Senator Russel Fulcher (R), Representative John Woude (R), Representative Clifford Bayer (R)

District 22 (Mountain Home and Boise County)

2004: Bush 78.3%, Kerry 20.3%

2008: McCain 66.3%, Obama 31.3%

Senator Tim Corder (R), Representative Rich Wills (R), Representative Pete Neilsen (R)

District 23 (Owhyee and the Magic Valley)

2004: Bush 76.7%, Kerry 22.0%

2008: McCain 70.1%, Obama 27.9%

Senator Brett Bracket (R), Representative Jim Patrick (R), Representative Stephen Hartgen (R)

District 24 (Twin Falls)

2004: Bush 73.4%, Kerry 25.4%

2008: McCain 66.0%, Obama 31.4%

Senator Lee Heider (R), Representative Leon Smith (R), Representative Sharon Block (R)

District 25 (Sun Valley)

2004: Bush 54.8%, Kerry 43.8%

2008: Obama 49.6%, McCain 48.0%

Senator Jim Donoval (R), Representative Michael Stennet (D), Representative Wendy Jaquet (D)

District 26 (Jerome County, Minidoka County)

2004: Bush 79.6%, Kerry 19.4%

2008: McCain 72.6%, Obama 24.9%

Senator Dean Cameron (R), Representative Joan Stevenson (R), Representative Maxine Bell (R)

District 27 (Cassia, Oneida and Power counties)

2004: Bush 80.8%, Kerry 17.8%

2008: McCain 75.8%, Obama 21.6%

Senator Denton Darrington (R), Representative Scott Bedke (R), Representative Fred Wood (R)

District 28 (Bingham County)

2004: Bush 76.7%, Kerry 21.9%

2008: McCain 71.2%, Obama 25.8%

Senator Steven Blair (R), Representative Dennis Lake (R), Representative Jim Marriott (R)

District 29 (parts of Pocatello and Chubbuck)

2004: Bush 63.0%, Kerry 35.8%

2008: McCain 56.5%, Obama 41.0%

Senator Diane Bilyeu (D), Ken Andrus (R), Jim Guthrie (R)

District 30 (Pocatello, Idaho State University)

2004: Bush 57.3%, Kerry 41.1%

2008: McCain 48.6%, Obama 48.2%

Senator Edgar Malepai (D), Representative Roy Lacey (D), Representative Elaine Smith (D)

District 31 (Bear Lake, Franklin, Caribou Bonneville and Teton counties)

2004: Bush 80.9%, Kerry 17.8%

2008: McCain 73.9%, Obama 23.0%

Senator Robert Geddes (R), Representative Marc Gibbs (R), Representative Tom Loerstcher (R)

District 32 (Bonneville County)

2004: Bush 80.6%, Kerry 18.2%

2008: McCain 72.6%, Obama 23.4%

Senator Dean Mortimer (R), Representative Janice McGeachin (R), Representative Erik Simpson (R)

District 33 (Idaho Falls)

2004: Bush 71.2%, Kerry 27.5%

2008: McCain 61.9%, Obama 35.4%

Senator Bart Davis (R), Representative Jeff Thompson (R), Representative Linden Bateman (R)

District 34 (BYU-Idaho/Rexburg)

2004: Bush 90.7%, Kerry 8.1%

2008: McCain 84.0%, Obama 13.7%

Senator Brent Hill (R), Representative Mack Shirley (R), Representative Dell Raybould (R)

I skipped district 35. Here’s a map of the districts: http://legislature.idaho.gov/a… I’ll have an explanation diary coming up with a crash course on Idaho politics for the n00bs.  

Home Means Nevada: Redistricting Congress (Part I)

(Also at Nevada Progressive)

It is here. After hours of careful line drawing and days of poring over precinct results, the map has arrived. This is Nevada redistricted, baby!

So will the actual final map look something like this? Honestly, I don’t know for sure. Perhaps legislators on both sides of the aisle will want even safer seats and are willing to configure some gruesome looking districts to get them… Or perhaps last minute talks of redistricting collapse as a casualty in an ongoing state budget brawl, leaving the courts to ultimately draw the lines. But most likely, as is usual tradition, The Nevada Legislature will agree on some sort of last minute budget deal, and on a bipartisan redistricting gerrymander.

Still, this year is different. As population continues to swell in Clark County (Greater Las Vegas), political power is slowly-but-surely shifting southward as well. Clark is destined to pick up as many as three legislative seats from the north, as well as a brand new Congressional District. For the first time ever, three Las Vegas area politicians will likely be sent to The House of Representatives.

And for the first time ever, Nevada will likely have three open House seats! It’s looking increasingly likely that both Rep. Dean Heller (R-Carson City) and Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Las Vegas) will run for the US Senate seat currently held by John Ensign (R-Sleaze), so legislators may very well be drawing the new district map with this in mind. And more importantly, they will likely be keeping in mind that some of their own, as well as a few powerful friends outside, will want to run in each of these open seats.

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In drawing this map, I had several objectives in mind. First, I didn’t want to grossly “over-gerrymander” DeLay style, especially since law suits are already being filed here. But while I didn’t want to go overboard, I did clearly have campaign politics in mind while drawing these districts. There are two minority-majority seats, one having a Latino plurality, designed to elect Democrats, and two seats engineered to be as Republican leaning as possible.

So did I succeed? We’ll have to wait and see. Nevada Democrats may very well see unprecedented primary action in NV-01 and NV-04. And while NV-02 and NV-03 are currently held by Republicans, they will have to continue to fight an increasingly tough battle against changing Reno and Las Vegas demographics in the decade to come.

So enough of me blathering on and on… Let’s check out the new districts!

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(The Green District)

Population: 675,162

69.4% White (73.8% voting age)

The State of Play

First up, the second district. (We’re starting north, and heading south.) Dean Heller currently represents this seat. And even though he’s only done so since 2007, it seems pretty natural for him. He’s a long time Carson City person (both in residence and in Nevada political experience), and he has a conservative-but-not-too-fire-breathing persona that allows him to win comfortably a district that only barely voted for John McCain (by fewer than 100 votes!) in 2008.

However, this will likely change. Again, Heller may very well soon announce his campaign for US Senate, leaving this seat open for the first time since Jim Gibbons left this seat to run for Governor in 2006. And due to Reno area growth, NV-02 has to shed some rural territory to meet the new Census Bureau population guideline. So what happens?

Long story short, NV-02 is now a district that narrowly voted for Barack Obama and Sharron Angle. It’s a closely divided district that will provide a challenge for the typically mighty Washoe Republicans, in that they will need to settle on a candidate who can please GOP primary voters while being able to win enough moderate voters in the general election to keep this seat in GOP hands.

Who’s All In?

Again, Dean Heller looks to be out, but a final decision hasn’t yet be made, so he might still surprise us by staying put. Of course, there has also been plenty of talk of Sharron Angle running (again) for this seat. Even though she carried this district by 5.8% in her Senate run against Harry Reid last year, 2012 will be a Presidential year with higher Reno area turnout. And as we saw on the campaign trail last year, Angle couldn’t even make peace with her fellow Washoe Republicans, so she will have a much harder time holding onto this seat than someone like Heller (who narrowly beat Angle in the 2006 NV-02 GOP primary).

The Wild Cards

Funny enough, I haven’t heard much gossip (yet) over who may be angling for this seat… Other than the obvious. And even though they were just recently sworn into The State Senate (one elected, the other appointed), Reno Republicans Ben Kieckhefer and Greg Brower may be attractive to GOP leaders as they likely search for electable mainstream conservatives to stop Sharron Angle. On the Democratic side, the options aren’t quite as wide. Nevada State Treasurer Kate Marshall does live in Reno, but she hasn’t expressed interest in running for Congress… Can Sharron Angle change that?

2010 US Senate Results

49.6% Angle (R)

43.8% Reid (D)

Estimated 2008 Presidential Results

49% Obama (D)

48% McCain (R)

Estimated Cook PVI: R+4

Early Race Rating: Likely Republican if Dean Heller runs here again, but upgraded to Leans Republican if Heller runs for Senate, and upgraded further to Tossup should Sharron Angle run to replace him!


(The Purple District)

Population: 674,792

66.5% White (69.7% voting age)

The State of Play

In the “Republican Wave” year of 2010, Joe Heck barely won with less than 50% of the vote and by fewer than 2,000 votes. That worries Nevada Republicans, and that’s why GOP legislators (especially those in Clark) will likely go to the mat to make NV-03 safer for Heck.

Mr. “War Hero” Heck could barely beat supposedly reviled “Las Vegas LIB’RUL!!!” Dina Titus by fewer than 2,000 votes, and for Heck’s campaign to succeed in a likely more Democratic friendly environment in 2012, this must change. So it has… At least here on my map.

Dina’s political base is widely acknowledged to be the progressive minded, ethnically diverse, labor union heavy, and LGBT friendly confines of The East Side, also known as “Paradise Township“, which consists the older neighborhoods just east of The Las Vegas Strip. So to shore up Heck, I removed The East Side from NV-03 and placed it instead in the newly created NV-04 seat (more on that later!).

Now in addition to that, Heck also had a problem much closer to home. Even though Heck lives in Henderson, both he and Sharron Angle lost a number of Henderson precincts just down the hill from him in uber-exclusive Roma Hills, in the slightly older (meaning built in the 1980s and 90s) and increasingly Democratic friendly neighborhoods of Green Valley and Green Valley Ranch. So to further shore up Heck, I also placed these areas in NV-04 (again, more on that later, including who this also helps!).

Instead, I gave Heck only the most Republican friendly parts of NV-03, and supplemented them with mostly GOP heavy areas previously in NV-01 and NV-02. The perennially stylish and upscale Summerlin development (including “retiree heaven” Sun City Summerlin) is almost entirely reunited here, and joined by a number of previously fast growing Northwest and Southwest valley exurbs. From there, NV-03 almost exclusively picks up the most conservative neighborhoods of Henderson, including wealthy Seven Hills and Anthem (including “retirement resort community” Sun City Anthem), as well as Old Henderson. In addition, NV-03 takes in all the rural Clark County communities (such as Mesquite, Primm, and Laughlin) outside The Las Vegas Valley.

Oh, and of course, all those rural areas previously in NV-02, from Ely to Hawthorne to Pahrump, have to go somewhere. They end up here… But they could end up being a double-edged sword for Joe Heck.

Who’s All In?

From all indications, Joe Heck wants to run for reelection, and this map will surely entice him to do so again. However, he’s not completely out of the woods yet. In fact, like the situation in NV-02, he will have to balance appealing to moderate suburban voters who may very well vote for President Obama again (who STILL won this district in 2008) with keeping “tea party” GOP primary voters happy. It’s no easy task.

