Land of Enchantment, Land of Redistricting

The daily digest from the other day about the Democrats' plans for New Mexico got me thinking about creating my own New Mexico map. My goals in this map were very simple, make NM-01 more Democratic while shoring up Steve Pearce in the south (making Pearce happy with the map makes it harder for Republicans to reject it, especially given that there is a real risk that a court-drawn map makes NM-02 more Democratic, and Pearce is going to have a hard time winning a district that votes for Obama). But having said that, these caveats apply:


1. This map is probably not what a court would draw

2. It's better for Democrats than Republicans (although as I mentioned before it strengthens Steve Pearce, and that probably would at least give Pearce

3. The partisan percentages are only rough estimations, as I had to use the election data from 2008 (with 2000 population) compared to using the actual 2010 census data, as such my partisan numbers might be off somewhat (though probably not enough to make a difference)

Even with these caveats in mind, I still think there is a good chance that Democrats at least try to pass this type of map and try to get Martinez to go along with it by making Steve Pearce happy the maps below the fold:

Format: New stats (old stats)




Pop: 685,912 (-481 dev.)


White: 39.8%/44.6% VAP (41.8%/46.7% VAP)
Hispanic: 47.2%/43% VAP (48.2%/43.7% VAP)
Native American: 6.6%/6.3% VAP (3.6%/3.5% VAP)

Partisanship: Obama 60.8% (59.6%)/McCain 37.8% (39.1%)

Notes: The first district gets a bit of a make-over here, it sheds all of Torrance County and loses most of Valencia County (while retaining a reservation). Really, all I've done to NM-01 is to shift it to the west, it loses the very northeastern part of Bernalillo County to the second district, while in exchange taking the western parts of Bernalillo county and absorbing Cibola County and the reservations in McKinley County.



Pop:  686,837 (dev. +444)


White: 42.1%/47.4% VAP (40%/45.2% VAP)
Hispanic: 52.6%/47.4% VAP (51.9%/47% VAP)
Native American: 1.7%/1.6% VAP (4.5%/4.3% VAP)

Partisanship: Obama 47.5% (48.5%)/McCain 51.1% (50.1%)

Notes: So you'll notice that the second district has become a touch whiter and more Hispanic, that's because NM-01 has absored most of reservations that were here before. Another big thing that happens here is that it sheds the more heavily Democratic northwestern part of Bernalillo County and takes in the more Republican northeastern part, as well as taking the town of Edgewood, taking all of Torrance County, and nearly all of Valencia county. To make the population as close as possible, it was also necessary for the second district to take small parts of San Miguel county. The major difference happen by trading some populations between CD-01 and CD-02. This is a district that Steve Pearce would be quite happy with.



Pop: 686,430 (dev. +37)


White: 39.6%/43.9% VAP (39.6%/44% VAP)
Hispanic: 39.1%/36.4% VAP (39.0%/36.3%)
Native American: 17.3%/15.9% VAP (17.3%/16% VAP)

Partisanship: Obama 61% (60.9%)/McCain 37.8% (37.9%)

Notes: Very little changes about NM-03, it sheds a little population to NM-02 and NM-01 for population purposes, but otherwise its core completely.

MN, NM, and TN: Population by CD

Today and yesterday’s Census data dump is of three states that didn’t gain or lose seats but will need some internal adjustment to reflect population movement from the cities and the rural areas to the suburbs: Minnesota, New Mexico, and Tennessee. (It also included three states with at-large seats that we won’t need to discuss: Alaska, Montana, and North Dakota.)

Minnesota barely made the cut for retaining its eighth seat (13,000 fewer people statewide and it would have lost it), which you can see in its very low new target: 662,991 per district. (That’s up from about 615K in 2000.) Despite the fact that Michele Bachmann lives there, people keep pouring into MN-06 in the outer-ring suburbs and exurbs to the north, west, and east of the Twin Cities. Only it and MN-02, taking in the southern suburbs/exurbs, will need to shed population, giving part to the rural 1st and 7th, and part to the urban 4th and 5th (and suburban-but-boxed-in 3rd). With split redistricting control, look for the parties, if they’re able to agree, to settle on incumbent protection.

Talk of moving the college town of St. Cloud, currently in MN-06, into MN-08 (which would enable Tarryl Clark to run there) may be premature, as MN-08 gained enough population that it can remain about the same. In fact, the fact that it did so may say a lot about last year’s election; the 8th’s growth has been happening at its southern end, where the MSP exurbs begin and where new Rep. Chip Cravaack hails from, and the population growth in this area has outpaced losses in the dark-blue Iron Range to the north, Jim Oberstar’s traditional turf.

