NC Independent Redistricting: UPDATED

The following map was drawn to resemble the potential product of a possible non-partisan independent redistricting commission which has been proposed but unlikely to be implemented in North Carolina.  The goals I had for drawing the districts consisted of geographic compactness, relevant communities of interest without regard to incumbency, and maintaining a VRA-protected black majority district in northern/eastern NC.  Only 13 counties were split, 6 of which were done to draw a VRA district, and I tried to avoid splitting towns where possible.




NC-01 (Blue)     (Open)

70.2% Obama     50.0% Black, 38.8% White

The first district is VRA protected and hence was my starting point since it needed to gain around 100,000 people from its current configuration.  The major change is that the 1st now includes the heavily black portions of Durham and Raleigh and recedes from the coast to avoid splitting counties.  The black voting age population could likely be increased a couple percentage points with precinct level data since the Wake county voting districts are quite large.  This was also the only district which required double-crossing counties, but it is still far more compact than the current version.

Politically, this district is still very heavily Democratic, and although it no longer contains G.K. Butterfield’s home of Wilson he would probably run here.

Safe Democratic

NC-02 (Green)     Renee Ellmers (R-Dunn)

55.2% McCain     70.9% White

The second district becomes much more compact by shredding its arms into Fayetteville and Sampson County and settling around suburban Wake County.  Ellmers would probably like this district since it’s much more Republican, however she is representing a large amount of new territory.  Suburban Wake County was also home to a large amount of the region’s explosive growth as people moved into North Carolina, and the district will likely experience substantial change over 10 years. The same disclaimer for NC-01 goes here though: the Wake County voting districts contain very large amounts of people so precinct data would make the 2nd Whiter since it could trade black population to the 1st.

Safe Republican

NC-03 (Purple)      Walter Jones (R-Farmville) / G.K. Butterfield (D-Wilson)

54.1% McCain     68.6% White, 24.6% Black

As the second part of the map I drew, the 3rd is essentially a complement to the 1st by absorbing its tendrils towards the coast.  The most major changes to the 3rd are that it no longer includes Onslow County and Camp Lejeune while including New Bern and Wilson since it is intended to be a district for the northeastern coast and Outer Banks.  While both Jones and Butterfield live here, Jones would be heavily favored and fairly lucky that he didn’t get drawn into NC-01.  While moderate-to-conservative white Democrats have historically done well in eastern NC, the Democratic primary would contain a large minority voting base which could increase the chances of nominating a minority candidate or someone viewed as too liberal.  Furthermore, Jones has a fair amount of crossover support, likely due to his father’s long tenure as a Democratic rep and his own somewhat heterodox positions.  Lastly, state Dems suffered heavy losses here in 2010, which could signal the rise of more party polarization among whites.

Safe Republican

NC-04 (Red)     David Price (D-Chapel Hill) / Brad Miller (D-Raleigh)

61.1% Obama     70.4% White, 14.2% Black

The 4th district trades large amounts of Wake County among neighboring districts so that it contains the rest of Raleigh and Durham, in addition to Chapel Hill and most of Cary.  Like the 2nd, this district contains some of the highest-growth parts of the state, but unlike the second would have a very large proportion of white liberals.  A Democrat is virtually guaranteed to win here, but since both Price and Miller have a large part of their base in the district it would be interesting to see who would emerge from a primary, although it is possible that Price would retire instead.

Safe Democratic

NC-05 (Yellow)     Virginia Foxx (R-Banner Elk)

59.1% McCain     84.1% White

The 5th is largely unchanged from the current district but on the whole moves slightly westward to accommodate the changes to the 10th.  It still contains about half of Winston-Salem which only makes up a fifth of the total district.  Unfortunately, this means that Virginia Foxx could and would win here.

Safe Republican

NC-06 (Teal)     Larry Kissell (D-Biscoe)

60.6% McCain     79.2% White

The 6th was drawn to constitute represent small town/rural central NC and therefore loses its large portions of Guilford County.  The largest city in the new 6th is now Burlington with 50,000 people and the next two largest cities are around half that size.  While Kissell is drawn into the district, it’s much more likely that he would run in the neighboring 8th if he ran at all and that Howard Coble would run here since it contains a decent portion of his current district.  In the event that Coble retired, a Republican would have little trouble holding this seat.

Safe Republican

NC-07 (Gray)     (Open)

54.7% McCain     72.4% White, 17.6% Black

The new 7th was drawn to include the southernmost portion of the NC coast and as a result contains Wilmington, Jacksonville, and then Goldsboro at the northern end since I thought it more appropriately belonged to eastern NC than to a Raleigh metro area district.  Mike McIntyre might consider running here since he already represents Wilmington and over half the total district. Like the 3rd, this district contains areas which have been friendly to conservative white Democrats, so McIntyre wouldn’t be completely screwed, but would still be facing a very difficult challenge.

Likely Republican

NC-08 (Slate)     Mike McIntyre (D-Lumberton)

55.8% Obama     48.2% White, 32.3% Black, 8.8% Native, 7.3% Hispanic

The 8th district changes significantly by losing Charlotte and becoming anchored around Fayetteville and Robeson County, which contains McIntyre’s home of Lumberton.  This district forms a better community of interest for inland southeastern NC and also has a significant minority presence due to a large black and Native American population.  Mike McIntyre wouldn’t stand a chance here though since he’s far too conservative for a 56% Obama district and would likely face a challenge from a minority/liberal Democrat.  Larry Kissell on the other hand might be able to win here since it contains a majority of the current 8th and Kissell probably has more credibility to move to the left than McIntyre would.  Regardless of who wins the eventual primary barring a Coakley repeat, Democrats would be heavily favored.

Safe Democratic

NC-09 (Cyan)     (Open)

59.6% McCain     77.5% White

The 9th changes significantly by moving out of almost all of Charlotte proper and instead forms around the suburbs and exurbs to the east and north of the city.  As drawn, this district had the most growth of any over the past 10 years and will probably continue to see significant growth as the Charlotte metro area grows.  Sue Myrick technically lives in Charlotte, but she would probably have no trouble running and winning here despite half the territory being new.

Safe Republican

NC-10 (Magenta)     Patrick McHenry (R-Cherryville)

62.3% McCain     81.9% White

The biggest change to the 10th is that it now includes all of Gastonia and Appalachian territory to the 5th and 11th.  The core of the district is a bit more southwestern Piedmont NC now than Appalachian, but still contains elements of both.  Like with Virginia Foxx, McHenry is essentially still representing his own seat due to geographic constraints.

Safe Republican

NC-11 (Chartreuse)     Heath Shuler (D-Waynesville)

52.2% McCain     88.9% White

The 11th undergoes the least change of all the districts since it is tucked into a corner.  The only changes include the addition of Mitchell County and more of Rutherford County.  As a result, this district stays fairly swingy, but Shuler should have a strong advantage due to his incumbency and conservatism.

