SSP Daily Digest: 4/28 (Part Deux)

Other Races:

Philly Mayor: Even though several labor organizations endorsed his crazy ex-con nobody of an opponent, Philadelphia’s largest union, the Federation of Teachers, came out for incumbent Michael Nutter earlier this week. But Nutter’s been having problems with the municipal unions, with the city’s white collar union (known as District Council 47… I’ve always wondered where they get these numbers) declining to endorse. (Several others have either backed Milton Street or no one at all.)

Wisconsin Recall: As expected, Democrats filed signatures against Rob Cowles, making him the sixth Republican to face a possible recall election. Republicans have filed against three Dems and missed the deadline against three others. Meanwhile, the state’s Government Accountability Board asked a judge to give them more time to review the petitions, which would allow the agency to consolidate the elections on July 12. However, the MSNBC article linked first in this bullet suggests the elections may not take place until the fall.

WI Sup. Ct.: Under state law, the Supreme Court recount must be completed very quickly, by May 9. It’s apparently only the third statewide recount in Wisconsin history. The most recent one took place in 1989… and the one before that in 1858! Unsurprisingly, things are off to a bumpy start in Waukesha, though fortunately the now-notorious Kathy Nickolaus has recused herself from the process.

Grab Bag:

EMILY: EMILY’s List announced its first four endorsements of the cycle: Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-01), Lois Frankel (FL-22), Christie Vilsack (IA-04), and Ann McLane Kuster (NH-02).

Pennsylvania: PPP did something on their new PA poll that I like, and that I hope we’ll see more of: They included a statewide generic House ballot, which in this case showed respondents favoring Dems by a 42-36 margin, despite weak numbers for Obama.

Town Halls: With Congress on recess and members back home doing town halls, we’re seeing some turnabout from the summer of 2009, with motivated liberals showing up to castigate Republicans for their votes to kill Medicare. Ordinarily, this would be the sort of topic we’d love to cover in the Daily Digest, but the good news/bad news is that there are just too many of them for us to keep track of. What’s more, other outlets are doing a great job of covering them, like ThinkProgress and the DCCC.

Redistricting Roundup:

Michigan: We’ve been saying this for some time ourselves, but now the MI state lege is hearing it, too: In order to preserve Detroit’s VRA seats, a redistricting expert for the legislative black caucus agrees that new district lines will have to be drawn that cross the traditional “8 Mile” boundary separating the city of Detroit from its suburbs. Michigan’s maps must be complete by Nov. 1.

Missouri: Republicans finally reached an agreement on a map at the 11th hour, sending it to Gov. Jay Nixon. (You can see the new map here.) Democrats in the state House are urging Nixon to veto the plan, where the map fell 13 votes short of a veto-proof majority. The governor has not yet said what he’ll do, but there’s also a dispute brewing as to whether the legislature will be even able to schedule an over-ride vote this session, or if they’ll have to wait until September.

Nevada: Republicans have released their proposed maps, which you can find here. Democrats will put theirs out later today. Anjeanette Damon describes the congressional map as a 2-2 plan, but you be the judge.

Texas: Score one for Rep. Lloyd Doggett: He snarfed up a copy of what he believes is the congressional map that Republican congressmen have proposed to leaders of the legislature. A copy is here (PDF). An unnamed source tells the Austin Statesman that they think the map is out-dated, but that Republican plans for splitting Travis County (home of Austin) four ways, as shown by the map, are in fact correct.

Virginia: Well, it sure sounds like the Democrats have caved on the Virginia Senate map. A deal is reportedly done, and the key changes are summarized by the Richmond Times-Dispatch as follows:

Under the deal, the proposed new Democratic-leaning district in the Richmond area would be eliminated, according to Sen. John Watkins, R-Powhatan. Republicans would lose one of two senators in Virginia Beach and new districts would be created in Loudoun County and east of Lynchburg.

Also, the idiot Democrats in the House voted yet again for the newest Republican gerrymander (which makes mostly cosmetic changes). How stupid are these people? You don’t fucking vote for the other side’s gerrymander. I mean, it was one thing to act like this the first time around, when it appeared a multi-way deal was in place. But now these schmucks are like chickens voting to elect Col. Sanders. Hope you enjoy getting dipped in 11 herbs and spices and getting deep-fried to your doom, morans.