District Rep. Population Deviation
MN-01 Walz (D) 644,787 (18,204)
MN-02 Kline (R) 732,515 69,524
MN-03 Paulsen (R) 650,185 (12,806)
MN-04 McCollum (D) 614,624 (48,367)
MN-05 Ellison (D) 616,482 (46,509)
MN-06 Bachmann (R) 759,478 96,487
MN-07 Peterson (D) 625,512 (37,479)
MN-08 Cravaack (R) 660,342 (2,649)
Total: 5,303,925

New Mexico’s target is 686,393, based on staying at three seats (up from 606K in 2000). Not much change needs to happen between the districts; the largely rural NM-02 will need to gain some population, probably from the southern suburbs of Albuquerque in NM-01. New Mexico has become appreciably more Hispanic over the last decade, though maybe not as dramatically as the other three border states (California, Arizona, and Texas), moving as a state from 45% non-Hispanic white and 42% Hispanic in 2000 to 40% non-Hispanic white and 46% Hispanic in 2010. That means that, since 2000, it has become the first state with a Hispanic plurality. The movement was fairly consistent among districts, with the 1st going from 42% to 48% Hispanic, the 2nd going from 47% to 52% Hispanic, and the 3rd going from 36% to 39% Hispanic (the 3rd, though, is the least-white of the three districts, thanks to an 18% Native American population, which stayed consistent over the decade).

District Rep. Population Deviation
NM-01 Heinrich (D) 701,939 15,546
NM-02 Pearce (R) 663,956 (22,437)
NM-03 Lujan (D) 693,284 6,891
Total: 2,059,179

Tennessee stays comfortably at nine seats, and its new target is 705,122 (up from 632K in 2000). It, like Minnesota, has seen a big population shift from cities and rural areas to suburbs and exurbs, as seen in the huge growth in the 6th (which half-circles Nashville on the east) and the 7th (a thin gerrymander that hooks up Nashville’s southern suburbs with Memphis’s eastern suburbs). In particular, western Tennessee, both in the city (TN-09) and the rural areas (TN-08) were hard-hit, with the 8th barely gaining and the 9th outright losing population. The GOP controls the redistricting process for the first time here, but with them up 7-2 in the current House delegation (and with Memphis unfixably blue), look for them to lock in current gains rather than getting aggressive with TN-05 (seeing as how Nashville could be cracked into multiple light-red urban/suburban districts, although that has ‘dummymander’ written all over it).  

District Rep. Population Deviation
TN-01 Roe (R) 684,093 (21,029)
TN-02 Duncan (R) 723,798 18,676
TN-03 Fleischmann (R) 692,346 (12,776)
TN-04 Des Jarlais (R) 688,008 (17,114)
TN-05 Cooper (D) 707,420 2,298
TN-06 Black (R) 788,754 83,632
TN-07 Blackburn (R) 792,605 87,483
TN-08 Fincher (R) 658,258 (46,864)
TN-09 Cohen (D) 610,823 (94,299)
Total: 6,346,105

2R-1D Gerrymander of NM

Just for fun, I decided to see how pro-GOP you could make a map of New Mexico. My strategy was to pack as many Democrats as possible into a super-Democratic district running from Albuquerque up along the Rio Grande, thus making the other districts as Republican as possible. This is what I came up with:

The districts are:

NM-01 (Blue)

32% W, 6% N, 57% H


NM-02 (Green)

44% W, 18% N, 34% H


NM-03 (Purple)

49% W, 44% H


Two McCain districts in a state that voted for Obama by a 15% margin. That’s what horrendously ugly gerrymandering like this can do. You could actually get the blue district up to the high 70’s by taking it into the Navajo Reservation area, but that would inevitably end up splitting up the Navajo Reservation which was too much for even this map. What’s really interesting to me about this map is that all of the districts are majority-minority here, but two of them still vote Republican.

New Mexico Redistricting

This was the first redistricting I did and I chose NM because its only three CDs.   I tried to the best of my ability to make clean districts, keep counties intact, and keep the population of the districts as close to being equal as possible.  Of course, this being a Democratic redistricting I wanted to make sure that President Obama won a substantial majority of votes in each new district.

1st (Blue) : Obama 56-43.  Las Cruces and the southwest, most of the west.  pop: 605,938.  There would be a new congressperson elected from this district.  None of the current reps live here.

2nd (Green): Obama 58-40.  Part of Albuquerque, all of Torrance and Lincoln, and Eddy counties, Roswell, central to southeast. pop: 606,486.  This would be Steve Pearce's new district (right now he represents a district that went 50-49 for McCain but this one would be much 9% more Democratic).  This would create a 2012 matchup between Steve Pearce and Martin Heinrich for this district, which Heinrich would be favored to win.

3rd (Purple): Obama 57-42.  Most of the east, all of the Northeast, the northwest, Santa Fe, part of Albuquerque, and north central.  pop: 606,622.  Ben Lujan would run in this CD.