The Wild Cards

Should “Tea Party, Inc.” ever fall out of favor with Heck, or Heck just decides to run for yet another higher office later this decade, they have a number of local GOPers to choose from. State Senator Elizabeth Halseth (R-Las Vegas) is seen by many as a rising “tea party” superstar, and State Senator Barbara Cegavske (R-Summerlin) is a long time right-wing stalwart. They’re basically Vegas’ answer to Sharron Angle, and Cegavske has already dropped hints of a future Congressional run. And of course, it’s not like “Chicken Lady” Sue Lowden is ever really leaving the political stage any time soon.

However, they can easily be stopped cold in their tracks. Why? Look at the partisan numbers. Angle only barely won this district last year, and Obama may very well win this district again next year. Joe Heck may have a hard enough time locking down this seat, but the task becomes even more difficult should he ever leave (or be primaried out).

Even though the rural areas (save for Mineral County) may be incredibly difficult for any Democrat to win, a Democrat may once again win this district if he or she can run up the margin enough in Vegas. In the future, the incredibly smart and talented State Senator Allison Copening (D-Summerlin) may have a once-in-a-lifetime opening to go from Carson’s Capitol to Capitol Hill… Or perhaps it will be Henderson Mayor Andy Hafen, someone from a long-time “Nevada royal family” who lives in the slice of Henderson staying in NV-03… Or maybe wonky “deficit hawk”, Clark County Commissioner, and current Las Vegas Mayoral Candidate Larry Brown (D-Summerlin)?

2010 US Senate Results

Angle (R) 48.5%

Reid (D) 46.3%

Estimated 2008 Presidential Results

Obama (D) 51%

McCain (R) 47%

Estimated Cook PVI: R+2

Early Race Rating: Leans Republican

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(The Blue District)

Population: 675,212

44.4% Latino (38.7% voting age)

31.7% White (37.3% voting age)

14.7% African American (14.7% voting age)

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The State of Play

“Your Favorite Congresswoman”, Shelley Berkley, may soon be looking to move to greener pastures. And who can blame her? She’s back in the minority in The House. She doesn’t have the best relationship with Nancy Pelosi. In many ways, she’s boxed in… Unless she stomps outside that box in her signature bedazzled pumps and forges new ground with a Senate run.

So that may very well happen, and if it does we have yet another open seat battle here in Nevada! But unlike NV-02, all the drama will be in the Democratic primary.

Assuming Shelley runs for Senate, her Summerlin area stomping grounds are moved aside to NV-03 and NV-04, so NV-01 can become more of a minority-majority district and help the state’s Congressional Delegation better reflect the diversity of our fine state.

So instead, some heavily Latino Northeast precincts previously in NV-03 are moved here, even as other heavily Latino East Side precincts are shifted from NV-01 to the new NV-04 seat. Now, Latino and African American heavy North Las Vegas becomes the centerpiece of the district, complemented by the Democratic dominant inner city neighborhoods of Las Vegas.

See the recurring theme here? Notice how this affects the 2012 field below.

Who’s All In?

State Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford (D-North Las Vegas) had been seen as a rising star for years, but now he’s made it to the top. He’s among the most powerful pols in Carson City today, as well as the highest ranked African American in state government alongside Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael Douglas. His career has been illustrious, but it hasn’t always been easy.

He’s now locked in a tough budget battle with Governor Brian Sandoval (R) and GOP legislators, and he is one of the very people overseeing this entire redistricting process. If he truly wants to run for Congress, he has to make miracles happen in Carson City this year, otherwise…

The Wild Cards

“Conventional Wisdom” here in Vegas may again be turned on its head. After all, this is now a Latino plurality seat. State Senator Ruben Kihuen (D-North Las Vegas) knows this first hand as one of the youngest Senators, as someone raised in an immigrant Mexican American family who climbed his way all the way up here, and as someone who’s succeeded despite earning the ire of the once omnipotent Culinary 226. While Kihuen himself hasn’t expressed interest in running, especially after just being elected as State Senator, his name has been floated around.

State Senator John Lee (D-North Las Vegas) actually has signaled interest in running, but he’s probably too moderate to win the Democratic primary in this district.

And sorry, Republicans, but there are virtually no GOP candidates who even want to try here.

2010 US Senate Results

62.9% Reid (D)

32.3% Angle (R)

Estimated 2008 Presidential Results

67% Obama (D)

31% McCain (R)

Estimated Cook PVI: D+14

Early Race Rating: Safe Democratic


(The Red District)

Population: 675,294

49.0% White (53.4% voting age)

27.0% Latino (23.2% voting age)

11.5% Asian American (12.0% voting age)

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The State of Play

This is the story of “The Comeback Kid”. After being beat up and beat down, it’s time to rise again and shine in the glorious Mojave Desert Sun. But wait, whose comeback are we talking about?

Can it be Dina Titus‘? After all, she’s no stranger to comebacks. After her surprisingly-but-still-painfully close loss to Jim Gibbons in the 2006 Gubernatorial Election, she was written off for (politically) “dead”. But when Democrats wanted to contest NV-03 in 2008 (and Harry Reid’s political team wanted to do away with Jon Porter as a possible 2010 candidate against him) and their originally preferred candidate turned out to be a dud, they had nowhere else to go. Dina obliged, and she then found her redemption… Only to lose it again last year, and by less than 2,000 votes! But is Dina’s story really over?

Or can Rory Reid‘s find a new beginning? He was heralded for ending a painful period of local political corruption culminating in the saucy, racy “G Sting” FBI probe that took down a voting majority of Clark County Commissioners for taking bribes from stripper clubs out to put rival clubs out of business. He was commended for thinking ahead and pushing Clark County to take seriously matters of sustainable growth. He was seen as a real contender, then the 2010 Gubernatorial race happened and he was lost in translation as the Reno powers that be championed Brian Sandoval as their “anointed one”. It was so strange to see Rory’s political career cut short so abruptly last year, but can it be regrown?

UPDATE: Apparently the answer to my earlier question is a resounding Hell to the No! Sorry, but Rory did this to himself… Even if he broke no laws. Score one for Teams Titus and Buckley in Round 1.

Or can Barbara Buckley‘s be reborn? After all, she was seen as the most powerful Assembly Speaker seen in ages. She was the once dismissed “bleeding heart liberal” who then rocked the political establishment with legislative accomplishments on everything from patients’ rights to child welfare to home foreclosure mediation and prevention. And at one point, she looked to be quite the formidable candidate for Governor… Until she stepped aside for Rory Reid… But will she be so willing to step aside again?

Funny enough, all three of these big name Clark Democrats live in this newly created Congressional District. It starts in the more Democratic friendly Summerlin area neighborhoods, then leaps down to Buckley’s home base of Spring Valley, then crosses The 15 and Las Vegas Boulevard to jump into Dina’s East Side turf, then turns south to take in Rory’s ‘hood in the Green Valley part of Henderson. Either there will be some heated back room negotiations among party leaders on who gets this seat, or there will be a primary so exciting it may even eclipse the drama of the 2006 Democratic Gubernatorial Primary that Dina wasn’t “supposed to win”.

The Wild Cards

But wait, the list of candidates isn’t even over yet! There’s another potential suitor possibly waiting in the wings. After Barbara Buckley was termed out of The Assembly last year, John Oceguera became the new Speaker. However, this gig won’t last long. He will be termed out himself next year. And even though he himself hasn’t suggested it, his name has also been rumored for a run here. If he wins, he will be Nevada’s first Native American member of Congress. His challenge will probably be succeeding in this legislative session (a shared goal with Horsford) and not letting the recent drama over Las Vegas/Clark County firefighter pay take him down (even though he’s actually a North Las Vegas firefighter, and they’ve had no labor trouble there).

On the Republican side, however, it’s slim pickings. Perhaps Assembly Member Mark Sherwood (R-Henderson) or State Senator Michael Roberson (R-Henderson) can try, but both are far too conservative to even get close. After all, both only barely defeated their Democratic opponents last year.

2010 US Senate Results

55.9% Reid (D)

39.3% Angle (R)

Estimated 2008 Presidential Results

60% Obama (D)

37% McCain (R)

Estimated Cook PVI: D+7

Early Race Rating: Likely Democratic for now… And probably eventually becoming Safe Democratic barring any major scandal or unusually strong GOP candidate.

So this is my first Nevada map, a map I had with state legislators and certain big name pols in mind. In the future, I may draw more maps under different scenarios, such as Dean Heller and Shelley Berkley staying put in The House, or what might happen should The Legislature come crashing down over the state budget, forcing the courts to draw the final lines.

Let me know what you think and/or if you have your own maps to share. 🙂

Optimistic Take On Minnesota’s Political Future

Shocking as it may be to see an expression of optimism from me, I’m gonna do exactly that regarding Minnesota’s political future for Democrats.  Particularly now, less than a week after the DFL supermajorities were transformed into Republican majorities in the state legislature, this may seem counterintuitive, but having crunched the numbers over the past five days, I feel as though the condition of the state’s politics is less troublesome that it may look from an outsider’s perspective.

Bad news first.  The DFL got vaporized in the legislative races.  This is effectively the fourth wave election out of five with the current legislative district lines and to an extent, should have been predicted.  Back in 2002, after months of feuding over redistricting between the DFL Senate, the Republican House, and the Independence Party Governor, the stalemate was broken when the process was handed over to a nonpartisan panel of judges.  They drew up a genuinely competitive map that proved to be very volatile to the political mood of the time.  In 2002, shortly after the Wellstone memorial debacle, the GOP scored a supermajority in the House and came within two seats of taking over the Senate.  In 2004, in a generally neutral political climate, Democrats shocked everybody and gained 13 seats, one short of a majority.  In 2006, a Democratic tsunami hit Minnesota and they ended up with massive and unsustainable gains deep into red territory.  With just the House up in 2008 and the wind still at the their back, Democrats gained a few more seats.  

We were overdue for a correction in 2010, but it was largely than even I suspected.  Looking at the breakdown of legislative races, however, it really shouldn’t have been that big of a surprise.  With the current district lines, the vast majority of terrain in rural and suburban Minnesota consists of districts that fall somewhere between the range of 52-48% DFL advantage and 52-48% GOP advantage.  Just the slightest of breezes is enough to trigger dramatic change, and this year’s Republican tide was far more than just a slight breeze.  As a result, there were few surprises among the legislators that were felled, and as usually happens in wave elections, just about all the close races went to the party on the winning side of the wave.  

The unfortunate and obvious downside is that the Republicans will now commandeer redistricting.  Dayton, likely the next Governor, will veto anything too overreaching, provided Pawlenty doesn’t follow through with his “martial law” gambit while the Republicans delay a recount.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the end result is another nonpartisan judge-drawn redistricting plan, most likely resulting in another 10 years of dramatic swings from left to right and back in Minnesota’s local politics.  Sadly, however, we blew our chance to get rid of Michele Bachmann as the new legislature will never agree to a map that doesn’t keep her safe in her exurban cocoon.