SSP Daily Digest: 4/14


FL-Sen: Dem Sen. Bill Nelson said he raised over $2 million in Q1 and would report somewhere between $4.5 and $5 million on hand. Republican Mike Haridopolos said he raised $2.6 million and would show $2.5 mil in the bank.

HI-Sen: So that weird SMS poll we showed you yesterday which only pitted Ed Case vs. Mufi Hannemann in a Dem primary had another, more useful component. They also included favorables for a whole host of Hawaii politicians. Mazie Hirono was best (62% fave), while Linda Lingle was worst (44% unfave). Click the link for the rest. (And no, we still don’t know who SMS took this poll for. They’re just saying it was a private client.)

MI-Sen: Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) raised $1.2 million in Q1 and has $3 million on hand.

MO-Sen: Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) raised over $1 million in Q1 and has about $1.8 million on hand.

NM-Sen: Teabagging businessman Greg Sowards raised $150K in Q1… but it sounds like that’s all his own money. The writeup is unclear, though – it’s possible he raised $150K from outside sources and threw in an equal amount on his own.

NV-Sen: Wealthy Dem attorney Byron Georgiou raised $1.1 million in Q1, with $500K of that coming from his own pockets.


ME-Gov: We previously mentioned a proposed constitutional amendment in Maine that would require gubernatorial candidates to receive 50% of the vote (a hurdle almost no one has reached in recent decades). That proposal just died in the state Senate, so it’s basically dead for this term.

MT-Gov: Democratic state Sen. Larry Jent officially announced he is running for governor. He faces fellow state Sen. Dave Wanzenried in the primary. State AG Steve Bullock may also run.


AZ-06: Ex-Rep. Matt Salmon, who served in a similar seat in the 1990s, says he’s now thinking about running for Jeff Flake’s open seat. Salmon previously said he was considering a run for governor.

CA-03: Dem Ami Bera, seeking a rematch against Dan Lungren, says he raised over $230K in Q1. If this haul only dates to the time of his official announcement (just two weeks before the end of the quarter), it’s nothing short of un-fucking-believable. However, he gets a demerit for emailing me a press release without putting it on his website so that I can link to it directly. Boo!

CA-06: Activist Norman Solomon became the second Dem to file in Lynn Woolsey’s district, in the event that she retires this cycle.

CT-05: Dem Dan Roberti, a 28-year-old public relations exec whose father Vincent was a state rep, officially announced his entrance into the race to succeed Chris Murphy. On the GOP side, businesswoman Lisa Wilson-Foley, who sought the Republican nomination for Lt. Gov. last year, also said she was getting in.

FL-22: Lois Frankel announced she raised $250K in Q1. Previously, we mentioned that fellow Dem “no not that” Patrick Murphy said he raised $350K.

IN-02: Dem Rep. Joe Donnelly announced he raised $363,288 in Q1, his best single quarter ever. Dude’s not going down without a fight.

NM-01, NM-Sen: An unnamed advisor to state Auditor Hector Balderas says he won’t seek Rep. Martin Heinrich’s now-open House seat (something that insiders apparently were encouraging him to do, in the hopes of avoiding a contested primary). According to this advisor, Balderas is still considering a Senate run. Personally, I think it was a mistake for Balderas to say he was almost definitely going to run, only to be upstaged by Heinrich, who of course said he was actually going to run. I think Heinrich has the advantage in a primary, but Balderas needs a way to save face here if he doesn’t want that fight any longer.

NY-19: Freshman GOPer Nan Hayworth announced she raised $330K in Q1 and has a similar amount on hand. Question of the day: Do you think Hayworth could get teabagged to death?

NY-26: Dem Kathy Hochul announced she raised $350K for the special election coming up on May 24th.

OR-01: It took a little time, but Dems are now finally drawing out the knives for Rep. David Wu in earnest. Oregon Labor Commissioner (an elected position) Brad Avakian is putting together a team of political advisors and is likely to challenge Wu in the Dem primary. Another Dem elected official, Portland Commissioner Dan Saltzman, also apparently became the first Democrat to openly call for regime change (though he says he isn’t interested in running). All eyes will certainly be on Wu’s fundraising report, due on Friday.

PA-07: Republican frosh Pat Meehan raised $325K in Q1.

WI-07: Former state Sen. Pat Kreitlow has formed an exploratory committee for a possible challenge to freshman GOP Rep. Sean Duffy. Kreitlow served a single term in the Senate after defeating a Republican incumbent, before losing in last year’s red tide. This could be a pretty good get for us if he goes through with it (which seems likely, just reading this article).