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

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

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

NM-01 (safe Democratic)

43% white, 4% Native, 47% Latino

64% Obama, 35% McCain

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

NM-02 (likely Democratic)

33% white, 17% Native, 48% Latino

58% Obama, 40% McCain

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

NM-03 (safe Democratic)

43% white, 13% Native, 41% Latino

63% Obama, 36% McCain

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

NM-04 (safe Republican)

60% white, 2% Native, 33% Latino

40% Obama, 58% McCain

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

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

AL, MS & NM Results Thread #2

2:30am: It looks like we won’t have any resolution tonight on AL-Gov (R). The good people of Cleburne County have apparently gone home for the night, leaving that county’s 17 precincts unreported. Those are the only precincts outstanding in the state. So, until then, Bentley and James are at 25% each, but Bentley is leading by 140 votes. We’ll see if they figure this out tomorrow.

1:48am: I want some of what they’re smoking down in Cleburne County, Alabama. It’s been six freakin’ hours, dudes!

1:25am: So now that the AP has accounted for empty precincts in Mobile, our projection has shifted to Dr. Rob Bentley by 97 votes instead of Fob James by 2500+ for the second runoff ticket.

1:08am: And the AP finally gets off the pot and calls AL-05 (R), despite that one outstanding precinct in Jackson Co. Mo Brooks wins it without a runoff, at 51%.

12:51am: AP finally brings some closure to AL-02 (R). Runoff for Roby and Barber. Roby just missed the cutoff at 49%.

12:47am: Wow, Bentley moves back into 2nd place in AL-Gov (R). Only a 150 vote lead, though.

12:40am: Our model has James taking the 2nd spot in the runoff, with his lead over Bentley projected to edge up to 2,700.

12:37am: AP has Byrne definitely making the R Gov runoff. In the 2nd place scramble, Tim James is edging ahead of Bentley. They’re tied at 25, but now James has a 150 vote edge. 95% reporting.

12:35am: AP calls AL-07 as runoff for Sewell and Smoot.

12:28am: 100% have reported in the 7th, although no call from the AP yet. Still Sewell 37, Smoot 29, with Hilliard missing the runoff at 27.

12:22am: It’s over in AL-05 as Parker Griffith has conceded to Mo Brooks. Brooks will face Dem Steve Raby in November. What a monumentally stupid idea this party switch was — and kudos to DavidNYC for his astute post on this idiocy back in December. Parker Griffith Can Lose.

12:11am: SSP Labs’ mainframe is spewing out punch cards telling us that we can call a Sewell/Smoot runoff in AL-07. Right now it’s Sewell 37, Smoot 29, Hilliard 27.

12:02am: Bradley Byrne is putting a little distance on the rest of the crowd in AL-Gov (R). He’s at 28, with the real battle, to make 2nd and get into the runoff, between James and Bentley at 25 apiece. Bentley has an edge of about 1,400. 91% are reporting.

11:59pm: In AL-02, with 93.5% in, Martha Roby has climbed up to 49.1% thanks to the Montgomery vote coming in. I’m not sure if there’s enough out there to get her over the hump outright tonight, though.

11:55pm: Some downballot local color: George Wallace Jr. loses the GOP Treasurer primary to a fellow by the name of Young Boozer.

11:43pm: A big clot of Sewell votes showed up in AL-07. She’s up to 37 now, with Smoot at 29 and Hilliard at 27. So the real battle here is whether Smoot or Hilliard makes the runoff. (And hopefully Smoot/Hilliard consolidates all the non-Sewell votes.)

11:41pm: Another seesaw in AL-Gov. Bradley Byrne is back on top at 27, and now Bentley is in 2nd at 26. Tim James is at 25, and only 700 back from Bentley. Roy Moore’s at 20. Good thing or bad thing? (Byrne is probably the toughest GOP opponent for the general, but also the least crazy, as far as actual good governance goes, if he wins the general. Also, would the James and Moore backers go to Bentley in the runoff, helping him to complete the upset?)

11:39pm: Man, even if you thought that Artur Davis would lose tonight, I don’t think that him losing by over 20 points was on anyone’s mind.

11:29pm: The AP has called the MS-01 primary for state Sen. Alan Nunnelee, who narrowly avoided a runoff with 51% of the vote. Nunnelee faces Travis Childers and his mighty ‘stache of doom in November.

11:27pm: The D AL-07 primary is a great horserace too. Right now Smoot and Sewell are both at 32, with Hilliard at 28. Smoot’s edge is 300 votes over Sewell. With about three-quarters reporting, Hilliard is back another 2,000, so making the runoff is looking less likely.

11:22pm: The R primary in AL-Gov just keeps being the most exciting race of the night. With 2057 of 2843 in (72%), it’s James at 26, Byrne at 25, and Bentley at 25. James up 2,000 over Byrne, who in turn is up 300 over Bentley. Hangin’ judge Roy Moore not that far back at 21%.