So what gives me cause for optimism?  There were four statewide races in Minnesota this year and the Democrats won all of them, even with a weak-performing Mark Dayton at the top of the ticket.  Three of the four races were close, and frankly I’m surprised the DFL held onto both the Secretary of State’s office and especially the Auditor, but they stayed in the Democratic fold because population centers Hennepin and Ramsey Counties continue to harden for Democrats.  I’ve always considered second-ring Hennepin County suburbs Bloomington and Minnetonka to be Minnesota’s bellwethers.  If the DFL candidate wins them, they win the state.  All four statewide DFL candidates were victorious there in a year where conventional wisdom was they’d lean Republican.  When Democrats are winning Hennepin County by more than 15 points and Ramsey County by more than 25 points, as occurred this year in every statewide race, it’s a herculean lift for Republicans to make up that much elsewhere.

Aside from Hennepin and Ramsey Counties, two other places stand out as cause for Democratic optimism.  The first is suburban Dakota County in the southeastern metro area and the third most populous county in Minnesota.  It’s historically been a swing county, became more Republican than the statewide average last decade, but now seems to be slowly moving back to the center.  Republicans did win here in 2010, but by nowhere near the size of the margins they did back in 2002.  In the close Mondale vs. Coleman Senate race, Coleman won Dakota County by 16 points.  In a similar close race this year, Emmer was only able to win Dakota County by 9 points, which is comparable to what both Pawlenty scored in his 2006 re-election and what Coleman beat Franken by in the 2008 Senate race.  Largely due to the rising ethnic diversity in Dakota County, it now seems as if the Republican ceiling in the county is a nine-point victory, and in the other three statewide races, the Democrat won there in the Attorney General’s race, and the Republicans were victorious in the other two with four-point margins.  It’s almost impossible to win statewide in Minnesota as a Republican if you’re only winning Dakota County by four points.

Next on my list of causes for optimism is Rochester, now Minnesota’s third largest city.  It’s a city that is historically the Republican stronghold of the state but in the past 10 years, demographics have been pushing it to the left.  It’s population is exploding with young educated professionals as well as ethnic minorities, and is now pretty close to being a 50-50 town.  Now old-school GOP moderates can still do very well here, even among the newcomers, but as the Republican Party continues its deranged march to either social conservatism or economic Know-Nothingism, Rochester won’t be around for the ride, at least not with the numbers it has been historically.  Tim Pawlenty represented this decade’s high-water mark for Republicans in Olmsted County, winning the county by 17 points in 2006.  Emmer won it by 10 points.  That’s nothing to sneeze at, but in a Republican year, I would have expected Emmer to overperform Pawlenty’s numbers in a Democratic year.  Furthermore, I haven’t yet crunched the numbers exclusive to the city of Rochester, which is typically several points less Republican than Olmsted County at large.  Based on the numbers I’ve seen in Greater Olmsted County, I’m betting the city of Rochester itself was no better than a five-point win for Emmer.  And like Dakota County in the last paragraph, if a Republican is winning Rochester by only five points, an inside straight is required to come up with the votes in the rest of the state necessary to win a statewide election.

Exurbia continues to be a big problem for Democrats in Minnesota, but less of a problem than I anticipated it to be in 2002 and 2004 when it looked as though the growth in exurban Minnesota would be endless and the raw numbers of new Republicans would ultimately swamp Democrats.  Since 2004, however, the housing bubble has burst and the blistering growth rates in these Twin Cities collar counties have slowed.  And with the slowed population growth has come a stalled Republican insurgency.  Emmer is the perfect exurban candidate if there ever was one.  He’s from the heart of Michele Bachmann country out in Wright County and espouses the “we got ours…to tell with the rest of the state” ethos articulately.  Yet he didn’t overperform Pawlenty in these areas, at least not by much.  And the Republican margins in the other three statewide offices were on par with traditional voting patterns even in a strong Republican year.  Unless these counties become even more Republican and restore their growth rates from the early part of the decade, the GOP’s ability to win statewide races will be diminished.

Outstate Minnesota was pretty much split again this year, although leaning towards Republicans perhaps a little more than usual.  The 2000 election was the ugliest showing outstate Minnesota gave Democrats in my lifetime, with Bush burying Gore in counties where Democrats frequently win by double-digit margins.  Nowhere did we see Democratic candidates perform that poorly in 2010, and if Democrats are performing generally on par with recent trendlines this year, it bodes well that rural Minnesota is not gonna undergo the same rightward transformation that rural Missouri did anytime soon.

I can’t finish the diary with commenting on the state of affairs in northeastern Minnesota, one place where I maintain some pessimism.  As I feared, a perfect storm finished off Jim Oberstar.  His district has been slowly trending Republican for a generation now but has still been virtually impossible for a Republican to win even in the most perfect situation up until now.  With that said, Oberstar underperformed all four statewide DFL candidates in the 8th district, all of whom won the district.  In Dayton’s case, his victory is the direct result of overperformance in northeastern Minnesota.  With MN-08’s growth zones becoming more Republican by the day and it’s Democratic strongholds losing population, it’s not a good sign for the Democrats’ prospects in snuffing out Oberstar’s successor Chip Cravaack.  The great white hope is legislator Tony Sertich, but he’s a native Iron Ranger who will run with the baggage of the Minnesota Legislature and is a native Iron Ranger which isn’t gonna be an asset in the south side of the district.  State Senator Tony Lourey from further south in the district might be a better bet, at  least demographically.  Either way, it’s an almost certainty that the district will inherit even more Republican areas after redistricting, so it could well take a Democratic wave to install another Democrat in the Congressional seat, and his or her hold on the seat will most likely be far tenuous than was Oberstar’s.  

Generally speaking, the Democratic Party looks poised to have the upper hand in Minnesota, although by far narrower margins than in its 1970s and 1980s heyday.  But interestingly, as the state becomes less lopsided in its Democratic advantage, it’s strangely harder for a Republican to win a statewide election than it was back in the days when Dave Durenberger and Rudy Boschwitz were winning handily.  In the very long-term, if my predictions of a political realignment almost exclusively on generational and ethnic lines comes to pass, then all bets are off and majority white Minnesota could very well turn crimson red.  For the foreseeable future, however, I like my odds running as a Democrat in Minnesota much more than I would running as a Republican.

Complete Kansas State Legislative Race Ratings 2010, Districts 80-125 + Projections & Top PACs

Today marks the conclusion of a 3-part series examining the state of the Kansas state House of Representatives. In previous diaries, I ran through KS House seats 1-40 (start there if you’re just joining us) as well as KS House seats 41-80. In this edition, I’ll examine seats 81-125, which include most of the seats in rural Western Kansas, as well as some in the Wichita area.


Current composition: 76 Republicans, 49 Democrats (or about 61%-39%)


KS-HR-# <—this is the district’s number

43.5R/27D/28.6U   <—this is the voter affiliation breakdown, R is Republican, D is for Democrat, and U is unaffiliated voters. Statewide, as of June 2010, the state’s registration numbers were 43.5% Republican, 27.2% Democrat, and 28.6% Unaffiliated.  Also, unless the tenth of a percent is a 4, 5 or 6, I rounded to the nearest full percentage point.

District Map    <—-this is the official map from this district from: KSLegislature.org the official state gov’t site.


Candidate Guide + District PVIs from Capitol Strategies LLC [pdf]

Guide to every KS House seat’s past voting from OurCampaigns.com

Candidate Fundraising from Ethics.ks.gov


KS-HR-81: 47R/22D/30.6U : District Map : (R) Peter DeGraaf was appointed to the seat in early 2008, and won it outright in 2008 after a competitive primary with 55% in the general election. So it’s a seat that can be competitive. Unfortunately, the best Dems could come up with this cycle was 21-year-old Wichita State student Zach Ketteman. Still, Ketteman is at least giving it a go, campaigning hard and scoring several endorsements, and getting fined by the state Ethics Commission for forgetting to include “Paid For By…” on campaign materials (along with several others, btw). Whoops. Well, at least we know he’s sending out campaign materials. Rating: Likely Republican

KS-HR-82: 48.6R/21.4D/29.4U  : District Map : (R) Open (retirement of Don Myers) – KS Dem Party Exec. Board member & Dem national committeeman Lee Kinch, an attorney, is running, which is about as solid a recruit as you could land in this suburban Wichita district centered on Derby. Though it is a fairly Republican district, the Republican primary winner faced a three-way primary. Unfortunately for Democrats, the best-funded, most active and most-endorsed Republican candidate, Jim Howell, won. If Howell can retain most of the Republican base, he’ll win. Still, with Goyle leading local Dems, don’t count Kinch out completely. Kinch’s bio. Rating: Lean Republican

KS-HR-83: 53R/25.5D/21U : District Map :  (R) In office since 1985, Jo Ann Pottorff was the only Wichita Republican to vote for the state’s temporary sales tax increase, which garnered her her first primary challenge in recent memory. She barely defeated college grad Kyle Amos 53-47, which could mean trouble: there’s a Libertarian on the ballot, which could draw conservative votes from Pottorff.  Her general election opponent is Sean Amore, a 34-year-old with a wife and young daughter, who is a Green Biz Wichita Executive Committee member, part of the United Way’s Young Leaders Association, and one of the “40 Under 40” according to the Wichita Business Journal.  Still, the moderate Pottorff hasn’t won a general election with less than two-thirds of the vote in this heavily Republican district many, many cycles, so Amore faces a tough task. Rating: Likely Republican

KS-HR-87: 38.2R/31.5D/29.8U : District Map (D) Open (Raj Goyle) – Boeing Military Aviation Supervisor Om Chauhan, the Democrat, faces off against “self-proclaimed Todd Tiahrt conservative” Joseph Scapa in this rapidly blueing district. And fortunately for Chauhan, the locals are already used to a state Rep. with a kinda-funny furriner name thanks to Goyle. Chauhan’s actively campaigning and has a fairly snazzy website.  Rating: Lean Democrat

Nice lady-mullet, Brenda. Flowbie or John Deere?Flowbie or John Deere?