Other Races:

NJ Lege: Johnny Longtorso has a good summary of the candidate filing for New Jersey’s legislative races this November. Out of 120 seats, only four total are unopposed (though there may be signature challenges).

Suffolk Co. Exec.: Will seriously no one hire Rick Lazio? Perennially a contender for Saddest Sack of the Year, Lazio is apparently considering a run for Suffolk County Executive, now that the seat will be open in the wake of Steve Levy’s unusual plea agreement with law enforcement (which involved him not seeking re-election).

Grab Bag:

Dark Money: Dems are finally starting to play catchup with the David Kochs of the world. Ali Lapp, a former DCCC official (and wife of one-time DCCC ED John Lapp) will head up a new “Super PAC” called the House Majority PAC. Such groups are actually not all that shadowy – they do have to disclose their donors. But they can raise and spend in unlimited amounts, and engage in direct “vote for/vote against” advocacy.

EMILY’s List: EMILY announced four new GOP targets: Bob Dold (IL-10), Frank Guinta (NH-01), Adam Kinzinger (IL-11), and Steve Stivers (OH-15). The group only endorses women, and there are no declared Dems in any of these races yet, but I note with interest that they claim “there is major Democratic female talent waiting in the wings.” In NH-01, they could be expecting a rematch from ex-Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, and I guesss maybe Debbie Halvorson in IL-11 and Mary Jo Kilroy in OH-15, but those seem very unlikely. Any ideas?

Redistricting Roundup:

Iowa: It looks like Iowa’s new maps will indeed pass into law very shortly. A state Senate committee approved them unanimously, and now the full body is deliberating. The state House will take the issue up today. Republican Gov. Terry Branstad hasn’t yet said whether he’ll support the new plans, but it’d be pretty explosive if he nuked the maps in the face of widespread backing among legislators. This has all been a very interesting process to watch, especially since after the initial federal map threw both Republican congressmen together, it was easy to imagine that the GOP would want to go back to the drawing board. But the fear of the unknown has pushed politicians to accept what they have before them, rather than risk something worse.

Indiana: With the new GOP maps looking very much like reality (how Bobby Jindal must envy Mitch Daniels), the state legislator shuffle is set to begin. The AP notes that the new state House map “has three districts that put two current Republican legislators together, three districts with at least two Democrats and four districts with a Republican and a Democratic incumbent,” which doesn’t sound so bad, but Democrats point out that “five of their House members from Indianapolis were drawn into just two districts.”

Michigan: The MI lege is about to start the redistricting process. State law says maps have to be drawn by Nov. 1st.

Texas: Republicans in the lege have introduced a bill that would require any new maps (or voter ID bills) to get litigated before a three-judge panel in D.C., rather than go through the DoJ for pre-clearance. Rick Perry apparently is already interested in this alternative. As I’ve speculated before, he may be hoping for a more favorable hearing from potentially conservative judges. However, I’ll note that you can still sue even after the DoJ renders a pre-clearance decision, so I’m not sure why you wouldn’t just take the (cheaper and easier) free shot first.

Also of note, the Latino civil rights group MALDEF released two proposals for nine majority-minority districts in Texas. (They deliberately did not offer a map that covered the entire state.) MALDEF is no random organization: They were part of the LULAC v. Perry litigation in 2006, in which the Supreme Court forced Texas to redistrict yet again because Tom DeLay’s map had improperly diluted Hispanic voting strength.

Virginia: So what’s going on with this supposed deal? In a rather public bit of horse-trading, Dems (who control the state Senate) and Republicans (who control the state House and the governor’s mansion) agreed that each body would get to gerrymander itself (that sounds kind of dirty, huh?), and would also agree to an incumbent protection map for congress, which would of course lock in the GOP’s 8-3 advantage. But now Republicans and Democrats have each produced separate federal maps, and they are quite different, with the Dems deliberately trying to create a second district likely to elect a minority.

The oddest part of this deal is that the legislative parts of the deal have already passed – the congressional map is now an entirely separate beast, which I don’t really get, since they each seemed to constitute one leg of a three-legged stool. I guess that’s why the Senate Dems felt free to reject the House’s federal plan, which suggests that the agreement has fallen apart. But Republicans don’t seem to be howling that the Dems have somehow reneged, so maybe we didn’t understand this deal properly in the first place. In any event, we’re very much at an impasse here, but sometimes these logjams break apart very abruptly (see Louisiana and Arkansas).