11:20pm: Looks like the polls were right about AL-AG, at least. Challenger Luther Strange is whomping troubled incumbent Troy King in the GOP primary, 61-39.

11:16pm: Only county outstanding in MS-01, which will tell us whether Nunnelee clears 50%, is Clay County. That’s only one county over from the county where Eupora (the town where Ross was mayor), but with only 14 precincts, I can’t see that being the tipping point.

11:11pm: More like the Land of Disenchantment for Allen Weh. He’s conceding the R gube primary in New Mexico, after spending $1.6 mil on it.

11:09pm: The SSP Labs model is calling MS-01 for Nunnelee without runoff (looks like that last-minute Sarah Palin endorsement for McGowen [sic] didn’t pay off). And, it’s saying AL-02 will come down to Roby/Barber runoff.

11:06pm: This will no doubt change, but at this instant in time, 2 (two) votes separate Tim James (84,497) and Bradley Byrne (84,495) in 1st and 2nd. Bentley is back in 3rd, trailing by 2,000 more. It’s 26-26-25, with 1887 of 2843 in.

11:04pm: The AP has called the R primary in NM-Gov for Susana Martinez. She’ll face Diane Denish in November.

10:57pm: Based on our model, SSP Labs is feeling confident to call AL-05 without a runoff in favor of Brooks. Griffith’s party switch goes down with the Edsel and New Coke in the pantheon of bad ideas.

10:55pm: Pretty much simultaneously, AP calls AL-Gov D primary for Sparks, and Davis concedes. Running to the right doesn’t win you a Dem primary, even in Alabama.

10:53pm: Not much change in New Mexico, although we’re up to almost one-third reporting. Martinez leads Weh 51-29.

10:50pm: AP calls AL-05 for Steve Raby, who crushed Taze Shepard 62-22.

10:41pm: The people who don’t give a rrrrip about Alabama are out in force tonight. Dale Peterson is deep in third at 26%, with a McMillan/Grace runoff likely.

10:37pm: Bradley Byrne just found a bunch of votes. He’s up 700 over Tim James, and about 2400 over Bentley with nearly 50% of precincts reporting. Meanwhile, Sparks leads Davis by 65-35.

10:34pm: SSP Labs update: In AL-05, we’re projecting brooks with 50.5%, 709 over a runoff. In MS-01, we’re projecting Nunnelee to escape a runoff with 51.2% of the vote.

10:30pm: Over in MS-01, with 88% reporting, Alan Nunnelee is still hovering at 51.1% of the vote.

10:29pm: The AP calls AL-06 for Spencer Bachus. Wasn’t close at all in the end.

10:23pm: Here’s one more bad sign for Artur Davis: Macon County, which is 84% black, is now all in. Davis only won 47% of the vote there tonight.

10:21pm: Another lead change in AL-07, where it’s neck and neck and neck. Shelia Smoot has moved ahead at 34%, with Terri Sewell at 32, and Earl Hilliard Jr. at 27 (and Bozeman a non-factor at 8). But, as we close in on halfway reported, the runoff could be any combination of the 3.

10:19pm: In AL-05, we’re projecting Brooks with 50.6%, 764 over a runoff. Keep in mind this is something of a crude model, though. It should be close.

10:18pm: The AP has called the R primary in MS-04 for Steven Palazzo.

10:15pm: Over in the Land of Enchantment, it’s a good night for Susana Martinez. She’s at 50%, with 101 of 1509 reporting. Allen Weh is in 2nd at 32%. Pete Jr. is at a whopping 6%.


Alabama, Mississippi & New Mexico Results Thread

10:15pm: Let’s move this party over here.

10:08pm: With not quite a quarter in, on the GOP side of the AL-Gov primary, Bentley has actually pulled into the lead at 27%. James is 2nd at 26, with Byrne at 25. Can’t quite count Byrne out yet, but that Dem 527 meddling in the GOP primary may have had the desired effect (i.e. taking out Byrne, ostensibly the toughest general election opponent). And Roy Moore’s at 18: what’s up with his collapse?

10:05pm: We’re now up to 48% in AL-05: Brooks leads Griff by 51-34, and Raby leads Taze by 62-23.

10:03pm: As expected, Luther Strange is kicking Alabama AG Troy King’s ass by a 60-40 margin.

10:02pm: 70% reporting in MS-01, and Nunnelee is resting at 51.3%.

9:59pm: Over in MS-04, state Rep. Steven Palazzo leads businessman Joe Tegerdine by 58-42 with 59% in.

9:56pm: Hah, Spencer Bachus leads his teabagger opponent, Stan Cooke, by only 59-41 with 13% in. It’s a TARP!