KS-HR-91: 42R/31D/26.4U : District Map : (R) Brenda Landwehr – Health Committee Chair Landwehr has held this gradually-blueing seat since 1994, but she’ll face a stiff challenge from West Point grad Dan Manning, who has a fairly nice-looking website (http://manningforkansas.com/) and appears to be campaigning pretty hard. The seat leans Republican only slightly, and the hard-right Landwehr had somewhat close calls in 2002 (54.5%) and 2006 (52.9%) though she nabbed 61.6% in 2008 and 64% in 2004. In other words, non-presidential-year elections are her toughies, and with a solid opponent, this might be the off-year she finally goes down. Rating: Lean Republican Dan Manning, KS State House CandidateUPDATE: I missed a little factoid in Manning’s bio: he’s trying to become the state’s first openly-gay legislator. Sweetheart that she is, this led Landwehr to stir up homophobia among local Republicans, which got Manning a death threat taped to the door of his home. That’s pretty unprecedented in KS politics, especially for just one of 125 seats in the lower house of the legislature. It will also make a lot of local moderates think twice about voting for Landwehr, and if Manning can use his newfound notoriety to attract donations and run a strong campaign, he stands a darn good shot at winning. Ahem, looking at you, JoeMyGod. Come on Joe, he’s basically a ready-made bear icon and if you ask your readers for donations, you should know their money can go really far in Kansas. Full disclosure: I’ve now contributed $75 and counting to Manning’s campaign, the only KS candidate I’ve given to this cycle (well, him and Sean Tevis). Won’t you join me? Otherwise, I’m unaffiliated with his campaign…or any of these campaigns.

KS-HR-96: 34.5R/31D/33.7U : District Map : (R) Phil Hermanson – Democrat Brandon Whipple has raised about $20k, enough for a state rep. race, certainly. His opponent, Republican Phil Hermanson, is a first-termer who got 50.2% of the vote to defeat freshman Democrat Terry McLachlan, who’d won his seat with just 50.3% of the vote in 2006. Thankfully for Dems, Hermanson is a notoriously lazy campaigner, while Whipple’s a young, go-getting teacher and a Wichita State grad, his website is appropriately good (www.whippleforkansas.com)  and he definitely seems to be campaigning hard. The picture of him & Sebelius on his website doesn’t hurt, either. Rating: Tossup

Dale Swenson, Best Mustache in the KS HouseKS-HR-97: 33.5R/32D/34U :  District Map  : (R–>D) Dale Swenson – First elected in 1994, Dale Swenson made some headlines when he switched parties shortly after being re-elected as a Republican in 2008. Though his district has become quite blue, the moderate Swenson won handily in his previous races (61.4% in ’08 and 64.5% in ’06) so it’s not terribly clear to me why he switched…unless he wants to run for the state Senate (which he did, in a Republican special election in 2003, but lost) as a Democrat. If he runs for the Senate, he might be up against Dick Kelsey (who may retire, he dropped out of the KS-04 race this year, despite being the favorite) in Senate District 26. But first, Swenson has to win in 2010 as a Democrat. In the general election, he’ll face retired consultant and “perennial candidate”/Some Dude Leslie Osterman, who, interestingly, actually ran for the seat in 2000–against Swenson–as a Democrat…and lost badly (66-34). Frankly, based on this Wichita Independent Business Association survey, Osterman doesn’t seem too bright. Rating: Likely Democrat

KS-HR-101: 46R/24.4D/29U : District Map : (R) Joe Seiwert – Freshman Seiwert knocked off incumbent Democrat Mark Treaster 51-49 in 2008, while Treaster had defeated the previous Republican incumbent in ’04 with a similar percentage. Seiwert’s 2010 opponent, Democrat Curtis “Curt” Miller, is the mayor of Pretty Prairie. Unfortunately, Pretty Prairie, a suburb/exurb of Hutchinson, has well under 1000 people. Still, that’s a good profile for this exurban-Hutchinson Reno County district. Libertarian Thad Bartley is also running, which could draw votes from Seiwert.  Rating: Tossup

KS-HR-105: 48R/23D/28.5U : District Map : (R/Open) Gene Suellentrop – The owner of a Gambino’s Pizza is up against dietician Jane Byrnes, who did respectably well in 2006 (not 2008, as it says on the Capitol Strategies pdf), winning 40% of the vote against previous incumbent Jason Watkins, who left the seat in 2009, leading to Suellentrop’s appointment. Still, Suellentrop’s never faced voters and the suburban/exurban parts of Wichita (like this district) can be swingy. Byrnes, a Catholic grandmother of six, also scores well for civic involvement, having launched the Westlink Neighborhood Association and served on various local committees. Plus, she has the best-named website of any candidate: http://campaignjane.com/   Rating: Lean Republican

KS-HR-108:  51.6R/21.5D/26U : District Map : (D/Open) Don Svaty – Don was appointed to this seat by local Democrats after his son, Josh Svaty, resigned midway through his fourth term to become KS Secretary of Agriculture (a pretty important post in KS, as you might imagine). Don, like his son, has hewed to a pretty Blue Dog-ish line, taking very pro-life and pro-gun lines. Josh held the seat extremely well, defeating an incumbent in 2002 with 66%, getting 60% in 2004, unchallenged in ’06, and taking 63.2% in 2008. Can his Pops do the same? Uh…maybe. He’s up against a very strong candidate in Steven Johnson, a local boy who was Saline South High valedictorian (1984), Student Body President at Kansas State (1988), got an MBA from the Univ. of Chicago, and served on the investment committee of K-State & the 4-H and farms locally in addition to serving as a Sr. VP for a distribution company. Rating: Tossup

Christina Stein, Gun-Totin' DemocratKS-HR-112: 53.6R/20.4D/25.6U : District Map : (R) William Wolf is running for his third term, after winning his first and second with 50.3% and 53% of the vote, respectively. He faces a competitive opponent in the form of the comely young Christina Stein, a social worker, substitute teacher, and contributor to the Kansas Free Press. While she’s from Michigan, she points out that she’s from a much smaller town than the one she wants to represent (Great Bend is the main city in the district). Even better, there’s a picture of her as a teenager with a dead deer she shot on her FAQ page.   Her slogan: Christina Stein, Gun-Totin’ Democrat. Hot.  Rating: Lean Republican

KS-HR-116: 58R/20.5D/21U : District Map  : (D) Patrick “Pat” Maloney – Maloney was appointed to succeed Dennis McKinney upon his becoming state treasurer and has yet to face voters. The only credible comparison for this district is McKinney’s 2002 victory, wherein he beat Republican M.T. Liggett 76-24. Other than that, McKinney went uncontested in ’04, ’06 and ’08. Patrick Maloney is not so lucky–he’ll face Kyle Hoffman, a farmer and owner of Central Fuel & Service in Coldwater, KS. Hoffman is also the elected chair and 13-year member of the Comanche County Conservation District. McKinney, btw, will be on the ballot in 2010–running for a full term as State Treasurer, which could help Maloney, especially as they have separate bases–McKinney in Greensburg (Kiowa Co.) and Maloney in Kingman (Kingman Co.) while Hoffman, presumably, would do well in Comanche, with Barber in the middle as the swinger. Rating: Tossup  

KS-HR-119: 40R/26D/33U : District Map : (R) Pat George – There’s a slight chance that challenger Rebecca Escalante will improve enough upon her previous performance that it won’t be an embarrassing 76-24 loss. This district has turned rapidly red–Democrat Ethel Peterson won it in 2002 with 55%, though George defeated her replacement by a whopping 68-32. I mostly just like Escalante’s name, though local voters (turned xenophobic by an influx of Latinos) probably don’t. Rating: Safe Republican

KS-HR-120: 66R/16D/17U :  District Map : (R/Open) It would be insane if Democrat Robert Strevey actually won, after having run every year since 2002 against Republican John Faber (who was first elected in 1996). Of course, this year, retired principal Strevey won’t be facing Faber, he’ll face newcomer Ward Cassidy, a retired teacher from St. Francis who won the primary 56-44. If Strevey wins, he is the new Walt Minnick. However, against a relative unknown like Cassidy, Strevey could have a chance, since folks will obviously recognize his name on the ballot more than Cassidy’s. Rating: Likely Republican


Uncontested Democrats: 05, 08, 32, 33, 34, 37, 44, 46, 58, 63, 78, 89, 102, 103, 111 (total: 15)

Safe Dem:  01, 02, 03, 31, 35, 36, 53, 55, 56, 57, 66, 84, 86, 88, 92, 95, 98 (total: 17)

Likely Dem:  23, 24, 40, 62, 80, 97 (total: 6)

Lean Dem: 04, 10, 18, 22, 41, 65, 67, 87 (total: 8)

Projected (meaning Lean D and above) Democrat: 46

Tossups: 16, 17, 19, 39, 45, 69, 72, 96, 101, 108, 116 (total: 11)

Uncontested Republicans: 06, 07, 11, 26, 27, 30, 48, 50, 61, 73, 77, 79, 85, 90, 93, 99, 100, 106, 107, 113, 114, 115, 117, 123, 125  (total: 25)

Intraparty only, Republicans: 09, 13, 51, 64, 68, 70, 94, 109, 110, 118, 121, 122, 124 (total: 13)

Safe Republican:  12, 21, 74, 76, 104, 119 (total: 6)

Likely Rep: 15, 28, 29, 42, 47, 52, 59, 60, 71, 81, 83, 120  (total: 12)

Lean Rep: 14, 20, 25, 38, 43, 49, 54. 75, 82, 91, 105, 112  (total: 12)

Projected Republican: 68

Arealmlc’s final prediction: Downballot Democrats will perform surprisingly well since it’s an off-year, taking a lot of the Tossups and a few Lean Republican seats [looking at you, Landwehr]. With only a handful of potential losses (I’d peg Svaty, Palmer & Hawk as most likely D losses, if there are any).  Combine that with a plethora of offensive opportunities, and Democrats are poised to make modest, but significant gains.

2009-2010 Legislature: 76 Republicans, 49 Democrats (61%-39%)

2011-2012 Legislature: 69 Republicans, 56 Democrats (55%-45%) (arealmlc’s official projection)

Even more importantly, nearly all of the potential pickups will come against conservative Republicans, not moderates.


Best Names:  Shirley Palmer (5th), Keith Mace (49th), Om Chauhan (87th)

Most Kansas-y Named Race:  John Grange (R) Vs. Glenda Reynolds (D) (75th)

Best Mustache: Dale Swenson (97th)

Hottest Female Candidates: Christina Stein (112th) & Shana Althouse (25th)

Hottest Male Candidates: Gerrett Morris (69th)  & Jim Faris (47th)

KS Political Hotties Stein, Morris, Faris & Althouse:

Christina Stein, Gun-Totin' DemocratGerrett Morris, the new Deena Horst?Jim Faris, Oskaloosa City CouncilmanShana Althouse, KS-25

Best Websites: Nancy Bauder (41st – www.nancybauder.com), Brandon Whipple (96th – www.whippleforkansas.com) & Shana Althouse (25th – www.shanaalthouse.com)

If I could pick one candidate to automatically lose: [tie] homophobia-spreader Brenda Landwehr (91st) & Connie O’Brien (42nd) the worst state legislator in Kansas.