Likely D with Shuler

Tossup/Tilt R if Open

NC-12 (Steel Blue)     Mel Watt (D-Charlotte) / Sue Myrick (R-Charlotte)

66.4% Obama     48.1% White, 33.5% Black, 11.7% Hispanic

Nearly everyone who’s learned of gerrymandering in civics class in the last 20 years knows of the infamous NC-12 (though usually in the context of it helping Democrats… yeah, I’m not sure how that still happens either).  Well fear no more, the arm up I-85 is gone!  The 12th is not a legally mandated VRA district and thus can avoid worrying about retrogression.  The district now contains almost all of Charlotte proper in addition to the western edge of Mecklenburg County.  It’s still majority minority, but plurality white.  However, this district grew significantly from 2000-2010 and went from 55.9% to 44.2% white by total population.  Anyway, Mel Watt should be pretty well situated to win here if he can avoid a primary challenge; only 1/3rd of the district is currently in the 12th, but it consists mostly of black Democrats who form Watt’s base.

Safe Democratic

NC-13 (Salmon)     Howard Coble (R-Summerfield)

57.6% Obama     58.3% White, 31.0% Black, 6.5% Hispanic

The 13th is essentially a different district, and here it gives the Triad its own district since the 12th is now removed.  Since I wanted to make the 5th and 6th as compact as I could without having them surround the 13th, I ended up splitting Winston-Salem and giving the more minority heavy parts to the 13th.  An alternative drawing places all of Winston, High Point, and Greensboro in the 13th and has the 5th and 6th readjust to take in Rockingham and Caswell counties plus rural/suburban Guilford, but I felt that this was too much of a gerrymander and it also splits another county.  In any event, Coble stands no chance here and probably calls it quits, but since he has supposedly forsworn his House pension and retirement benefits, he might run in the 6th instead.  Democrats should easily hold this version of the 13th.

Safe Democratic

Alternate NC-5/6/13:

NC-05 62.3% McCain

NC-06 60.2% McCain

NC-13 60.3% Obama


The likely result:  5D – 7R – 1(Shuler)



Overall the district lines have become much cleaner, especially in eastern NC.  All but 3 of the seats are practically safe for the incumbent party, and the likely partisan change in the near-term results in Republicans picking up the 7th district.  From a compactness standpoint, the districts correlate fairly clearly to distinct communities of interest, especially in Eastern NC, and Charlotte and the Triad get their ‘own’ seats.  Again, the black % of the 1st can be increased with a more precise mapping tool since the Wake County voting districts are huge.

What I really liked about this map was the division of southeastern and coastal NC since they constitute pretty coherent communities of interest.  Additionally, both the 7th and 3rd contain areas where moderate to conservative Democrats performed fairly well, although Dems lost several statehouse seats there in 2008, but the partisan numbers for Obama/McCain are somewhat misleading since he significantly underperformed Kay Hagan in 2008.  Therefore, Dems would have a decent chance to win the 7th with a strong moderate candidate in the right environment, but barring a McIntyre upset in 2012, and thus continued incumbency, would still be the definite underdogs.  Regardless, the coastal area is likely a region where Democrats are losing their influence due to increasing ideological and race-based voting polarization.

Lastly, this map goes to show how even an independent or non-partisan map still has its obvious downside since it’s very easy to pack in Democrats in urban areas, and is among other reasons why I think it’s preferable to have some mix of proportional representation.  An independent commission wouldn’t pass the General Assembly either since Republicans now have full control of the process, but it is nonetheless interesting to create a theoretically commission-drawn map.


Per suggestions by user displacedyankdem I redrew the map to feature a rural NC-01 that doesn’t include any of Raleigh or Durham… and it ends up being pretty ridiculous, which leads me to think that it would have to contain either Durham or Raleigh.  But here it is with two different configurations for Fayetteville:



In both versions the 4th is now a Chapel Hill, Durham, Chatham County/Southern Wake County district, while the 13th is Raleigh and Cary.  The Triad is now the 8th due to that district being eliminated.  The 1st also meanders down the entire eastern interior of the state to find black voters, and it’s still only 50% VAP black.  The 3rd is now the entire coast north of Wilmington.  For these districts, the major change is that the 3rd becomes significantly whiter and more Republican while the Dem friendly district based in the southeast moves to form a third Dem district further north.

The variation between these two maps comes from Fayetteville; I had wanted to draw the 7th as a New Hanover, Robeson, and Cumberland County based district, but Fayetteville had too much population for that so in the first version it’s split while in the second it’s all given to the 2nd district.  The split version makes the 7th 51.7% Obama and the 2nd 58.8% McCain, while the second version the 7th is 53.7% McCain and the 2nd is 52.1% McCain.  Mike McIntyre would probably be all right in the version where his district contains Fayetteville, but would likely have a tough time in the other version.

Anyway, this all goes to show how difficult it is to draw a VRA district without including one of the major cities since North Carolina’s black population is so diffuse.

By what margin will Bob Shamansky win?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

NC gop 9-4 with 4 Majority-Minority Districts

So I finally registered on SSP and this map is my first posting of North Carolina. It’s intended to result in 9 safe GOP districts, all of which are 57% McCain or above, and 4 safe majority-minority Dem districts, two of which are plurality VAP black.



From East to West:





Finally, a close up of the Triangle and the Triad:



All districts are within 500 of ideal population as follows:

Obama/McCain       White/Black/Hispanic/Asian/Native/other

NC-1 (Blue)        G.K. Butterfield (D)

67.5-32.0        40.9/47.8/7.4/1.7/0.7/1.5

The 1st loses a bit of the coastal region but the only major change is a snaking addition into Raleigh to pick up heavily Democratic and minority voters so as to have enough population.

Safe Democratic

NC-2 (Green)        Renee Ellmers (R), Larry Kissell (D)/Mike McIntyre (D)

40.7-58.4        69.3/15.2/9.5/2.5/1.6/2.0

The 2nd undergoes significant changes as it loses area in Raleigh proper and the counties to the northeast and gains heavily Republican territory to the south and west from the current 7th and 8th districts.  Ellmers should be safe here barring a primary challenge from another Republican, but seeing as how she’s very conservative this shouldn’t be a huge problem for her. Incidentally, Kissell’s home in Biscoe and possibly McIntyre’s in Lumberton have both been placed into the 2nd.

Safe Republican

NC-3 (Purple)        Walter Jones (R)

40.8-58.3        76.5/14.6/5.5/1.1/0.4/1.8

The 3rd loses its appendage towards Wilson and Rocky Mount and gains one snaking down the rest of the coast to include Republican friendly territory from the current 7th. Jones’ district becomes slightly more Democratic but that shouldn’t be much of a problem for him.