9:54pm: We’re now up to 37% of precincts reporting in AL-05, and Mo Brooks leads Griffith by 53-31. (Raby still cruising.)

9:51pm: SSP Labs doesn’t take an election night off, and here is our model for Alabama. It’s based on the usual back-of-the-envelope stuff, but also incorporates the racial composition of each county. (jeffmd)

9:47pm: Checking in with New Mexico, Susana Martinez has a 16-point lead over Allen Weh in the early vote.

9:43pm: 21.5% of the vote’s now in in AL-05, and Brooks leads Griffith by 49-38. Raby is up over Taze Shepard by 65-21.

9:41pm: Terri Sewell has now pulled into second place (just 200 votes behind Shelia Smoot) in AL-07, but only 12% of the vote’s been counted.

9:39pm: With 11.7% in, Sparks leads by 63-37. On the GOP side, Tim James leads with 28%, followed by Rob Bentley at 26%. Front-runner Bradley Bryne is in third at 23%.

9:35pm: We’re up to 41% reporting in MS-01, and Alan Nunnelee is dangerously flirting with a runoff at 49.7%.

9:30pm: Big swing in Jeffco, where Sparks now leads Davis by 54-46. Overall, Sparks is up by 61-39 with 7% in.

9:24pm: Check out AL-07, where the three front-runners are separated by just 170 votes. Smoot has 31, Hilliard’s at 30, and Sewell checks in at 27 with 11% reporting.

9:20pm: Almost 10% of Jeffco is in, where Artur Davis is cleaning up. The Gov race has tightend to 60-40 for Sparks. And, in AL-05, Mo Brooks leads Griffith by 58-28 with 8 precincts in.

9:11pm: It looks like Dick Shelby will survive an attempted teabagging from Clint Moser.

9:08pm: We’re now at 4/326 in AL-05, and Brooks has pulled ahead of Griffith by 48-36. Whoa baby!

9:03pm: Over in AL-05, with just three precincts in, turncoat Parker Griffith has fallen just barely under 50%. Mo Brooks has 33%.

9:00pm: Alan Nunnelee is now flirting with 50%. He leads Ross by 51-37. McGlowan is a huge non-factor here.

8:44pm: We also have our first precinct reporting in MS-01, and Alan Nunnelee has 56% to teabagger Henry Ross’ 26%. Sarah Palin’s late pick, Angela McGlowan, is in third.

8:41pm: 9/2843 in so far, and Sparks leads Davis by 73-27. On the GOP side, it looks like a three-way fight for second place between Tim James, Robert Bentley, and Roy Moore.

8:36pm: Now Barber is up on Roby by two votes. In AL-05, Parker Griffith has 62% of the very early vote.

8:23pm: In the AL-02 primary, teabagging businessman Rick “The Barber” Barber only trails NRCC-crowned favorite Martha Roby by 40-37. Just three precincts in there so far, though.

8:20pm: We’re up to three precincts in Alabamer, and Sparks leads by a 71-29 spread. Over in the Ag Comm’r primary, American Hero Dale Peterson is in third.

8:09pm: We’ve got one precinct out of the oven in Alabama. Sparks leads Davis by 12 votes to 5.

Polls will close in Alabama and Mississippi in about fifteen minutes, and in New Mexico an hour later. We’ll be using this thread to follow the returns — and if you have any additional results links, please share ’em in the comments.


Alabama, Mississippi & New Mexico Predictions Thread

Polls close in Alabama and Mississippi at 8pm Eastern, and in New Mexico at 9pm. SSP will be liveblogging these races once the first returns start rolling in, but let’s get the pre-game party started with a predictions thread. And in case you missed it, here is our preview of the key races to watch tonight.

Alabama, Mississippi & New Mexico Primary Preview

In lieu of our usual morning digest, here is a roundup of all the killer primaries from outer space that we’ll be liveblogging tonight. Get your scorecards ready!