SSP Daily Digest: 4/5


AZ-Sen: Rep. Jeff Flake (R) will apparently announce a haul of more than $1 million in Q1.

OH-Sen: A spokesman for Treasurer Josh Mandel says he’ll file paperwork with the FEC “very shortly,” but it’s not clear from the writeup whether this means an exploratory committee (what I’m guessing) or if it’s the real thing. Also of note: Rep. Pat Tiberi (R), whose name first came up as a possible candidate less than a week ago, quashed any notion that he might run against Sherrod Brown last Friday.

VA-Sen: If you want to believe CNN’s sources, Tim Kaine will announce a Senate bid in the next two weeks.

WA-Sen, WA-10: Sue Rahr, the conservative King County Sheriff who inherited the job from now-Rep. Dave Reichert, said through a spokesman that she has no intention of running against Sen. Maria Cantwell – a rumor that seems to have gotten shot down before we’d ever heard of it here at SSP. However, a political consultant of Rahr’s thinks the sheriff (who supposedly has crossover appeal) could run in Washington’s new 10th CD, if a district emerges out of Reichert’s 8th centered in the area north of I-90.


ME-Gov: Will Paul LePage be the next Rick Scott? Like Florida’s governor, Republican members of LePage’s own legislature are starting to turn on him; eight state senators penned an op-ed declaring : “‘Government by disrespect’ should have no place in Augusta, and when it happens, we should all reject it.”

MO-Gov: I think it’s going to get worse before it gets better for Republican LG Peter Kinder. Trying to push back against revelations that he spend taxpayer money to spend two months a year in St. Louis luxury hotels to attend baseball games, society balls, and teabagger conclaves since 2006, Kinder claimed that his office had been reviewed by two different state auditors, both of them Democrats: Susan Montee and Claire McCaskill (yes, her). The problem? Montee’s audit faulted Kinder for “numerous mathematical errors and inconsistencies” regarding employee pay, and McCaskill’s found that Kinder used a state-owned care for personal use. I’m sensing a theme here.

WA-Gov: Could Christine Gregoire’s claim to be undecided about seeking a third term really just be a way to ward off lame-duck syndrome? That’s Jim Brunner’s guess. The Seattle Times reporter points out that campaign finance filings show the Democrat had just $44K on hand at the end of February. At the comparable reporting deadline during the prior election cycle, she had $1.2 million in the bank. Meanwhile, other likely candidates are flush: Republican AG Rob McKenna has raised $800K and has $400K on hand, while Rep. Jay Inslee (D) had $1.2 million in his congressional account at the end of last year. The piece also notes that another possible Dem candidate, state Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, has recently discussed a potential run for Lt. Gov. instead. (She’d have to primary Brad Owen, who has been in office since 1997, or push him into retirement.)


FL-22: Whoa, I was definitely wrong to dismiss “no not that” Patrick Murphy as a Some Dude. One article described him as a 28-year-old accountant, but he’s got family money – and, evidently, good connections. Murphy says he raised a majorly impressive $350K in less than a month, and only $30K of that is his own money. Even fundraising machine Ron Klein raised “only” $153K in the comparable quarter in 2005 (before he was first elected).

NM-01: Terry Brunner, a former state director for the retiring Jeff Bingaman, had previously said he was thinking about running for his old boss’s seat, but now says he’s considering a run for the 1st CD instead.

NV-01: Jon Ralston thinks former 3rd CD Rep. Dina Titus will run for Shelley Berkley’s seat if the latter runs for Senate, but this is definitely a case of Schrödinger’s Seat.

OR-01: Former state Rep. Greg Macpherson is the first big-name Dem to say he’s considering a primary challenge to embattled Rep. David Wu. He wants to wait until the district lines become clear, saying he’ll only run if he lives in the district. (He doesn’t live there now, but I suppose he could move even if redistricting doesn’t help him, so I’m not sure how big an obstacle that is.) He also says he’s considering a primary challenge to state AG John Kroger, the man who beat him in the Dem primary for that office in 2008.

WI-07: Feeling the heat, Rep. Sean Duffy offered a half-assed non-apology, saying his “words were admittedly poorly chosen” when he whinged about getting paid only $174,000 a year as a member of Congress.