If I could pick one candidate to automatically win: [tie] Dan Manning (91st) & Christina Stein (112th)


For a complete list of PACs and their relative power in the state, Kansas Watchdog is a good website with a great resource for Kansas PACs ranked by their relative strength.

Kansas Chamber of Commerce – The Kansas Chamber’s gone teabagger. Not only are their endorsements all Republicans (I think, though 1 or 2 Dems may have slipped in there) but they often waded into primaries to boost conservatives over moderates. Their PAC is ranked as 7th most powerful in the state, but this cycle they had few primary victories to show for it–of the 9 Republican sales-tax-increasing incumbents facing KS Chamber-supported opponents, only one lost: Jill Quigley. The other 8, including Spalding, Pottorff, Roth, and Hill, survived an onslaught of mailers from the KS Chamber and from Americans for Prosperity, the Koch Industries-funded group with radical libertarian leanings. Meanwhile, three Republicans sometimes perceived as moderate (including Salina’s Deena Horst and former Speaker Melvin Neufeld) , but who voted against the tax, lost their primaries. Kansas Chamber endorsements.

Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce + Life Sciences Fund of Greater KC Chamber – The Greater KC Chamber is much more centrist than its KS-only counterpart. If you support stem cell research, you’ll probably get the endorsement of (and money from) at least the Life Sciences Fund, though both organizations are seemingly big fans of smart science education (ie–anti-creationist). Both are among the state’s 20 most powerful PACs (Life Sciences ranked 6th, Greater KC Chamber 18th). Naturally, being pro-business is the main criteria.

Kansans For Life PAC – The biggest and most powerful anti-abortion group in the state is going to be weak this cycle, quite frankly. They’ve got just 5k in the bank as of July 2010, and rank only 19th among state PACs. If you’re adamantly against abortion, you’ll likely gain the support of this group, which, as you might expect, is much stronger in Republican primary battles than general election ones. They have a few local branches which can have some effect on local races: their Greater Kansas City branch ranks 47th statewide. Kansas for Life PAC site. Get their Primary Endorsements on the Topeka Examiner.

KS-NOW – The most direct opposition to Kansans for Life is probably the local chapter of National Organization for Women: if you’re pro-choice, you can probably score their endorsement. For 2010, they endorsed 45 Democrats and 11 Republicans in contested seats. They probably would’ve endorsed more, but apparently, you actually have to want their endorsement to get it. In some swing seats, it’s a positive, in others it’s a negative. Kansas Free Press lists their endorsements.

Mainstream Coalition (MAINstream PAC) – This is an interesting, very Kansas-y organization. The Mainstream Coalition emerged in the mid-1990s, growing out of a frustration of (mostly) Johnson County moderate Republicans pissed that the moderate Republican representatives kept getting primaried–and losing–and then dealing wacky right-wingers in government embarrassing everyone. While active in primaries, they also get involved in general elections to knock out conservatives with Democrats if they can’t win the primary: Dennis Moore was one of their early endorsees and remained in their good graces throughout his career. Their endorsees are considered social moderates if nothing else (meaning: pro-choice, anti-creationist, pro-gay-ish, pro-sex ed, pro-stem cell research) and notably include both Republicans and Democrats. They now have a PAC that gives directly to candidates (ranked 51st of 175 statewide), but their imprimateur carries significant weight among Johnson County moderates and their stated focus on downballot races makes them especially effective when they endorse state rep candidates. Mainstream Coalition Endorsements  

Kansas NEA – The big daddy of pro-education groups in the state, the NEA gives big to Democrats and Republicans, favoring those who are big on education funding. Usually, their endorsement comes with cash as their PAC is among the state’s best-funded. The Kansas Watchdog ranks it as the most powerful PAC in the state. Some related organizations are the KASB (KS Assoc. of School Boards) & USA (United School Administrators) which also have a PAC. KNEA endorsements.

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Alabama Legislature

      The Alabama legislature has been known to be one of the conservative legislatures in the nation. The democrats have maintained control of both chambers continuously for over a century. That said while these democrats tend to be pretty conservative they still tend to be more populist and left leaning on certain economic issues compared to their Republican counterparts. For a state that has only voted for one democratic president(Carter) in the last 50 years, it is amazing to see the local level under so much democratic control

   It looks like it will be real battle to hold both of these chambers this year. For the longest time I thought it was a miracle that this legislature has remained in democratic hands for so long. That was until I noticed  that 60% of the democrats were first  elected over 15 years ago some as much 30 years ago in the senate. The house is slightly better with only 40% of the dems first elected over 15 years ago.

    The senate right now is barely on the Dem turf. A couple years ago back in 2007, when there were more dems in the chamber, there was a coalition of Republicans and disaffected Democrats to elect leadership that would be more favorable to Republican Gov. Riley. The coalition was barely defeated 18-17! But it showed that democrats could still muster an offensive against the republicans even in a state like Alabama. This was a decisive win for the interesting power play that had been going on in the state. The lieutenant governor serves as the president of the senate. When a republican was elected to this position the Democrats in the senate moved to transfer most of that power to their Senate president Pro-temp(who was elected by their caucus).

    In the following 2008 elections (plus the special elections) Republicans continued to eat away at the Dem majority in the senate. But Jim Folsom Jr., a democrat, was elected to the position of lieutenant governor. The democrats in the senate then tried to restore much of the power back to the Lieutenant Governor (I don’t know if they were successful).The move made sense as I’m sure there enough republicans and disaffected Democrats to elect a leadership more favorable to Governor Riley this time around.

Democrats chances of holding  the senate look bleak when you look at the numbers. Dems control the chamber 20-15.  A mere 3 seats are all it takes to switch control.  That’s not to say that the Dems can’t pick up seats.  Parker Griffith for example won seat by defeating an incumbent Republican 66-34 which was an impressive result in the south( Where Dems tend to bleed more seats than win them; on top of the fact that the few seats we win, tend to be open/or have an incumbent immersed in a scandal). Griffith then resigned t o run for congress and his senate seat reverted back to republican just as his affiliation would later in the house). There seems to be a theme of a popular conservative Dems  winning against republicans only to make the switch later down the road. The same thing happened with Dick Shelby( who was the last democrat to defeat a sitting republican senator). It will really come down to which incumbent democrats chose retire and the year they were first elected. The more recent they incumbent was first elected (such as mid 2000’s) the better the chance we can hold these seats.

   The state house looks slightly more favorable to hold. Looking at the numbers the Dems control the chamber with a 60-45 advantage. It takes 8 seat pick-up for the Republicans to win control of this chamber.  There are quite a few open seats for Democrats to defend including the current Speaker who was elected in the late 1970s.  The Tennessee state house also had similar margin of control prior to the 2008 election. So nothing can be taken for granted. This chamber is as most pundits have said tossup at best.

    Now why do I feel this chamber is important to control? Well mainly because the Alabama dems in the legislatures are the only thing standing between governor Riley/the republican party from having the trifecta in this state. These races along with the open governor’s race are what control the redistricting map for the next 10 years. If Bobby Bright does survive his tough race this year his next race will ultimately depend which party is in power in this state.

It ‘s only a matter of time when the republicans take over both chambers as many of the Dem legislators who were first elected in the 1970s finally retire (much like the NY Senate in reverse). A lot on who controls the chambers will depend on how well Ron sparks does in his governor’s race.  His coattails could be the difference between Republican controlled of the legislature and one controlled by the Democrats. Tensions have also been high in this chamber as just a couple years ago there was a little fist fight in the senate.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…

This is my first real diary. Feel free to comment and let me know  if there are any discrepancies

Redistricting Maryland Legislature

Using Dave’s Application, I have drawn a redistricting plan for the Maryland legislature.  The legislature is overwhelmingly Democratic (33 out of 47 Senators and 104 out of 141 Delegates), but because of population shifts since the last census, several Democratic seats may be at risk in the next round of redistricting.  

Under the plan drawn in this diary, all Democratic seats are preserved and/or strengthened.  Different things can happen in elections, but, in the most likely scenario, the new lines will add 3 or 4 Democratic Senators (Districts 9, 31, 37, and perhaps District 3 – if Alex Mooney survives the 2010 election) and between 11 and 14 Democratic Delegates (discussed later in the diary).   (Yes, at that point the Democratic presence in the Maryland Legislature would approach that found today in the Massachusetts Legislature ! … well, maybe not quite that high, but in reality within 10 points of Massachusetts.)  The new plan is also likely to add several African-American representatives, and possibly a new Hispanic member.

The new districts are also very compact and correspond to county lines and communities — even more so than the current map !  The links below are maps of the current districts to compare:



Under this proposed map, districts will cross county lines only when it’s necessary to preserve equal population and/or when necessary to preserve or strengthen minority-majority districts or minority-influenced districts.  Even though Courts gave great leeway to the Governor in drawing Congressional seats last time, they were much more strict when it came to drawing state legislative seats.  In effect, Gov. Glendening’s plan was ripped up and the Courts drew the existing plan.  

The new plan I drew allows for population deviations of only 1,000 persons or less (much stricter than the existing map which I believe allowed for up to around plus/minus 5,000 persons).  Most new districts are made where there’s one Senator and three Delegates; the only exceptions are more rural, multi-county districts as well as break-ups of districts into Delegate sub-districts in order to preserve or encourage minority-population representation.  

Each district will contain approximately 120,000 persons.  Sub-districts will contain 40,000 persons if designed for one Delegate, and 80,000 if designed for two Delegates.  The only major instance of a district completely “re-locating” from one part of the state to another is District 46.  Relative population decline/lack of growth in the city of Baltimore will necessitate the loss of one district there.  No. 46 is the perfect candidate, as the other five districts are all minority-majority and have to be preserved under the VRA.  The new District 46 will straddle the Baltimore Co./Harford Co. line (Harford Co. has been one of the fastest growing parts of the state) but has been designed to be a Democratic district.  









District 1 – Western Maryland

New district: 93% white; 32% Obama (Obama percentage is same as in current district)

The only real change here is to divide into sub-districts a little differently from the current map:

1A – Garrett County, part of Allegany; 27% Obama (same as current district)

1B – Frostburg and Cumberland; 41% Obama (current district 34% Obama)

1C – parts of Allegany and Washington Counties; 31% Obama (current district 36% Obama)

I am really not sure why the sub-districts are currently drawn as they are.  This re-drawing should shore up the one Democratic representative in this whole district, Kevin Kelly of 1B; his redrawn district will now include most of Cumberland.  It is interesting to note that 1B is one of only two districts/sub-districts in the state where John Kerry performed better than Obama (the other is District 6).