  • AL-Gov (D): Rep. Artur Davis has led Ag. Comm’r Ron Sparks in the money race and all polling that’s been made public to date. But a lot of Alabama Democrats – and especially the black political establishment – are unhappy with Davis’s conservative voting record, especially his vote against healthcare reform. This has led to persistent rumors that Davis is “in trouble,” and Sparks (who just scored an endorsement from ex-Gov. Don Siegelman) even claimed to have an internal showing the race tied. But he declined to share so much as a one-page polling memo – and if he’s right, quite a few other pollsters are wrong. (Though Nate Silver notes that polls of Southern Democratic primaries have, in recent years, been off by wider margins than in other regions.) We’ve seen some surprising primaries on the congressional level involving reps who’ve voted against HCR, but no one has yet paid the ultimate price for it. If Davis is the first, it would be a very big deal indeed. Note that there’s no possibility of a runoff, since Davis and Sparks are the only two candidates on the ballot. (D)
  • AL-Gov (R): With seven candidates in a crowded field, this race is certain to be resolved in the runoff to be held on July 13th. Bradley Byrne has been considered the front-runner and is the choice of most establishment Republicans. However, as the moderate amongst his primary foes, Byrne has come under heavy criticism as opponents question his commitment to conservative causes. Interestingly, traditional Democratic interests in the state have spent heavily against Byrne in the primary. Tim James, son of former Gov. Fob James, is likely Byrne’s strongest adversary and has gained national attention with a series of controversial ads. While Byrne and James will most likely face each other again in July, Roy Moore of Ten Commandments fame still has a chance to snag a ticket to the runoff. (T)
  • AL-Ag. Comm’r (R): This is it. The big one. The eyes of the nation, and indeed, the world, will fall upon the Republican primary for Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries of Alabama. Dale Peterson, a farmer, a businessman, a cop, a Marine in Vietnam, and an usher in a movie theater one summer will be battling for the GOP nod for this most prestigious office. Little needs to be said about Peterson’s opponents, Dorman Grace and John McMillan, other than the fact that it’s clear that they don’t give a rip about Alabama! The winner of this primary will face Democrat Glen Zorn, a current assistant Agriculture Commissioner and former mayor of Florala.
  • AL-AG (R): One of the most vulnerable incumbents anywhere is Alabama’s Republican Attorney General Troy King. This isn’t a clear-cut establishment vs. movement primary, though; if anything, the state’s GOP legal establishment has soured on the erratic King and is backing his challenger Luther Strange. Polls give a large edge to Strange, who counts Jeff Sessions, Richard Shelby and even Gov. Bob Riley — the man who first appointed King to the position — among his backers. (C)
  • AL-02 (R): Four Republicans are on the ballot for the right to challenge frosh Dem Rep. Bobby Bright. Montgomery city councilor Martha Roby is the NRCC-crowned establishment favorite, and the only candidate in the field to raise significant money. Teabagging businessman Rick “The Barber” Barber, an owner of several “billiards facilities” in the area, is next in line, followed by State Board of Education member Stephanie Bell. If Bell ever looked like a threat to Roby, her late entry (in March) and her weak fundraising (just $26K) seem to suggest her chances of making it to a runoff are weak. Former Marine John “Beau” McKinney rounds out the field. Back in February, Bright’s campaign released an internal poll showing him in surprisingly strong shape, but it’ll be interesting to see how he fares once this race becomes engaged.
  • AL-05 (D): After Ron Sparks declined to switch over from the gubernatorial race, four Democrats got into the contest here: attorney and former state Board of Education member Taze Shepard (who also happens to be the grandson of the late Sen. John Sparkman); political consultant Steve Raby, a longtime chief-of-staff to Sen. Howell Heflin (the guy who succeeded Sparkman); attorney and former Air Force JAG officer Mitchell Howie; and physicist David Maker. The race is largely between Shepard and Raby, who have hit each other with negative TV ads in recent weeks: Shepard has attacked Raby for being a “lobbyist,” while Raby fired back that Shepard mismanaged the U.S. Space & Rocket Center (home of Space Camp) during his tenure as a commissioner overseeing the center. Though Shepard leads in the money department, he’s mostly been self-financed. Meanwhile, Raby has secured a good bit of establishment backing, including an endorsement from former Rep. Ronnie Flippo, who held this seat from 1977 to 1991. An internal poll for Shepard had him up 20-14 over Raby, but with 58% undecided. A runoff seems likely here. (D)
  • AL-05 (R): Democrats everywhere will be watching this race closely to see if turncoat Rep. Parker Griffith gets teabagged to death in the wake of his party switch. He faces two rivals in the primary: Madison County Commissioner Mo Brooks and businessman Les Phillip. Though Phillip has raised considerably more money than Brooks, his burn rate marks him as a client/victim of BMW Direct. Consequently, most of the “true conservatives” who are unhappy with Griffith’s attempt to bogart their nomination have rallied around Brooks, who has even been the target of a Griffith attack ad – not something you usually see from an incumbent. There’s a good chance we’ll see a runoff here between these two. (D)
  • AL-06 (R): Spencer Bachus isn’t what you’d normally think of as vulnerable; he’s a conservative Republican in one of the reddest districts in the nation, in Birmingham’s suburbs. However, establishment GOPers like Bachus have reason to worry this year because of the GOP’s restive base. He in particular may have a target on his back as ranking House Republican on Financial Services, and as an architect of TARP. Bachus faces teabagger Stan Cooke; leaving nothing to chance, he’s already spent $680K on his primary. (C)
  • AL-07 (D): The Democratic primary in the race to replace Rep. Artur Davis is the only election which matters in this 72% Obama district. The three chief contenders are: state Rep. Earl Hilliard, Jr., the son of the guy Davis primaried out of this seat in 2002, Earl Hilliard, Sr.; Jefferson County Commissioner Shelia Smoot; and securities lawyer Terri Sewell. Hilliard and Smoot until recently had the edge in name recognition, but only Sewell, who began as an unknown, has had the money to air TV ads. While early internal polling showed this to be a race between Hilliard and Smoot, Sewell’s spending has almost certainly had an impact, and her own poll had the race a three-way tie a couple of weeks ago. A runoff seems almost certain here. (D)