Other Races:

Wisconsin Sup. Ct.: Surprise, surprise: “Citizens for a Strong America,” the potemkin right-wing group responsible for several attack ads in the race (including one even PolitiFact rated “pants on fire”) turns out to be just a clone/offshoot of Americans for Prosperity, the Koch brothers’ arch-evil front group.

Special Elections: After a few weeks without any state lege races, Johnny Longtorso is back:

While everyone will be focused on the Wisconsin Supreme Court election (which is a phrase I never thought I’d type), there is one special occurring on Tuesday in South Carolina’s HD-64, though it’s in a safe Democratic seat. Democrat Kevin Johnson, the mayor of Manning, will face off against Republican Walter Sanders.

Also, a quick shout-out to Republican Mike “Pete” Huval, the newest member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from HD-46. He defeated another Republican (no Democrat ran) on Saturday for the seat vacated by now-State Sen. Fred Mills.


Maps: The National Journal has an interesting set of maps which focus on a theme that DCCyclone has been hitting in comments: Namely, because of population growth among minorities, the share of the white vote that Obama needs in 2012 is lower than it was in 2008, assuming minority support for Obama stays the same. In a very pessimistic scenario where his minority support falls 10%, Obama would only lose three states he otherwise won in 2008 (FL, IN & NC), assuming he keeps the same share of the white vote. (But note that that latter assumption is unnecessary: Even under the reduced minority support scenario, Obama’s white support could also drop considerably in many states and he’d still win.)

Votes: A new study (full paper here) says that Dems who votes “yes” on healthcare reform saw their reelection margins reduced from 6 to 8 points. Something about this study seems incomplete to me, though, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. I’ll be really curious to read your thoughts in comments.

VRA: This is interesting: Black lawmakers in Georgia have filed a lawsuit challenging to dissolve the charters of five very white cities in DeKalb and Fulton Counties. The plaintiffs argue that these cities, all formed between 2005 and 2008, were created to dilute minority voting power, and hence violate the VRA. Apparently, this is a novel application of the Voting Rights Act, so we’ll see how it unfolds.

Passings: Very sad news: Former Rep. John Adler, a longtime state Senator who served one term in NJ-03 before losing last year, passed away at the age of 51. Last month, Adler contracted an infection which led to heart disease from which he never recovered. His father also died young of heart disease, something Adler would mention on the campaign trail when describing his family’s struggles after his father’s death. As a state legislator, one of his signature accomplishments was a smoke-free air bill which banned smoking in many public places. He leaves behind a wife and four children.

In other news, former TN Gov. Ned McWherter also passed away yesterday. McWherter, who was 80, served two terms as governor in the late 80s and early 90s. One of the things McWherter is probably best known for is the creation TennCare, the state’s expanded Medicaid program. His son Mike ran an unsuccessful campaign for governor last year.

Redistricting Roundup:

Arkansas: Rob Moritz of the Arkansas News Bureau has a good rundown of what’s going on with Democrats’ controversial redistricting plan, dubbed the “Fayetteville Finger.” The plan has passed in the House but has stalled in the Senate, where a vote won’t come until Thursday at the earliest. At the end of the piece, Moritz details several different alternate proposals pending in the Senate.

Louisiana: A piece from Sunday’s Times-Picayune said that votes were possible on Monday in the House and Senate on congressional maps, but I’ve not yet seen any subsequent coverage.

Michigan: Aaron Blake’s redistricting series takes him to Michigan, where he has a good explanation of just how difficult it will be for the GOP to shore up its current situation.

Missouri: Check out this Google Maps version of the state House’s proposed new federal district lines.

New Jersey: Republicans started bitching and moaning about the state’s new map even before it was officially chosen, but so far, they haven’t said whether they’d challenge the map in court. Not really sure what grounds they’d have even if they wanted to give it a go.

Nevada: The LVRJ has a piece on the debate in Nevada over whether to create a majority-Hispanic district, or whether to keep Hispanic voters spread out to keep all districts more Dem or more competitive. Most Republicans obviously like the former idea, while Dems (including some Latino lawmakers) are understandably skeptical. Also, it looks like abgin must have trekked all the way from Basque Country to make a presentation at a public hearing in Vegas last weekend: The LVRJ says that “[s]everal interest groups presented proposed maps, including one that likely wouldn’t pass legal or political muster because it would create four new vertical congressional districts stretching from North to South.”