District 2 – Washington County

New district: 82% white; 11% black; 45% Obama (Obama percentage is same as in current district)

No major changes here except to reconfigure the sub-districts.  Instead of three sub-districts, the new plan has only two:

2A – Hagerstown and surrounding precincts; two Delegates; 49% Obama

2B – more rural remainder of District 2; one Delegate; 36% Obama

OK … this may be a slightly risky move (actually, the only really risky thing I do in this entire re-map).  2A will now combine the more Democratic Hagerstown with the more Republican precincts that immediately surround it.  The wager is that two Democrats can be elected in a 49% Obama district; the risk is that two Republicans can as well, causing the loss of one Democratic Delegate.  Perhaps the current plan can be basically preserved instead — where the sub-district corresponding almost exactly to the City of Hagerstown (55% Obama) is designed to elect the one Democrat, while the other two sub-districts continue to elect the GOP ?

Bottom line for District 2: Possible addition of one Democratic Delegate.

District 3 – City of Frederick and southern Frederick County

New district: 70% white; 13% black; 56% Obama (current district 54% Obama)

The major change here is to get rid of the sub-districts.  A district that is 56% Obama (and becoming more Democratic as time goes on as more people from outside Frederick Co. stream in) should be able to elect three Democratic Delegates, instead of the current two in 3A (City of Frederick) and the Republican-turned-Independent in 3B (southern Frederick Co.).  Right-wing GOP Senator Alex Mooney should probably be on the way out in elections next year (he won in 2006 with only 51.9% of the vote, and this district has experienced an influx of less conservative people moving in since then); the increase in the Democratic percentage (from 54% to 56% Obama) should help also once the new lines are in place in 2012.

Bottom line for District 3: Probable addition of Democratic Senator (if the incumbent survives 2010) and one Democratic Delegate.

District 4 – Frederick County, parts of Washington and Carroll Counties

New district: 90% white; 38% Obama (current district 37% Obama)

The sub-districts are eliminated and the new District 4 will now be confined mostly to Frederick County (previously about one-third of the district was in Carroll Co.)   The only areas outside the county (necessary to preserve equal population of each district) will be Smithsburg in Washington Co. and Mt. Airy which straddles the Carroll Co./Frederick Co. line.  The GOP is expected to dominate here.

District 5 – Carroll County

New district: 92% white; 32% Obama (current district 33% Obama)

Like with District 4, the sub-districts are eliminated and the district will now be completely confined to Carroll County, instead of stretching out into northern Baltimore County.  GOP stronghold.

District 6 – Dundalk, Sparrows Point, east Baltimore

New district: 72% white; 21% black; 54% Obama (current district 45% Obama)

This area is a traditional blue-collar Democratic stronghold that has shifted to the right over the decades (your quintessential Reagan Democrat country).  The current District 6 is the only full district in the state of Maryland (out of 47) where John Kerry performed better than Obama.  Democrats still win here locally, but in order to make the district safer for the future, the Democratic percentage is increased substantially.  This is done in tandem with combining parts of east Baltimore City with the Baltimore County portion of the district.  

It should be noted that the break-down here is almost exactly such that the Baltimore City portion could be made into a sub-district electing one Delegate, while the Baltimore Co. part could be a two-Delegate sub-district.  However, such a move might be politically risky.  The Baltimore Co. part voted only 42% Obama and could realistically elect two Republicans at some point in the future if made into a sub-district.  The Baltimore City part is plurality African-American (47% black; 44% white) and voted 83% Obama, but it probably contains almost as many registered white Democrats as black Democrats due to historical factors, so an African-American Delegate would not by any means be assured.  Therefore, two good reasons to keep the new District 6 without sub-districts.

District 7 – northern Baltimore County, part of Harford County

New district: 88% white; 35% Obama (current district 39% Obama)

The new district combines most current areas of the district in Baltimore and Harford Counties with territory in northern-most Baltimore Co. which was previously part of District 5.  The district becomes even more Republican than the current form.

District 8 – Parkville, Carney, Overlea, Rosedale, White Marsh

New district: 72% white; 16% black; 52% Obama (current district 48% Obama)

The current district is represented by a Democratic Senator, two Democratic Delegates and one Republican Delegate.  The Republican won by a smidge last time, and the increase in the Democratic percentage (48% Obama to 52% Obama) should help.

Bottom line for District 8: Probable addition of one Democratic Delegate.

District 9 – Howard County (Ellicott City, west Columbia)

New district: 65% white; 15% black; 13% Asian; 58% Obama (current district 43% Obama)

The new District 9 is another good example of how we can make a district more compact, yet more Democratic at the same time.  The current district stretches across Howard and Carroll Counties and is quite Republican.  The new district is confined entirely to Howard Co. and is a lot more Democratic.  (It should be noted that the detachment of the western part of Columbia from District 12 does not hurt that district at all, as explained


Bottom line for District 9: Probable addition of Democratic Senator and three Democratic Delegates.

District 10 – parts of Baltimore Co. (Milford Mill, Lochearn, Randallstown) and Carroll Co. (Sykesville, Eldersburg)

New district: 51% black; 41% white; 67% Obama (current district 87% Obama)

The new district stretches along the Liberty Road corridor from just outside the Baltimore City line into Carroll County.  The district is assured of continuing to elect an all African-American Democratic delegation as approximately 70-75% of the Democratic primary vote here is black, and the district overall is about two-thirds Democratic.

District 11 – northwestern Baltimore County

New district: 59% white; 30% black; 65% Obama (current district 66% Obama)

Remains solidly Democratic.  I have divided the new district into two sub-districts:

11A – two-Delegate district; Reisterstown, Owings Mills, Mays Chapel; 72% white; 15% black; 56% Obama

11B – one-Delegate district; parts of Randallstown and Pikesville; 58% black; 33% white; 84% Obama

The creation of sub-district 11B should add one African-American to the state’s delegation.  In the meantime, because of the way the lines are drawn, one of the current three Delegates here could run in the new District 42 which now will include a substantial part of Pikesville.  The 56% Obama percentage in 11A should not be a concern, as this is a safe Democratic district, particularly on the local level.  (John Kerry actually did better than Obama in several precincts of the new 11A, so Obama’s 56% percentage is not some sort of Democratic “ceiling” for the area, as it would be in other districts.)

Bottom line for District 11: Probable addition of African-American Delegate.

District 12 – southwestern Baltimore County; eastern Howard County

New district: 63% white; 24% black; 59% Obama (current district 58% Obama)

The new district covers much of the same area as the current district.  The major exception is that a part of Columbia (sub-district 12B) is taken out.  However, a new sub-district 12B (also with one Delegate) is created.  The new 12B encompasses most of Woodlawn and is majority black, and its creation is likely to add another African-American to the state’s delegation.  Here’s more numbers:

12A – two-Delegates; Catonsville, Elkridge; 77% white; 10% black; 50% Obama (current 12A is also 50% Obama)

12B – one-Delegate; Woodlawn; 53% black; 35% white; 81% Obama

Bottom line for District 12: Probable addition of African-American Delegate.

District 13 – Howard County (east Columbia, Savage, North Laurel)

New district: 60% white; 20% black; 10% Asian; 63% Obama (current district 65% Obama)

This district stays very similar to the current configuration.  District 13 was represented in the state Senate by a Republican, Sandy Schrader, prior to the 2006 election (even when the three Delegates were all Democrats).  Schrader won in 2002 with 50.95% of the vote, but received only 43.8% in her re-election attempt in 2006. This district has definitely moved in the Democratic direction over the years, and the slight decline in Democratic performance here under the proposed lines (from 65% Obama to 63% Obama) will still leave this a safe Democratic seat.

Districts 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 and 39 – Montgomery County

We next move to Montgomery County, where the district lines change very, very little under my map. The all-Democratic delegation here (8 Senators and 24 Delegates) is something I am very proud of (I live in Silver Spring).  I attempted to create sub-districts here which could be designed to elect minority representatives, but my efforts were futile, as the minority population is very diverse and scattered throughout the county.  But no tears lost … Even under the current lines, Montgomery is likely to elect a very multi-ethnic delegation — in fact, it already does so, with black, Hispanic, and Asian (east Asian, south Asian, as well as Middle Eastern-origin) representatives … and several openly gay representatives also.

New District 14: Burtonsville, Olney, Brookeville, Laytonsville, Damascus

59% white; 20% black; 12% Asian; 65% Obama (Obama percentage is same as in current district)

New District 15: Potomac, Poolesville, Clarksburg

67% white; 14% Asian; 65% Obama (Obama percentage is same as in current district)

New District 16: Bethesda, Garrett Park

70% white; 11% Asian; 11% Hispanic; 73% Obama (current district 74% Obama)

New District 17: Rockville, Gaithersburg

48% white; 20% Hispanic; 16% Asian; 12% black (quite diverse !); 71% Obama (Obama percentage is same as in current district)

New District 18: Wheaton, Kensington, Chevy Chase

51% white; 19% Hispanic; 18% black; 76% Obama (Obama percentage is same as in current district)

New District 19: Aspen Hill, Leisure World, Derwood

49% white; 18% black; 16% Hispanic; 13% Asian (another very diverse district); 68% Obama (Obama percentage is same as in current district)

New District 20: Silver Spring, Takoma Park, White Oak

31% white; 31% black; 23% Hispanic; 12% Asian (by far, the most ethnically diverse district in Maryland); what’s not diverse is political preference: 85% Obama (Obama percentage is same as in current district); this district is where I live, btw !

It should be noted that under this map, District 20 extends into two precincts in Prince George’s County, in order to meet equal population standards; however, the new districts may be designed in such a way where all eight Montgomery County seats are confined exclusively to the county (I’m using a deviation of under 1,000 persons, while Courts in the past have used a considerably higher number; bottom line: those two PG Co. precincts may not need to be a part of District 20).

New District 39: Germantown, Montgomery Village, North Potomac

50% white; 18% Asian; 15% black; 12% Hispanic; 71% Obama (Obama percentage is same as in current district)

District 21 – northern Prince George’s County

New district: 47% white; 31% black; 10% Hispanic; 78% Obama (current district 75% Obama)

The new district is now completely contained within PG Co.  I just didn’t think that it made sense to have a district stretch from College Park all the way to Odenton in Anne Arundel County (as does the current District 21).  I also divided the new district into sub-districts in order to create a minority-opportunity seat centered on Laurel, which is relatively more African-American than other parts of District 21 (it should be noted, though, that the current district already elects a minority representative who lives in College Park, so perhaps a sub-district is unnecessary here ?).  The new numbers are:

21A – two Delegates; College Park, University Park, Beltsville, part of Bowie; 54% white; 24% black; Obama 76%

21B – one Delegate; Laurel; 46% black, 33% white; 11% Hispanic; Obama 83%

District 22 – northern Prince George’s County

New district: 50% black; 25% Hispanic; 16% white; 85% Obama (Obama percentage is same as in current district)

The new district is quite similar to the existing one.  Senator Paul Pinsky should have no trouble getting re-elected here.  Once he retires, however, this district is likely to elect an African-American Senator.  I have also divided this district into sub-districts.  Currently, two of the three Delegates here are white, even though the current district’s ethnic composition is similar to the proposed district.  Creating sub-districts here may screw up that dynamic; however, I do so anyways in order to create a Hispanic-opportunity sub-district (Hispanics seem to be vastly under-represented in the state legislature):

22A – two Delegates; Greenbelt, New Carrolton, Landover Hills; 57% black; 18% Hispanic; 16% white

22B – one Delegate; Hyattsville; Riverdale; 39% Hispanic; 38% black; 16% white; the new 22B is barely Hispanic plurality; however, the Hispanic population is still growing here, so this district may become an opportunity district for the population.