Safe Republican

NC-4 (Red)        David Price (D)

77.4-21.8        41.6/37.9/11.9/5.9/0.4/2.2

The 4th loses all of the southern 3rd and northwestern section of Wake County and instead bisects it to pick up heavily Democratic and minority voters.  The most radical change to the 4th, and what makes this configuration so devastating, is that it extends an arm across Alamance and Guilford counties, picking up very heavily minority and Democratic territory from Greensboro and High Point and in the process screwing over Brad Miller. The 4th is one of the most Democratic districts in the South and would be one of the most Democratic MMD to elect a white Democrat.

Safe Democratic

NC-5 (Yellow)        Virginia Foxx (R)

41.2-57.6        80.7/9.0/7.0/1.6/0.2/1.5

The 5th loses territory around Winston Salem and the counties to the north and west while trading territory with the 11th around Marion, Lenoir, and Hickory.  The district also adds territory in northern Mecklenburg.  Virginia Foxx might have some difficulty here since the 5th has become a moderate amount more Democratic and undergoes a moderate to large change in territory, however this is due to her weakness as a candidate.  Even Foxx should be all right here, and a generic R will have little to no trouble.

Safe Republican

NC-6 (Teal)        Howard Coble (R)

41.0-57.9        75.6/12.8/7.8/1.9/0.4/1.5

The 6th keeps most of its base in Greensboro and suburban Guilford county while the only substantial changes include trading Moore for Chatham county and taking in some outer heavily Democratic precincts in Guilford so that the surrounding Republicans can be shored up. I accidentally drew Coble out of the 6th since he actually lives in Summerfield, but that shouldn’t really be a problem since he’s represented much of the district for decades and probably won’t serve that many more terms anyway. It will probably trend a little Democratic over the decade but should be safe for Coble or any other country club Republican.

Safe Republican

NC-7 (Gray)        Open/Mike McIntyre (D)

63.3-36.0        41.0/37.2/9.5/1.5/8.2/2.6

And here is where the fun begins. I could have just done an 8-3-2 map leaving Shuler and McIntyre in competitive districts, or another configuration of 9-4, but after playing around with DRA a little, I realized it was possible to draw a 4th (heavily gerrymandered) majority-minority district in southeastern NC. So here goes:

The 7th loses most of the whiter parts of its current configuration and adds minority heavy areas to the north in Goldsboro and to the west in territory from the current 8th. Fayetteville is now almost entirely within the 7th. All but one voting block within Mike McIntyre’s hometown of Lumberton is included in the 7th, but that is pretty much irrelevant because McIntyre wouldn’t last two seconds in a primary here seeing as how the district is significantly more Democratic than the current 7th.

Overall, the only reason the GOP would consider allowing for this configuration is that it unambiguously removes Kissell and protects Ellmers and Myrick, but at the cost of securing a seat for a significantly more liberal Democrat than McIntyre.

Safe Democratic

NC-8 (Steel Blue)        Open

40.7-58.4        68.3/18.2/9.5/1.6/0.4/1.9

The 8th here bears no resemblance to the current district and reflects just how screwed Larry Kissell would be since the surrounding districts have gobbled up the entirety of his district.  The new 8th stretches from Wake to Onslow county and is composed mostly of territory from the current 2nd and 3rd. Before 2010 there would have been the chance for a Mike McIntyre clone the right type of Democrat to win here, but Dems got absolutely slaughtered here in 2010 and have a bit of a weak bench.

Safe Republican

NC-9 (Cyan)        Sue Myrick (R)

40.4-58.7        75.8/11.3/8.6/2.4/0.3/1.6

Due to population gains the 9th had to shed a lot of territory and does so by losing all of its area in Gaston and northern Mecklenburg counties.  Since the 9th showed quite a large shift in voting patterns between 04 and 08 I added more conservative territory from the dead carcass of Larry Kissell’s 8th district with the 9th now containing blood red territory to the east of Charlotte.  This district should be safe for Myrick, but it would be interesting to see how it trends over the whole decade due to large gains in population.

Safe Republican

NC-10 (Magenta)        Patrick McHenry (R)

41.9-57.1        78.1/11.4/6.2/2.3/0.3/1.6

The 11th changes significantly in order to allow Republicans to remove Shuler in the neighboring 11th. The district picks up the remnants of the old 9th in Gaston County and reaches an arm into Ashville to annex the majority of its Democratic base.  To compensate for this lunge towards the left, the 10th district trades Democratic leaning Hickory, Lenoir, and Morganton to the 5th in exchange for more dyed-in-the-wool Republicans.  The district becomes significantly more Democratic from extremely safe Republican to just pretty safe Republican, but McHenry now represents a lot of new territory and could be vulnerable to a primary challenge.

Safe Republican

NC-11 (Chartreuse)        Heath Shuler (D)

41.7-57.0        87.6/3.9/5.0/0.7/1.4/1.6

Ah, the other beauty of this map. Since the 9th is able to shift east unhindered by Larry Kissell’s 8th, the 10th is able to also shift east, which provides ultra conservative territory for the 11th to pick up. Ashville and Marion are almost entirely removed from the 11th which deprives Shuler of Democratic base voters, however it is plausible that his appeal to conservative-leaning Dems and Indies could provide a path to victory. Generic R would be heavily favored against Shuler and all but guaranteed against a Generic D.

Likely Republican vs. Shuler

Safe Republican vs. Generic D

NC-12 (Medium Blue)        Mel Watt (D)

73.2-26.1        35.3/43.1/15.3/3.9/0.3/2.1

The 12th loses all of Greensboro, High Point, and Thomasville, but picks up large parts of eastern Charlotte from the old 8th.  There’s nothing else but some minor changes, such as not hugging the county line between Charlotte and Winston-Salem to free up extra Republican voters. There’s no point in crying about not splitting towns and counties when it doesn’t constitute a back door veto on a Democratic gerrymander. Republicans have stated that they won’t draw anything like the current 8th, but it still remains an effective vote sink when drawn from Charlotte to Winston-Salem.

Safe Democratic

NC-13 (Salmon)        Open/Brad Miller (D)

42.0-57.0        77.8/13.0/5.9/1.6/0.3/1.4

Karma has it out for Brad Miller with this map, although pretty much any GOP effort guarantees he’s finished, which is quite a shame.  The 13th loses all of its heavily democratic territory in Greensboro, Burlington, and Cary, and most of it in Raleigh in exchange for the most GOP-friendly parts of northern Wake County. Additionally, the 13th moves westward to pick up large amounts of territory from the 5th by extending across to Yadkin County. Since I didn’t know exactly where Brad Miller lives in central Raleigh, it’s possible he lives in either the 1st or the 13th, but that’s utterly irrelevant since the 13th no longer contains his urban bases in Wake and Guilford counties.