  • MS-01 (R): For a while there, it looked like former FOX News talking head Angela McGlowan posed a threat to the NRCC’s favorite candidate in the race against twice-elected Dem Rep. Travis Childers, Tupelo-area state Sen. Alan Nunnelee. But her campaign has fizzled, bringing in only $85,000 for the primary compared to nearly $650,000 for Nunnelee. However, a Democratic 527 called “Citizens for Security and Strength” recently entered the fray, spending money on mail and robocalls against Nunnelee in the hopes of aiding Henry Ross, the teabagging former mayor of Eupora. Ross hasn’t raised much money either (just $127K), but it’ll be interesting if his outsider message (and the Dem attacks) will stick.
  • MS-04 (R): In a year like this, you’ve gotta keep an eye on old dogs in deep red districts like this one. Republicans have mostly nominated driftwood against Democrat Gene Taylor in the past decade despite his district’s comically insane R+20 Cook PVI. However, it looks like Taylor will have to actually exert himself this year, as Republicans have fielded a bona fide elected official, state Rep. Steven Palazzo, to run against him. Palazzo will first have to get past businessman Joe Tegerdine, though, and the race has already gotten a bit testy, with Palazzo charging that Tegerdine works for a Chinese corporation, and Tegerdine jabbing Palazzo for being too scared and/or lazy to show up to any debates.

New Mexico:

  • NM-Gov (R): The Republican field in New Mexico was left in a sort of second-tier disarray when ex-Rep. Heather Wilson decided to pass on the race. Polling shows the two main contestants here to be Susana Martinez — the Dona Ana County DA, who despite a Sarah Palin endorsement is polling competitively with certain Dem nomineee Lt. Gov. Diane Denish — and Allen Weh, the former state party chair and bit player in the US Attorneys firing scandal, who’s financing his run mostly out of pocket. Pete Domenici Jr. had been expected to be competitive but foundered after offering no rationale for his campaign other than his lineage. Janice Arnold-Jones and Doug Turner round out the field. (C)

Theoretical, improbable majority-minority districts

I thought it would be interesting to use Dave’s Redistricting App to show that it was possible to create minority-majority districts in places that people might not necessarily expect, yet are indeed possible. I know that most of these districts will probably never be created, but it was an interesting chance to see what districts could be created. Technically, the definition of a majority-minority district according to the Supreme Court is any district that is less than 50% white (a coalition district), not necessarily a majority for one specific group. So some of these districts are +50% for one group, such as black or Hispanic, others have a plurality for another group, while others are just less than 50% white. So here are some of the districts I looked at:



Racial stats: 51% Asian, 29% white, 12% Hispanic, 4% other, 3% black

This is an Asian majority district in the Bay Area. While several current districts have an Asian plurality with current Census data, none of them have an Asian majority. This district would probably elect an Asian representative, most likely Rep. Mike Honda, who already represents many Asian areas in San Jose. I think this might be the first Asian majority district to ever exist outside of Hawaii.



Racial stats: 51% Hispanic, 37% white, 7% black, 3% Asian, 1% Native American, 1% other

It was actually possible to create a district in the Denver area that is majority-Hispanic. I linked Hispanic areas in the cities of Lakewood, Denver, Commerce City, Longmont, Brighton, and Greeley. Most of the voters come from Diana DeGette’s 1st district and Ed Perlmutter’s 7th district, although Jared Polis’s 2nd district and Betty Markey’s 4th district also lose some voters. I assume this district would elect a Democrat, possibly Diana DeGette, or possibly someone else.



Racial stats: 43% white, 27% black, 24% Hispanic, 3% Asian, 3% other

By linking minority areas in the cities of Bridgeport, New Haven, Waterbury, New Britain, and Hartford, it was possible to create a district that is majority-minority in Connecticut. The district has the homes of John Larson and Rosa DeLauro, and takes in all of the major urban centers in the four eastern and central districts, so it would probably help Republicans in some of the other districts. While the district is less than 50% white, it is almost evenly split between the district’s Hispanic and black populations, so it would be interesting to see what would happen in an election here.