Bottom line for District 22: Possible addition of a Hispanic Delegate.

District 23 – parts of Prince George’s Co. (Largo/Kettering, Mitchelville, Bowie) and Anne Arundel Co. (Crofton, Gambrills, Fort Meade)

New district: 45% black; 44% white; 74% Obama (current district 81% Obama)

Since this re-map made District 21 confined to PG Co., the new District 23 has to play the opposite role and reach outside PG, into Anne Arundel County.  I think this proposed map is more logical — it makes much more sense to have Bowie and Crofton in the same district than to have College Park and Odenton in the same district.  

The new district becomes plurality black, and most registered Democrats here are black (as a good part of the white population in Anne Arundel is Republican).  Nevertheless, the numbers are not overwhelming either way, and should not hurt the currently racially-diverse delegation.  I decided to drop the sub-districts however, as they seem unnecessary under the circumstances, and could only hurt Democratic chances if, for instance, a part of the Anne Arundel Co. portion of the district was made into a sub-district.

Districts 24, 25, 26 – central and southern Prince George’s Co.

These three districts remain largely very similar to the current districts.

New District 24: Capitol Heights, Seat Pleasant, Suitland, Glenarden; 86% black; 98% Obama (Obama percentage is same as in current district)

New District 25: District Heights, Forestville, parts of Upper Marlboro; 78% black; 14% white; 95% Obama (current district 96% Obama)

New District 26: Oxon Hill, Temple Hills, Fort Washington; 80% black; 93% Obama (current district 94% Obama)

District 27 – Calvert County and southern Prince George’s Co.

New district: 67% white; 26% black; 57% Obama (current district 71% Obama)

The new district is more compact than the current District 27, now taking in all of Calvert County (Calvert has experienced some of the highest population growth in the state, and will now account for two-thirds of the new district).  The rest of the new district will be a Prince George’s Co.-based minority-majority sub-district.  Thus, the major change here is that sub-district 27A will now have one Delegate, instead of two, and 27B will have two instead of one.  

Senate Leader Mike Miller should be quite happy with the new lines, as his seat becomes more Calvert-based (his home) and it is less likely that he will be challenged in the Democratic primary by an African-American in the future.  

27A – one Delegate; southern Prince George’s County and several precincts in Calvert and Charles to preserve equal population; 52% black; 40% white; 81% Obama (Obama percentage is same as in current sub-district)

27B – two Delegates; all of Calvert Co. except for northern-most area around Dunkirk; 79% white; 14% black; 47% Obama (Obama percentage is same as in current sub-district)

Even though sub-district 27B remains at only 47% Obama, it should be noted that the current Delegate, Democrat Sue Kullen, won with 57% of the vote in 2006.  Anthony O’Donnell (from southern Calvert, currently in sub-district 29C) could also run here, but even if he were to win, his gain here would be effectively offset by his disappearance from District 29.

District 28 – Charles County

New district: 50% white; 39% black; 64% Obama (current district 63% Obama)

The lines here change only insofar that several precincts in the eastern part of the county are taken out to preserve equal population.  There’s a good chance that this district will become majority black over the next decade.

District 29 – St. Mary’s County, part of Charles Co.

New district: 75% white; 17% black; 45% Obama (current district 44% Obama)

The new district is more compact than the current one, and all of St. Mary’s County will now be in one district.  The sub-districts are eliminated, and I’m hopefully optimistic  that all three Delegates will be Democrats (currently both Delegates in 29A and 29B, which are areas almost entirely in St. Mary’s County, are Democrats elected with 65 and 64 percent of the vote; Republican Anthony O’Donnell won 29C — which straddles both St. Mary’s and Calvert Counties — with 60% but his sub-district becomes split in half between the new District 27 and the new District 29.)

District 30 – Annapolis and environs in Anne Arundel Co.

New district: 73% white; 16% black; 53% Obama (current district 52% Obama)

The lines here are tweaked just a bit in order to make the district more Democratic.  The current district is represented by a Democratic Senator and two out of three Delegates are also Democrats.  The lone Republican, Delegate Ron George, won by 53 votes last time (or one-tenth of a percentage point), and so the change from 52% Obama to 53% Obama may be helpful in the future — assuming George even makes it through 2010 under the current lines, which is less than assured.

Bottom line for District 30: Probable addition of one Democratic Delegate (if the sole Republican is not defeated by the time the new lines come into being).

District 31 – Glen Burnie, Brooklyn Park, Riviera Beach

New district: 75% white; 14% black; 48% Obama (current district 40% Obama)

The political composition of this Anne Arundel district changes significantly under this re-map.  Parts of Glen Burnie currently in District 32 are added (except for the homes of several District 32 incumbents which remain in the 32nd) while most of hyper-Republican Pasadena is detached.  (Under the new lines, most of Glen Burnie is now part of one district, instead of being split in half between Districts 31 and 32.)  The result is a district that goes from 40% Obama to 48% Obama.  

It is quite likely that all four Republican representatives will disappear under the new lines, and will be replaced by four Democrats.  The GOP Senator here, Bob Jones University graduate Bryan Simonaire, won last time with only 50.8% of the vote, and he lives in Pasadena, now outside the district.  The three GOP Delegates all won by relatively small margins also, and two of the three also live in Pasadena.  

The one Delegate whose home remains in the new 31st is Don Dwyer, a rabidly right-wing homophobe who makes Simonaire appear like a moderate in comparison (Dwyer is so right-wing that he has effectively taken himself out of the Republican caucus, as they are apparently not conservative enough for him, though he remains a Republican.)  Dwyer won re-election by 25 votes last time (even the current 58% McCain district had barely the stomach for him), and it’s far from assured that he will win in 2010.  If for some reason he makes it next year, the new lines and district composition will pose a very formidable obstacle for him in 2014.  

This area, btw, is traditionally quite Democratic, but parts contain many conservative Reagan Democrats.  In that light, the 48% Obama of the proposed District 31 should not be seen as a Democratic ceiling for the district; in a number of precincts in the area, including ones in Brooklyn Park and Riviera Beach, John Kerry performed better than Obama.  (Disclosure: I grew up in Brooklyn Park, and my mom still lives there, hence this long entry re. District 31 … that, and the fact that the odious Don Dwyer is still a representative there.)

(It should be noted that in drawing this district, I used new precinct lines for the map in the very southern end of this district, where it dips into a sliver of Severna Park — precincts no. 5-10 and 5-12 on Dave’s Application — which are now really four separate precincts, not just two.  The lines the Application uses are based on precincts as they existed in 2002 but in this particular area it made more sense to use the new lines to include a new African-American majority precinct into District 31 and exclude a very GOP new precinct nearby.  Incidentally, the current border between Congressional Districts 1 and 3 in that area makes use of the same new lines).

Bottom line for District 31: Probable addition of Democratic Senator and three Democratic Delegates.

District 32 – Linthicum, Severn, Odenton, Arbutus/Lansdowne

New district: 61% white; 25% black; 54% Obama (Obama percentage is same as in current district)

Like the current incarnation, the new district encompasses much of northwestern Anne Arundel County.  The district also crosses over into a part of Baltimore County, in order to maintain equal population.  The current all-Democratic delegation looks to be in good shape under the new lines.

District 33 – Pasadena/Lake Shore, Severna Park, Crownsville, Davidsonville

New district: 89% white; 37% Obama (current district 43% Obama)

The new District 33 combines the most Republican communities of Anne Arundel County into one district.  Geographically, it pretty much resembles the current district with Pasadena added.  The two current sub-districts are eliminated.  

I thought about having three separate sub-districts here – 1.) Pasadena, 2.) Severna Park/Crownsville, and 3.) southern remainder of the district.  Such an arrangement might perhaps lead to a local Democrat capturing one of the districts at some point (although it hasn’t happened in any of the current GOP districts which Democrats sub-divided last time in order to enhance the possibility of a Democrat capturing one of the sub-districts).  However, my original goal was to create sub-districts only for large, rural, multi-county districts (so that each county could have a voice in the Assembly) and/or for minority-majority or minority-opportunity districts.  Besides those exceptions, it wouldn’t be fair to have only Republican districts sub-divided and not the Democratic ones.

District 34 – parts of Harford and Cecil Counties

New district: 80% white; 12% black; 46% Obama (current district 48% Obama)

This district largely resembles the current 34th, except that the Edgewood and Joppatowne areas in southern Harford have been taken out in order to preserve equal population (this area has experienced a lot of population growth).  The new district becomes a little less Democratic, but the current political balance here should remain (GOP Senator, and three Democratic Delegates). Although the Harford Co. part would correspond almost perfectly to a one-Delegate sub-district, it is politically better to eliminate sub-districts here, as the more Democratic area in Harford will balance the more Republican two-thirds of the new district in Cecil County.

District 35 – Harford County

New district: 91% white; 30% Obama (current district 31% Obama)

Remains very similar to the current district which is a GOP stronghold.

District 36 – Eastern Shore

New district: 86% white; 40% Obama (current district 41% Obama)

The current district expands south and is sub-divided into three sub-districts — each corresponding closely to a county or set of counties:

36A – Cecil and Kent Counties (also includes one precinct in Queen Anne’s directly across from Chestertown in order to maintain equal population); 46% Obama; this sub-district could perhaps elect a Democrat, breaking the GOP stranglehold on District 36.

36B – most of Queen Anne’s County; 36% Obama

36C – Talbot and Dorchester Counties; 39% Obama

District 37 – Eastern Shore

New District: 61% white; 32% black; 52% Obama (current district 46% Obama)

Currently, three out of four representatives here are Republicans.  The re-map expands the current district northward and the sub-districts remain.  However, sub-district 37A will now have two Delegates, instead of one, and 37B will have one instead of two.  The lines forming the border between the new 36th and 37th don’t line up perfectly with county boundaries.  However, the goal here was to create a minority-influence district on the Shore.  Even though only about a third of the population of the new 37th is black, that population might have an effective voice in how the district is represented in Annapolis, through an alignment with white Democrats in the area — the borders intentionally include more “liberal” (relatively) white-majority  areas like Chestertown and Easton.