Safe Republican

Intended result:



Republicans shore up all of their incumbents, most importantly Ellmers and Myrick, while dividing up fast growing Wake and Mecklenburg counties among various buffered districts. Brad Miller, Larry Kissell, and Mike McIntyre are dead men walking. Miller gets replaced by a conservative Republican, Kissell has no district and a conservative Republican wins the new 8th to the east. McIntyre is defeated in the primary by a much more liberal, minority Democrat if he runs in the new 7th. Heath Shuler likely loses to a Republican without the Democratic base in Ashville. Furthermore, by removing Shuler, Kissell, and McIntyre in 2012 the GOP prevents a statewide challenge from a moderate-to-conservative Democratic sitting congressman in 2016.

This configuration is made entirely possible by its four majority minority Dem vote sinks which lock in the 9-4 split, assuming that Shuler loses, for most, if not all of the decade. Additionally, the 4th is a 77%!!!1!1! Obama district yet only 54.2% VAP minority, and is an ambitious radical, socialist, atheist Marxist’s Democrat’s wet dream.

Now… obviously this map would draw myriad lawsuits after all of two seconds, and state Republicans have claimed they won’t attempt anything like the current 12th, but they were also clamoring for independent redistricting until they found themselves in the majority. It’s not sleek and pretty, and it could only care a little less about city and county lines, but if this map has any chance of surviving in court then having 9 safe seats is much smarter for the Republicans than having 8 or 10 shaky seats with the added bonus that anyone who won the 4 Dem districts would likely be too liberal to win statewide.

And as an added bonus, North Carolina with 5 majority minority districts:


All are majority minority voting age population, and the first remains majority black, but barely so.

What do you all think?

North Carolina without an I-85 NC-12

I just wish I could see ten different ways of dealing with the Democrats in the Triad, rather than ten different variations that all deal with them the same way: using NC-12.


Two of the most recent NC redistricting diaries have featured roguemapper’s cri de couer against I-85-based NC-12s in their comments. Here, I’m only delivering two different ways of dealing with the Triad Dems instead of ten. I hope the comment section will make up for the missing eight.

The argument against an I-85-based NC-12 is threefold: (1) it was upheld in the courts as a partisan-based and not minority-based gerrymander; (2) creating a minority-majority NC-12 barely requires leaving Charlotte, let alone Mecklenburg County; and (3) state Republicans have said they don’t want one. I’m currently too lazy to source any of those statements and I’m not interested in arguing them. My purpose is to discuss North Carolina maps that treat that argument as true. Think about it like a move trailer, if it helps:

(booming movie announcer voice) In a world where North Carolina Republicans are committed to a compact, Charlotte-based, minority-majority NC-12… (/booming movie announcer voice)

I’m presenting two maps here. One is an  unaggressive and therefore unlikely map that cuts out Kissell but gives the Democrats a new district in the Triad. (It’s also got retrogression issues.) I’m posting it because I think it’s an interesting baseline for what a minimally gerrymandered map could look like. There’s a grand total of ten counties statewide that are split between two or more districts. The other is an extremely aggressive map which creates 10 McCain districts.

Pictures and discussion are after the jump.

(Note: I don’t generally like changing colors, because I’m used to the defaults and I assume others are too. But there are too many blues in the first 13 colors for a NC map. On the first map, NC-08 is Beige. On the second map, NC-12 is Beige.)

Map One

Not much to say about this one. It’s my best attempt to use county integrity as my first priority, with partisan effects as my second. All six Republicans should be fine in districts that McCain carried by at least 9 points by at least 5 pts. Correction: The preceding sentence was incorrect. My 8PVI rating means that McCain did at least 9 pts better than he did nationally in all six Republican districts, but that only means that he won them by at least 5 points, not 9. The seven Democrats have a more varied range of impacts. Shuler and Miller are in districts that are about one point more McCain-friendly. McIntyre’s district gets a seven point boost in Obama-friendliness. Kissell’s district is axed and relocated to the Triad. Miller and Watt hold steady.

NC-01, obviously, would be contentious. There are retrogression concerns in having it become majority-white in terms of VAP (total population it’s merely plurality white). It’s also lost about six points worth of Obama-friendliness. Something like this would require a Republican legislature that’s willing to test the bounds what the courts will let them get away with. If they were willing to adopt the rest of the map (not likely), some playing around with borders of NC-01 and NC-03 should be able to result in better districts for both Jones and Butterfield and satisify retrogression concerns.  (Note that this map has Jones drawn out of his district.)

I don’t actually endorse this version of NC-01 — again, this particular map is meant to be a baseline for county-integrity. This is important primarily because the Republicans in charge of redistricting have been talking a big game about a clean map. I wanted something to be able to compare to their eventual map.

Map Two

There should be more to say about this one, since it is an actual proposal. But I’m tired, so I’m going to let the pictures tell most of the story. This is, ostensibly, a 10-3 map. Note that is a fairly clean map as well, with a total of 19 counties split between two or more districts.

The three Democratic districts are Durham + the core of the old First, Greensboro + Chapel Hill + downtown Raleigh, and Charlotte. Foxx’s district is red enough to absorb all of Winston-Salem easily. McHenry’s is likewise red enough to absorb Asheville.

I’ve lumped two incumbent Democrats into one uber-Democratic seat in the north and two incumbent Democrats into one fairly-Republican seat in the south. I’m curious how the primary process would play out in this NC-04.

There are two new Republican open seats. Note how evenly spread Republican strength is — all in the McCain +7 to +12 range.

Update: Re-reading my diary, I realized that I incorrectly described the meaning of my 8PVI rating. I’ve struck through and corrected a sentence up in the Map One section. 8PVI is based on Cook PVI but only uses 2008 voting data. It’s a measure of how much better Obama or McCain did in a jurisdiction than they did nationwide. The nationwide balance was 53.5 Obama to 46.5 McCain. So O+10 means Obama won a jurisdiction 63.5 to 36.5. M+5 means McCain won a jurisdiction 51.5 to 48.5.

By what margin will Bob Shamansky win?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

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

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

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

NC-01 (blue)

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

NC-02 (green)

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

NC-03 (purple)

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

NC-04 (red)

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

NC-05 (yellow)

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

NC-06 (teal)

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

NC-07 (grey)

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

NC-08 (slate blue)

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

NC-09 (cyan)

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

NC-10 (magenta)

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

NC-11 (chartreuse)

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

NC-12 (cornflower blue)

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

NC-13 (salmon)

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

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

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

NC-01 (blue)

No change from previous map. Safe Democratic.

NC-02 (green)

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

NC-03 (purple)

No change here. Safe Republican.

NC-04 (red)

No change here. Safe Democratic.

NC-05 (yellow)

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

NC-06 (teal)

No change here. Likely Republican.

NC-07 (grey)

No change here. Likely Republican.

NC-08 (slate blue)

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

NC-09 (cyan)

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

NC-10 (magenta)

No change here. Safe Republican.