Texas: Ah, redistricting cat fud – it has a stench all its own. GOP Rep. Lamar Smith is apparently taking the non-insane view that Hispanic growth and the VRA require that two (well, at least two) of Texas’s four new districts be majority-minority, and he’s been working with Dem Rep. Henry Cuellar to create a compromise map. This has infuriated fellow Republican Rep. Joe Barton (aka Smokey Joe), who insists that at least three if not all four of the new seats be Republican-favored. And folks, the cat fud is real. Sayeth Politico:

Barton has harshly criticized Smith during Texas GOP delegation meetings, launching a profanity-laced tirade at Smith during one session early last month, and he’s privately tried to oust Smith as the lead Republican negotiator on redistricting.

Politico’s sources say that Smith is still favored among members of his own party, but that Gov. Rick Perry may be leaning toward Barton. Perry’s alleged plan is to skip DoJ pre-clearance and go directly to federal court, perhaps hoping for a friendly conservative panel (backstopped by an unquestionably conservative Supreme Court), so that could turn Barton’s dream into a reality… but I still think it’s a serious stretch. The piece also reports that proposed maps have been circulated among Republicans, but of course, no one’s sharing any copies.

Redistricting Michigan in 2010

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Redistricting Michigan

This is my attempt at a Michigan Democratic gerrymander. Assuming they can hold the Governors mansion and win back the state senate. I looked up the political data and calculated the results for each district. My map ends up giving Peters and Schauer more Democratic districts. It most likely gets rid of Rogers, Camp, and McCotter and gives the Dems a pickup opportunity in the 2nd in an open seat or against a freshmen Republican that voted 54.6 for Obama.

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District 1 – Bart Stupak(D-Menominee)

Stays Pretty much the same picks up Grand Traverse County and loses its area of Bay County

Voted 49.60-48.49 Obama

District 2 – Open/Hoekstra replacement

Loses its Republican areas to the south and picks up Bay County and some of the small counties inbetween

Voted 54.67-43.55 Obama

District 3 – Open/Hoekstra replacement

Loses Grand Rapids and picks up the surronding republican areas

Voted 57.3-40.93 McCain

District 4 – John Dingell(D-Dearborn)

The problem with my map is John Dingell doesnt live in the 4th he lives in the 14th(Conyers). So unless he retires or agrees to move the easiest solution would be to swap areas with the 11th and 14th and have Dingell run against McCotter. With the 11th, 13th, 14th expanding the new 4th takes in little of Wayne County and now takes in Hillsdale County, Lenawee County, more of Wastenaw County and some of Oakland County.

Voted 56.43-41.95 Obama

District 5 – Dale Kildee(D-Flint) vs Mike Rogers(R-Howell)

Loses Saginaw and Bay City to break up the republicans gerrymander and picks up Shiawassee County and Livingston County to balance out heavy democratic Flint

Voted 56.59-41.7 Obama

District 6 – Vern Ehlers(R-Grand Rapids) vs Fred Upton(R-St Joseph)

Switches population centers from Kalamazoo to Grand Rapids to pack republicans into the 3rd. Becomes slighty less Democratic

Voted 52.79-45.58 Obama

District 7 – Mark Schauer(D-Battle Creek)

Loses Hillsdale, Lenawee, and Eaton Counties. Picks up Kalamazoo, Cass, and St Joseph. Becomes slighty more Democratic.

Voted 53.96-44.32 Obama

District 8 – Dave Camp(R-Midland)

Loses Livingston and picks up Eaton and Saginaw to become more Democratic

Voted 58.71-39.71 Obama

District 9 – Gary Peters(D-Bloomfield hills)

Picks up Southfield loses Farmington hills to become more Democratic

Voted 58.38-40.28 Obama

District 10 – Candice Miller(R-Harrison Township)

Miller would no longer live in this district but I assume she wouldnt want to face off against Levin. Becomes slighty more republican.

50.94-47.12 McCain

District 11 – Thaddeus McCotter(R-Livonia)

Picks up Ypsilanti, Romulus, Inkster, and Farmington Hills and loses its republican parts of Oakland County.

Voted 60.44-38.02 Obama

District 12 – Sander Levin(D-Royal Oak)

Loses Southfield and picks up Sterling Heights. Becomes less Democratic

Voted 59.27-38.85 Obama

District 13 – Carolyn Kilpatrick(D-Detroit)

Stays the same but had to expand picks up some areas to the south

51.8% Black

District 14 – John Conyers(D-Detroit)

Picks up the rest of Dearborn and Taylor

52.2% Black