Here’s a break-down of the sub-districts:

37A – two Delegates; lower Eastern Shore: Salisbury, Princess Anne, Cambridge, Easton; 51% white; 41% black; 58% Obama; although on paper this district is majority white (barely), blacks constitute a majority of the Democratic primary vote here.  Thus, there’s a good chance the district can elect two African-American Delegates (increasing their representation on the Shore by one).

37B – one Delegate; most of Caroline County, part of Queen Anne’s and Chestertown (Kent Co.); 79% white; 13% black; 41% Obama; likely to elect a GOP Delegate.

Bottom line for District 37: Probable addition of Democratic Senator and one Democratic Delegate (there’s a good chance the Delegate will be African-American).

District 38 – lower Eastern Shore

New District: 81% white; 13% black; 40% Obama (current district 41% Obama)

The new 38th is quite similar to the current district.  The district here currently elects a GOP Senator and GOP Delegate in sub-district 38A, while 38B elects two Democrats, even though that area is even more Republican than 38A.  The two Democrats include one legislator from Salisbury and a former mayor of Ocean City, so personal popularity likely plays a part, especially in the case of the latter.

38A – includes parts of Somerset and Wicomico Counties (as does the current sub-district) but also expands east into Worcester Co.

38B – includes much of Worcester Co. and part of Wicomico around Salisbury.

District 39 – see earlier entry under Districts 14, 15, etc. (Montgomery County)

Districts 40, 41, 43, 44, 45 – Baltimore City

As I already discussed, due to stagnant population growth, Baltimore City has to lose one of its current districts, and the 46th is the only logical candidate.  (Also, as already discussed, the eastern-most part of the city will be combined with adjoining parts of Baltimore County into a new 6th District.)  The other five districts are reconfigured but still keep the basic shape and identity of their current incarnations:

New District 40: west-central Baltimore

64% black; 28% white; 89% Obama (current district 93% Obama)

New District 41: northwest Baltimore

64% black; 30% white; 84% Obama (current district 87% Obama)

New District 43: northeast Baltimore

63% black; 30% white; 90% Obama (current district 91% Obama)

New District 44: southwest and south Baltimore

63% black; 31% white; 86% Obama (current district 92% Obama)

New District 45: east-central Baltimore

63% black; 28% white; 86% Obama (current district 90% Obama)

District 42 – Towson, Timonium, Cockeysville, Pikesville

New District: 71% white; 18% black; 58% Obama (current district 53% Obama)

The current district is represented in the Senate by a Democrat.  However, two out of three Delegates are Republicans.  The new district expands into more Democratic areas, including Pikesville, and the Democratic percentage goes up, from 53% Obama to 58% Obama.  The increase should be enough to produce an all-Democratic delegation here (both Republican delegates won by small margins last time).  

Bottom line for District 42: Probable addition of two Democratic Delegates.

District 46 – parts of Baltimore Co. (Essex, Middle River) and Harford Co. (Edgewood, Joppatowne)

New District: 69% white; 22% black; 51% Obama

This district is a newly-created one to account for population growth in the area (and it replaces the old 46th which was based in Baltimore City).  It was initially surprising to me that you could create a new, compact district here that is at the same time quite Democratic.  I was afraid that the new district would have to be a GOP stronghold, thus causing an automatic loss of a Democratic Senator and three Democratic Delegates.  But there is apparently a robust Democratic presence in this area; in fact, both the Baltimore Co. and Harford Co. parts of the new district voted for Obama ! (the Harford part by a larger margin though).  There are actually some very GOP precincts in the Baltimore Co. part of the district, but they seem to be outweighed by other very Democratic areas.

District 47 – northern Prince George’s County

New District: 52% black; 36% Hispanic; 93% Obama (current district 92% Obama)

The new 47th keeps mostly within the lines of the current district.  I have sub-divided the new District 47 into two sub-districts in order to provide the Hispanic community with a sub-district.  Perhaps this is completely unnecessary, as the district has already elected a Delegate who is Hispanic, even without a sub-district …  Nevertheless:

47A – two Delegates; Chillum; Mount Rainier, Brentwood, Bladensburg, Cheverly, Landover; 66% black; 22% Hispanic

47B – one Delegate; Langley Park; 63% Hispanic; 24% black; it’s interesting to note that this Hispanic-majority area voted over 90% for Obama.

So this is my plan for redistricting the Maryland Legislature.  I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Competitive Michigan Legislature Races

We all know that Information about State Legislature races are hard to find.  They are also very important to redistricting control of congress in 2012.  

Here I have listed all or most of Michigan’s State House of Representatives competitives races, as well as the candidates, most recent fundraising figures, and the partisan turnout from last month’s primary election.

I have also roughly rated the districts a tossup and leans.  Democrats are heavily favored to control the House, and they will likely gain several seats.  Here is a map of the Districts http://www.vcsnet.com/State.ph…  But just remember that there are 110 districts, of which the Democrats control 57.  The lower the district number, the closer the district is to Detroit.  The higher the number, the farther north.

Republican Seats Leaning Democrat

108th- (Open, Tom Casperson,R)

Judy Nerat (D) vs. Mike Falcon (R)

CTD- $10,172 vs. $20,192  COH- $6,099 vs. $7,542

Turnout- 67% Democrat, 33% Republican

39th- (Open, David Law,R)

Lisa Brown (D) vs. Amy Peterman (R)

CTD- $39,776 vs. $69,061  COH- $25,207 vs. $8,945

Turnout- 57% Democrat, 43% Republican

Republican Seats Tossup

62nd-  (Open, Mike Nofs, R)

Kate Segal (D) vs. Gregory Moore (R)

CTD- $56,394 vs. $25,064 COH- $43,837 vs. $12,325

Turnout- 53% Democrat,  47% Republican

61st- (Open, Jack Hoogendyk, R)

Julie Rogers (D) vs. Larry DeShazor (R)

CTD- $54,170 vs. $27,890  COH- $33,755 vs. $2,145

Turnout- 75% Republican,  25% Democrat

1st- (Open, Ed Gaffney, R)

Tim Bledsoe (D) vs. Mary Treder Lang (R)

CTD- $13,850 vs. $66,877 COH- $-6,638 vs.$6,273  

Turnout- 58% Democrat,  42% Republican

101st- (Open, David Palsrok, R)

Dan Scripps (D) vs. Ray Franz (R)

CTD- $92,686 vs. $30,258  COH- $29,296 vs. $2,459

Turnout-  77% Republican,  23% Democrat

78th-  (Open, Neal Nitz, R)

Judy Truesdell (D) vs. Sharon Tyler (R)

CTD- $39,439 vs. $36,629  COH- $26,186 vs. $5,711

Turnout-  79% Republican,  21% Democrat

70th-  (Open, Judy Emmons, R)

Mike Huckleberry (D) vs. Thomas Ginster (R)

CTD- $16,920 vs. $11,840  COH- $-996 vs. $3,720

Turnout-  82% Republican,  18% Democrat

24th-  (Open, Jack Brandenburg, R)

Sarah Roberts (D) vs. Brian Brandenburg (R)

CTD- $44,586 vs. $47,921  COH- $11,644 vs. 31,835

Turnout-  62% Democrat,  38% Republican

32nd-  (Open, Daniel Acciavatti, R)

Jennifer Haase (D) vs. John Acciavatti (R)

CTD- $28,991 vs. $18,444  COH- $18,836 vs. $4,401

Turnout-  55% Republican,  45% Democrat

Republican Seats Leaning Republican

51st-  (Open, David Robertson, R)

Michael Thorp (D) vs. Paul Scott (R)

CTD- $13,415 vs. $137,549 COH- $1,799 vs. $22,225

Turnout-  60% Republican, 40% Democrat

98th-  (Open, John Moolenaar, R)

Garnet Lewis (D) vs. Jim Stamas (R)

CTD- $75,579 vs. $49,509 COH- $39,350 vs. $15,045

Turnout-  66% Republican, 34% Democrat

97th-  (Tim Moore, R)

Kathy Wilton (D) vs. Tim Moore (R)

CTD- $0.00 vs. $59,590  COH- $0.00 vs. $36,719

Turnout-  59% Democrat, 41% Republican

21st-  (Open, Phillip LaJoy, R)

Dian Slavens (D) vs. Todd LaJoy (R)

CTD- $50,477 vs. $67,270 COH- $26,725 vs. $47,248

Turnout-  51% Republican, 49% Democrat

73rd-  (Tom Pearce, R)

Bruce Hawley (D) vs. Tom Pearce (R)

CTD- $30,179 vs. $21,515  COH- $22,545 vs. $5,527

Turnout-  80% Republican, 20% Democrat

Democrat Seats Tossup

106th-  (Open, Matt Gillard, D)

Andy Neumann (D) vs. Peter Pettalia (R)

CTD- $27,595 vs. $27,444  COH- $10,671 vs. $3,749

Turnout-  60% Republican, 40% Democrat

65th- (Mike Simpson, D)

Mike Simpson (D) vs. Ray Snell (R)

CTD- $143,105 vs. $13,465 COH- $101,886 vs.$4,556

Turnout-  56% Republican, 44% Democrat

37th- (Open, Aldo Vagnozzi, D)

Vicki Barnett (D) vs. Paul Welday (R)

CTD- $45,608 vs. $60,883 COH- $32,118 vs. $34,506

Turnout-  50% Republican, 50% Democrat

Democrat Seats Leaning Democrat

23rd- (Open, Kathleen Law, D)

Deb Kennedy (D) vs. Neil DeBlois (R)

CTD- $19,859 vs. $14,845  COH- $7,077 vs. $4,787

Turnout-  66% Democrat,  34% Republican

20th- (Marc Courriveau, D)

Marc Courriveau (D) vs. Jerry Vorva (R)

CTD- $147,164 vs. $0.00  COH- $96,421 vs. $0.00

Turnout-  55% Republican,  45% Democrat

91st- (Mary Valentine, D)

Mary Valentine (D) vs. Holly Hughes (R)

CTD-$146,002 vs. $81,921 COH- $102,681 vs.$55,711

Turnout-  62% Democrat, 38% Republican

75th- (Robert Dean, D)

Robert Dean (D) vs. Dan Tietema (R)

CTD- $80,004 vs. $34,834  COH- $31,430 vs. $7,455

Turnout-  63% Republican, 37% Democrat

84th- (Terry Brown, D)

Terry Brown (D) vs. Anna Kabot (R)

CTD- $57,086 vs. $6,215  COH- $47,586 vs.

Turnout-  73% Republican, 27% Democrat