NC-11 (chartreuse)

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

NC-12 (orange)

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

NC-13 (salmon)

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

North Carolina: 9-4 GOP edge

As with Texas, it’s possible that I’m using circa-2008 estimates rather than real 2010 Census figures, but given the accuracy of past approximations I doubt the district lines would look terribly different if I drew them using real Census data. I did this so election stats could be included.

Basically, the Republicans can draw up to a 9-4 map in North Carolina, should everything go right and as long as they don’t mind drawing lines even uglier than the Democrats drew ten years ago.

Read below the fold…

This map would protect Renee Ellmers and target Larry Kissell, Brad Miller, and Heath Shuler for defeat. Patrick McHenry would have to accept some new Democrats in Asheville, as would Sue Myrick in Charlotte and Howard Coble in Greensboro.

Here it is in all its revolting glory:


District 1 (brown) – G.K. Butterfield (D)

Demographics: 48% black, 45% white

2008 Vote: Obama 62-37

Geography: western coastal plain

Unfortunately, I did not see an easy way to get the black % over 50, though I might have missed something obvious. In any case, it is still VRA-protected and still heavily Democratic.

District 2 (green) – Renee Ellmers (R)

Demographics: 66% white, 21% black

2008 Vote: McCain 54-45

Geography: clockwise from Danville to Raleigh to Fayetteville

In most states this would be an unusually ugly district, but to create a 9-4 GOP map in 50-50 North Carolina took some seriously unaesthetic boundaries. Compared to the 6th, 12th, and 13th, this one isn’t even so bad, and it should be effective at reelecting Ellmers even against a reasonably strong Democrat (remember, 54-45 McCain is equivalent to roughly 60-39 Bush in 2004).

District 3 (purple) – Walter Jones (R)

Demographics: 76% white, 16% black

2008 Vote: McCain 61-38

Geography: eastern coastal plain, barrier islands

Not much changed, and still a strong GOP seat. I thought about diluting this one to hurt Mike McIntyre, but there are enough Democrats in Fayetteville and Wilmington that it was not practical to crack his seat along with Kissell’s in the southern part of the state.

District 4 (red) – David Price (D)

Demographics: 51% white, 30% black

2008 Vote: Obama 74-25

Geography: Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill

A compact Democratic vote-sink, meant to help Renee Ellmers and hurt Brad Miller. Likely one of the most liberal seats in the South under this map.

District 5 (yellow) – Virginia Foxx (R)

Demographics: 81% white, 10% black

2008 Vote: McCain 59-40

Geography: Appalachians and Piedmont Triad

This remains the most Republican of the western seats, and Foxx should have no trouble getting reelected for the rest of the decade.

District 6 (turquoise) – Howard Coble (R)

Demographics: 73% white, 15% black

2008 Vote: McCain 54-45

Geography: Kannapolis, Greensboro, Durham

Talk about a meandering district! This one is “gerrymandered” to be GOP-leaning but not the GOP vote sink that it has been in the 2000s. It sheds strong GOP areas near Greensboro to the 13th and those in the south to the 8th.

District 7 (grey) – Mike McIntyre (D)

Demographics: 57% white, 27% black

2008 Vote: Obama 54-45

Geography: Fayetteville, Lumberton, Wilmington

Not quite a Democratic vote-sink, but a reasonably Dem-leaning seat in the south, ceding its Republican areas to the 8th. I figure that if GOP mapmakers see that they must choose between saving Kissell or McIntyre, they will pick McIntyre due to his 8-term seniority and the loose cannon tendencies of likely candidate Ilario Pantano. In a particularly Republican year they might pick this one up anyway, and especially aggressive party folk have not yet conceded that they can’t unhinge both Kissell and McIntyre.

District 8 (lavender) – Larry Kissell (D)

Demographics: 66% white, 21% black

2008 Vote: McCain 54-46

Geography: Charlotte, High Point, Fayetteville

I wanted to make sure Kissell would lose, and thus did just about everything possible to add Republican areas to a district that, flanked by Charlotte and Fayetteville, really shouldn’t be Republican. Now his district is every bit as conservative as Myrick’s to the west.

District 9 (cyan) – Sue Myrick (R)

Demographics: 78% white, 12% black

2008 Vote: McCain 54-46

Geography: Charlotte, Gastonia

Myrick hopefully won’t mind giving up some conservative turf in her fast-growing district to help her party defeat Kissell.

District 10 (fuchsia) – Patrick McHenry (R)

Demographics: 82% white, 10% black

2008 Vote: McCain 58-41

Geography: Asheville, Hickory, Gastonia

McHenry splits liberal Asheville with Shuler to hurt the latter’s reelection prospects. He should still be plenty safe, however.

District 11 (light green) – Heath Shuler (D)

Demographics: 89% white, 4% black

2008 Vote: McCain 55-44

Geography: Appalachians and Asheville

Cracking Asheville moved this district several points in the Republican direction, perhaps enough so to derail Shuler; though he’s proven resilient until now, remember that 55-44 McCain is equivalent to a Bush ’04 % in the low 60s.

District 12 (white) – Mel Watt (D)

Demographics: 47% black, 36% white

2008 Vote: Obama 72-28

Geography: meanders from Winston-Salem and Greensboro down to Charlotte

It seems impossible to draw a black-majority seat in North Carolina anymore, but this one is decidedly VRA-protected and now arguably not even the ugliest district in the state (the 6th is worse, I think).

District 13 (peach) – Brad Miller (D)

Demographics: 76% white, 14% black

2008 Vote: McCain 53-46

Geography: Greensboro, Raleigh, northern border

Turnabout is fair play, and Miller’s gerrymander will now be turned against him as his most reliable Democratic voters are soaked up by Price’s 4th and Coble’s 6th. Again, 53-46 is not a huge spread but Obama ’08 may have been a relative high watermark. Miller’s liberal reputation will not serve him well either.

In sum, Kissell and Miller should be toast, and I doubt Shuler could make it with a divided Asheville. While a lawsuit is inevitable, I doubt the courts would intervene; precedent says that lines can be ugly as long as they are not racial gerrymanders.  

NC, NE, and KS: Population by CD

Of the states rolled out in this week’s Census 2010 releases, North Carolina is by far the most interesting one. North Carolina narrowly missed out on a 14th seat, so it’s staying at 13; its target is 733,499, up from about 619K in 2000. Unsurprisingly, the big gains come in the Charlotte and Raleigh metropolitan areas, with NC-09 in Charlotte’s suburbs and NC-04 in Durham and Chapel Hill both well past the 800K mark. (The 9th is represented by GOPer Sue Myrick, although the state’s district that shifted the sharpest to the left from Kerry to Obama, while the 4th belongs to Dem David Price and is the bluest white-majority district in the state.) NC-01 on the coastal plain, one of the nation’s few truly rural African-American-majority seats, gained the least, followed by the three mostly-rural Appalachian-flavored seats (NC-05, NC-10, and NC-11).

How this shakes out for redistricting is complicated, because Republicans control the process for the first time ever and will want to undo a pretty Dem-friendly map from 2000… but without getting too greedy. What may be their first task, shoring up newly-elected Renee Elmers in what’s currently a swing district, may be made easier by the fact the mostly-suburban/exurban 2nd will probably need to give a lot of its African-American population in Raleigh proper to the next-door 1st in order to preserve the dwindling 1st’s black-majority VRA status. But since the 2nd didn’t grow that fast, it’ll then need to look elsewhere to grab some enough white votes to replace them… and since the GOP probably won’t want those to be liberal transplants in the Research Triangle area, they may need to reach south into the 3rd or 7th instead.

I could see that in turn pushing Dem Mike McIntyre’s 7th further west into Fayetteville and south central rural counties, keeping his district swingy, while also pushing Larry Kissell’s 8th further west too, probably giving him a heaping helping of dark-red Charlotte suburbs and making him the likeliest Dem to get targeted for extinction. But the GOP has many, many ways to play this (see the Aaron Blake article linked above), and this isn’t the only scenario.

District Population Deviation
NC-01 635,936 (97,563)
NC-02 741,576 8,077
NC-03 735,979 2,480
NC-04 826,878 93,379
NC-05 693,414 (40,085)
NC-06 714,412 (19,087)
NC-07 742,938 9,439
NC-08 709,449 (24,050)
NC-09 852,377 118,878
NC-10 689,468 (44,031)
NC-11 703,606 (29,893)
NC-12 736,346 2,847
NC-13 753,104 19,605
Total: 9,535,483

The other two multi-district states are much more clear cut and present similar profiles: in both Nebraska and Kansas, the big empty western districts need to expand greatly, and the urban/suburban districts need to shed population. The GOP controls the processes in both states; the only real intrigue might be whether they try to get fancy and crack the only-slightly-red Omaha-area NE-02 and Kansas City-area KS-03 to make them safer Republican seats. The target in Nebraska is 608,780, up from 570K in 2000. (Notice how low that is… Nebraska seems right at the top of the list for a lost seat in 2020.) In Kansas, the target is 713,280, up from 672K in 2000.

District Population Deviation
NE-01 626,092 17,312
NE-02 638,871 30,091
NE-03 561,378 (47,402)
Total: 1,826,341

District Population Deviation
KS-01 655,310 (57,970)
KS-02 710,047 (3,233)
KS-03 767,569 54,289
KS-04 720,192 6,912
Total: 2,853,118

(MI, NC, IL) Redistricting Potpourri

This diary presents potential redistricting maps for Michigan, North Carolina, and Illinois. It also carries the ulterior motive of the following bleg:

I’ve started working on two related projects for Michigan for Dave’s App. I’m collating partisan data and renaming the voting districts by municipality name and precinct number. (Currently, Michigan’s voting districts are named using a 14 digit code.) I could use the following three forms of help:

1. I need a precinct map for the city of Detroit. This is looking ahead a bit, because Detroit is the final portion of the state I intend to work on, but it would really help. My Google-fu has failed me thus far.

2. In order to enable collaboration (see third form below), I need to figure out how to get the lines in my copy of vt26_d00.csv sorted by county and voting district number. The vt26_d00_data.csv file is already sorted like this, but its counterpart is somewhat helter-skelter. The solution that occured to me was to try sorting it using OpenOffice Calc (my only spreadsheet program), but that immediately lost leading zeroes, which breaks the CSV file. Any ideas out there?

3. Actual collaboration in collating and renaming. I’m currently going through the counties alphabetically. After two-ish weeks of sporadic effort, I just finished the H’s with Huron County. (On to Lansing’s Ingham County next!) That’s about 19% of the state population. Doing Flint’s Genessee County took most of the day yesterday, and I’m fairly frightened of Kent/Macomb/Oakland/Washtenaw/Wayne. Even if you’re just interested in helping with some of the smaller, easier counties, I’d be grateful. If you’re willing and interested, send me an email at my user name at so that I can send you information about the conventions I’ve been using. Also, post a comment letting me know you emailed me — it’s a secondary email that I don’t otherwise check.

After the jump, you’ll see the following forms of actual content to assuage my conscience from this bleg:

Michigan: what my partisan map progress looks like so far and a potential Republican gerrymander (an abgin-esque atrocity by Michigan standards)

North Carolina: a Republican map that packs five Democratic incumbents into two districts

Illinois: an oxymoronic “good government” map of Illinois — I’m posting it mostly to show that two majority Hispanic districts in Chicago are easily created and to show off an particular idea for a reconfigured 17th district.

Michigan Partisan Progress So Far

Michigan Republican Gerrymander

Michigan redistricting law heavily discourages county and municipality splitting. This map probably looks tame by most states’ standards, but it’s basically an abgin-esque “finding the limits” map by ours.

The Detroit-Ann Arbor-Flint CMSA

This map has its origins in a comment — I don’t recall which thread — that posited an I-75 district linking together Kildee and Peters. This is my attempt to make that district and show its consequences.

I started by painting in all of Genessee County (I really don’t think you can get away with having a district consisting of only portions of three different counties.) Then I painted in the bare minimum number of people to take in Saginaw City from Saginaw County — no GOP plan is going to saddle one of their representatives with Saginaw. Finally, I snaked down through Oakland County, taking heavily Democratic Pontiac and Peter’s home area of Bloomfield /Bloomfield Hills.  That, as it turns out, is a district. So I started working other districts around it.

End result: Peter’s 9th district has been eliminated by trisection. Its eastern third is now in Miller’s 10th, its central third is in Kildee’s 5th, its western third is in McCotter’s 11th.

I won’t dissect the districts in detail, but suffice it to say that I think this is a fairly successful Detroit-area map for the GOP. McCotter gets majorly shored-up (although he might at primary risk from an Oakland-based politican), Miller probably washes out in trading the Thumb for eastern Oakland, and Peters gets the short end of the reapportionment stick.

Taking a look statewide…

… there are some interesting repercussions, mostly favorable to the Republicans. Starting with one of the pieces of bad news, however, with the 5th and 10th sucked down into the Detroit area, the 4th is forced to cover the Thumb. Dave Camp becomes an incumbent in-name only, with only his home county of Midland and the western portion of Saginaw County overlapping between his current district and this one. I would guess that this district is at least as Republican as his current one, but I’m not entirely sure.

With the 4th swinging east, the 1st gets to pick up the Republican-leaning Traverse City area, mildly shoring up Benishek. The 2nd and 3rd also get pulled north by the 4th’s relocation. That, in turn, allows Upton to take in all of Republican Allegan County and Walberg to newly acquire heavily Republican Barry County — a significant upgrade for him that I’ve been otherwise unable to find. I’m genuinely unsure about how the changes to Roger’s 8th district pan out — he loses Republican northern Oakland, and gains some swingy territory in central Michigan along with fairly Republican (I think) Ionia County.

Summary: This map definitly eliminates a Democratic incumbent. I think it also shores up four Republican incumbents while severely inconveniencing another, with the effects on yet another being unknown.

North Carolina Republican Gerrymander

This map has its origins in SaoMagnifico’s recent Wyoming Rule diary on North Carolina. While composing a counter-suggestion to his proposed map, I discovered that there’s a significant African American population in and around Fayetteville. I’ve seen some insisting that this population could be linked with Raleigh’s to produce a new VRA-seat. My attempts at drawing that district while preserving the current 1st have failed, but it turned out to work well when linked with Charlotte’s African-American population instead.

This is a 7-4-2 Republican/Democratic/swing map.

A quick run-through:

The 1st district (blue) stays more or less in place. VRA: 49% black, 44% white (is this kosher?). 2008: Obama 62%, McCain 37%.

The 2nd district (green) shifts substantially west. Still contains all of Ellmer’s (and Etheridge’s) Harnett County. 2008: McCain 56%, Obama 43%.

The 3rd district (purple) now hugs the coast all the way down to (and including) Wilmington. Incumbent Jones is (barely) drawn outside the lines, but I’ve been told he’s outside the lines already. 2008: McCain 57%, Obama 42%.

The 4th district (red) packs Price and Miller into one uber-Democratic (majority-white) district. 2008: Obama 73%, McCain 26%.

The 5th district (yellow) continues to hug the northwest corner of the state. Foxx now lives in her district. 2008: McCain 60%, Obama 38%.

The 6th district (teal) shifts west. This is kind of like a bizzaro-12th, covering broadly similar territory between Charlotte and Greensboro, but with the intention of being a Republican district instead of an African-American gerrymander. Coble still lives here, I think. If not, he’s close. 2008: McCain 56%, Obama 43%.

The 7th district (grey) is still in the southeast corner of the state, reaching north into the eastern parts of the old 2nd — but it’s been reconfigured to exclude incumbent McIntyre. 2008: McCain 56%, Obama 43%.

The 8th district (slate blue) is the center-piece of this plan. It strings together all three of Watt, Kissell, and McIntyre into a minority-majority district. VRA: 41% black, 35% white, 13% Hispanic. 2008: Obama 66%, McCain 33%.

The 9th district (cyan) now lies exclusively east of Charlotte. So far as I know, Myrick still lives in the district. 2008: McCain 55%, Obama 44%.

The 10th district (magenta) pulls in closer to Charlotte. 2008: McCain 59%, Obama 40%.

The 11th district (lime) stays in place. 2008: McCain 52%, Obama 46%.

The 12th district (cornflower) is a (majority white) Democratic new open seat in the Triad. Effectively, the Republicans get rid of both of McIntyre and Kissell and replace them with a Triad-area Democrat. 2008: Obama 60%, McCain 38%.

The 13th district (salmon) is a swing(!) district surrounding the Triangle. 2008: McCain 50%, Obama 49%.

If not screwing with Shuler is something you can’t see the Republicans doing, here’s an area map for the changes necessary:

(Please ignore the 5th changing colors.]

New stats

5th:  56 Mc / 42 Ob

10th: 57 Mc / 42 Ob

11th: 58 Mc / 42 Ob

Illinois Good-Government Redistricting

This map was drawn to avoid splitting counties and muncipalities — an idea I support in the abstract if not necessarily in practice. I won’t go into detail at all about it, because I don’t feel like I understand Illinois well enough. But I wanted to draw attention to two features to see what people think who do understand Illinois politics. (The 11th and 16th — both green — can be hard to distinguish. DeKalb, LaSalle, and points east are in the 11th.)

Feature one: Here’s the VRA statistics for most of the Cook County districts.

1st (blue) — white 39%, black 53%

2nd (green) — white 26%, black 58%, Hispanic 10%

3rd (purple) — white 75%, Hispanic 16%

4th (red) — white 25%, black 12%, Hispanic 59%

5th (yellow) — white 32%, Hispanic 51%

7th (grey) — white 29%, black 53%, Hispanic 16%

9th (cyan) — white 66%, Asian 13%, Hispanic 12%

Actual census numbers may change this, of course, but 2 VRA Hispanic district seem possible with a miminum of fuss.

Feature two: Note district 17 [dark blue] in the whole-state map above. It links together the Quad Cities, Bloomington-Normal, and Champaign-Urbana. Is this a workable Democratic district?

If not — I’ve gotten the impression that Bloomington-Normal is fairly Republican for a mid-sized city — how about this, which substitutes in Decatur?

North Caryoming: 17 Districts on an Already Ugly Map

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

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

NC-01 (safe Democratic)

41% white, 54% black

66% Obama, 34% McCain

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

NC-02 (swing)

78% white, 12% black

51% Obama, 48% McCain

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

NC-03 (safe Republican)

78% white, 18% black

41% Obama, 58% McCain

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

NC-04 (safe Democratic)

42% white, 44% black, 9% Latino

73% Obama, 26% McCain

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

NC-05 (likely Republican)

69% white, 25% black

45% Obama, 55% McCain

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

NC-06 (safe Republican)

81% white, 11% black

43% Obama, 56% McCain

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

NC-07 (safe Republican)

71% white, 21% black

42% Obama, 57% McCain

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

NC-08 (safe Democratic)

47% white, 33% black, 12% Native

58% Obama, 41% McCain

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

NC-09 (likely Republican)

81% white, 11% black

44% Obama, 55% McCain

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

NC-10 (safe Republican)

85% white, 8% black

41% Obama, 57% McCain

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

NC-11 (safe Republican)

87% white, 7% black

40% Obama, 59% McCain

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

NC-12 (safe Democratic)

38% white, 49% black, 8% Latino

75% Obama, 24% McCain

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

NC-13 (swing)

79% white, 15% black

47% Obama, 52% McCain

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

NC-14 (likely Republican)

90% white, 6% black

43% Obama, 55% McCain

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

NC-15 (swing)

72% white, 18% black

48% Obama, 51% McCain

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

NC-16 (swing)

74% white, 18% black

47% Obama, 52% McCain

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

NC-17 (swing)

78% white, 16% black

47% Obama, 52% McCain

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

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

Redistricting North Carolina

This is my first shot at this, so be gentle 🙂

Meant to create:

1 Heath Shuler: 11

4 blue districts: 1, 4, 7, 12

8 red districts: 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 13…

NC-1 (dark blue): Butterfield (D)

Obama 59%.

Mostly the same as before. The way I drew it, its only plurality black, not majority black. It could probably be tinkered with easily to be majority black though.

NC-2 (bright green): Ellmers (R)

McCain 55%

Loses Raleign and Chatham county, and most of Cumberland county. Picks up some nice R areas elsewhere.

NC-3 (purple): Jones (R)

McCain 58%

Pretty ugly. This was the leftover territory district for me.

NC-4 (red): Price (D)

Obama 72%

Congrats David Price. Obama vote dump. Loses carefully chosen sections of Chatham, Durham, Orange,and holds all of Chapel Hill and Raleigh.

NC-5 (yellow): Foxx (R)

McCain 55%

Absorbs a piece of Guilford county and the Greensboro area. Probably weaker than before.

NC-6 (olive green): Coble? (R)

McCain 55%

Not sure where Coble lives:

Covers most of Davidson, Rowan, Cabarrus, a bit of the Charlotte suburbs, and another piece of Guilford county.

NC-7 (grey): McIntyre (D)

Obama 58%

Another Democratic voting dump. Retains a piece of New Hanover and keeps Fayetville. All these counties voted for Elaine Marshall over Burr for Senate this year.

With a bit of fancier line drawing this can probably hit 60% Obama easily.

NC-8 (purple): Coble (R)

McCain 55%

See 6.

Yields territory to the new 6th and grabs Chatham and a piece of Wake County. Less Repbulican than before. Either 6 or 8 gets a new Republican.

NC-9 (teal): Mynick (R)

McCain 55%

Mostly unchanged.

NC-10 (pink): McHenry (R)

McCain 58%

Absorbs half of Buncombe. Picks up some of the 5ths territory.

NC-11 (bright green): Shuler (D)

McCain 56%

Breaks Buncombe in 2. Grabs some territory from the 5th and 10th. Shuler can win this anyway, though. A future Democrat probably can’t.

NC-12 (pale blue): Watt (D)

Obama 68%

Mostly unchanged. Picks up some more Dem territory at both ends, but maintains the general 2 city and corridor structure. Almost certianly less than 50% white at this point.

A professional could probably hit 70% Obama with this, and shore up the new 6th.

NC-13 (tan): Miller (D)

McCain 55%

Loses most of Raleigh and Greensboro. Grabs all of Alamance county and some areas from the old 2nd.

Designed to knock off Brad Miller.

NC & SC Results Thread

9:20pm: 100% is now reporting in SC-03. Duncan’s sporting a 3% or 2,100 vote lead over Cash, but still no call from the AP after a short delay, the AP has called it for Duncan.

9:00pm: Given that the Ark of the Covenant is in Arizona, Tim D’Annunzio can try his next congressional run there. AP calls NC-08 for Johnson.

8:57pm: Duncan continues to hold his lead over Cash in SC-03; this territory went for Cash narrowly by 0.4% in the first round. This is a swing of 3.7% to Duncan, who needs a swing of 2.3% to win. In NC-08, Johnson continues to whomp D’Annunzio 62-38.

8:47pm: AP calls SC-01 for Tim Scott. He will likely become the first black Republican in Congress since JC Watts left office in 2003.

8:40pm: It’s over for Rep. Bob Inglis – the AP calls it. Trey Gowdy has beaten him soundly. Inglis is the third House incumbent and fifth member of Congress to lose a primary/convention so far this cycle.

8:37pm: Man, maybe SSP HQ needs to take a ganja break this time! The two biggest races have been called (NC-Sen and SC-Gov), and NC-08, SC-01, and SC-04 all look like blowouts. And SC-03 isn’t exactly a barnburner. We may not have much real action until Utah starts coming in later tonight.

8:33pm: Really bad news for fans of Raiders of the Lost Ark: Tim D’Annunzio is getting smashed by Harold Johnson, 68-32, with about 18% reporting. This represents an almost 15% swing to Johnson, which means Timmy D might wind up with a smaller share than in the first round. Pretty pathetic, but if anyone could pull this off, he could.

8:31pm: The one real barnburner tonight might be SC-03, the seat being vacated by gubernatorial loser Gresh Barrett. Duncan leads Cash 52-48 with over half the vote in. This represents a nice swing toward Duncan from round one, though, so it might not wind up being this close in the end.

8:30pm: Yeah, it’s officially official – We Are Marshall. She’ll take on Richard Burr this fall.

8:29pm: Buncha people on Twitter are saying the AP has called NC-Sen for Elaine Marshall. Really gotta wonder what the DSCC was thinking here. Time for them to embrace her fully.

8:22pm: AP calls SC-Gov for Nikki Haley. She’ll face Dem state Sen. Vincent Sheheen in the fall. Unlike in SC-Sen, we definitely got the candidate we wanted in our primary.

8:19pm: Meanwhile, in SC-01, Tim Scott is cruising with a 73-27 lead with a quarter of the voted reporting. Hard to see him losing this one. I guess Paul Thurmond can go commiserate with Ethan Hastert.

8:17pm: With about 30% of the vote in, Nikki Haley is crushing Gresham Barrett 64-36. Gotta wonder what folks like Andre Bauer and the local Chamber of Commerce were thinking.

8:16pm: Terrible sign for Inglis – he’s down 60-40 in his purported “base” of Greenville. He was a dead man walking for the last couple of weeks. Tonight is just the grand finale.

8:11pm: 1% of the vote has trickled in in NC-08, and Harold Johnson leads Tim D’Annunzio 70-30. This represents a 13% swing to Johnson from the first round (based on the two-candidate share of the vote).

8:04pm: True to the Greenville v. Spartanburg divide in SC-04, the one precinct from Greenville in has closed this to 70-30 Gowdy.

8:02pm: Cash has retaken the lead in SC-03 over Duncan narrowly at 50.3-46.7, but this is territory that went for him 26-19 in the first round.

7:59pm: In NC-Sen, Elaine Marshall continues to sport her 64-36 lead over Cal Cunningham. This is territory that went for Marshall 39-30 in the first round. In SC-Gov, Haley’s lead is 62-38 over Barrett; this territory went for her 49-23 in the first round.

7:55pm: In SC-01, Scott’s lead remains an impressive 70-30 over Thrumond. Further west in SC-03, Duncan now has a 52-48 lead over Cash.

7:49pm: Marshall’s lead has ticked up slightly to 64-36 with 6% reporting in NC. Johnson is whomping D’Annunzio 75-25 with two precincts in.

7:47pm: Duncan’s now taken the lead in SC-03, a slim 89-vote lead over Cash.

7:42pm: 1% reporting in North Carolina now, Marshall is up on Cunningham 63-37.

7:30pm: We only have five precincts reporting in South Carolina, and Nikki Haley leads Gresham Barrett by 61-39. In SC-01, Tim Scott leads Paul Thurmond by 67-33, and ice cream truck driver businessman Richard Cash leads state Rep. Jeff Duncan by 54-46 with one precinct counted in SC-03. Trey Gowdy is also crushing Bob Inglis by 85-15 in the early vote.

Polls have now closed in South Carolina. (North Carolina will close at 7:30pm ET.) We’ll be using this thread to follow the returns.