Racial stats: 45% black, 43% white, 9% Hispanic, 2% other, 1% Asian

By connecting heavily black areas in Indianapolis and Gary, it is possible to create a district that is plurality (yet not majority) black. I assume that Andre Carson would run here and win, although he would probably be challenged in the primary by Pete Visclosky. However, this district is more Indianapolis, so I think Carson would defeat Visclosky. This district would be incredibly Democratic either way, I’m sure Obama broke 75% here, maybe even 80%.

New Jersey


Racial stats: 39% white, 34% black, 21% Hispanic, 4% Asian, 2% other

This district connects minority areas in Atlantic City, Camden, and Trenton, and could probably be made even less white than this version is. Battle Royale between John Adler and Robert Andrews that would allow a minority candidate to slip through the primary? Thanks to andgarden for this idea.

New Mexico


1st district (blue): 53% Hispanic, 37% white, 5% Native American, 2% other, 2% black, 1% Asian

2nd district (green): 51% Hispanic, 42% white, 4% Native American, 1% black, 1% other, 1% Asian

3rd district (purple): 55% white, 22% Hispanic, 17% Native American, 2% other, 2% black, 1% Asian

As it stands now, all three New Mexico districts are majority-minority, although Dave’s Redistricting App shows a Hispanic majority in only one district, the current NM-02, with updated 2008 numbers. So I wanted to see if it was possible to create not just one, but two Hispanic majority districts. I accomplished this task without too much difficulty, although I admit that it looks a bit strange. The 2nd district remains almost unchanged, although it picks up Torrance County and Hispanic-majority San Miguel County and loses the cities of Carlsbad and Hobbs. Meanwhile, the city of Albuquerque is split in half, along with the northern and eastern edges of the state. The Hispanic western half of Albuquerque as well as other Hispanic areas to the north and east of the 2nd district, as well as Santa Fe go into the 1st district. Meanwhile, the mostly white eastern half of Albuquerque is put into the sprawling 3rd district, which goes from Gallup and Farmington in the northwest all the way down to Hobbs in the southeast.

This would set up an interesting chain of events assuming the three Democratic congressmen currently in office (Heinrich, Teague, and Lujan) were still in office. No one would probably want to run in the new 3rd district, which is the white-majority district and the most Republican of the three. Teague would most likely run in the 2nd district, which is similar to his current district, although he would have to move as his home in Hobbs is now in the 3rd district. Meanwhile, Lujan and Heinrich would probably face off in the 3rd district, although I imagine Lujan would be the favorite since he represents much of this district already and there is now a Hispanic majority in the district. Meanwhile, a Republican would likely win the 3rd district seat, although perhaps I am wrong since New Mexico is a pretty Democratic state on the whole and this district still has significant Hispanic (22%) and Native American (17%) populations. This map would never occur with a Democratic legislature/governor, although perhaps the Republicans would attempt this if they controlled the state government, which is highly unlikely for now.



Racial stats: 53% black, 42% white, 2% other, 1% Asian, 1% Hispanic

This district actually inspired the rest of the diary after I thought of it over the summer. This new majority-black district links African-American areas in the cities of Cincinnati, Dayton, and Columbus, and manages to look cleaner than even the current NC-12 (Mel Watt’s district). It would almost certainly elect a black Democrat, and at the same time would take pressure off of other Republicans such as Pat Tiberi and Mike Turner. If Steve Chabot was elected in 2010, he would probably have to run against Boehner or Schmidt in the primary as this district would take up much of the current OH-01’s turf in Cincinnati. If Steve Driehaus hung on in 2010, I think he would probably lose the primary to an African-American, although who knows what would happen.

Also, several people have said that they have been unable to keep OH-10 as a majority-black district in Cleveland without going into Akron.

It is indeed possible, here is a map:


Racial stats: 50% black, 41% white, 5% Hispanic, 2% Asian, 1% other

The main way I did this was by taking a lot of the population from Dennis Kucinich’s district, which puts his district 270,000 people in the red, which makes it almost a given his district will be combined with Sutton’s district in my opinion.



Racial stats: 44% white, 33% black, 19% Hispanic, 1% Asian, 1% other

I know that there are a lot of pockets of black and Hispanic voters in East Texas, so I wanted to see if it would be possible to make a minority-majority district in East Texas without going into Houston or Dallas at all. So I was able to make a meandering district that picks up minority voters in Galveston, Beaumont, Port Arthur, Orange, Huntsville, Lufkin, Longview, Tyler, Texarkana, and Paris. It looks a bit like Cleo Fields’ old district in neighboring Louisiana, although this district emerges at just 33% black. Still, that might be enough to put a black Democrat through the primary and into office, as the entire district is just 44% white overall and many of those white voters are Republicans and wouldn’t vote in the Democratic primary anyway. I made this district before Dave put in the partisan data, so I haven’t calculated the presidential numbers yet, although I imagine that it was probably in the low 50s for McCain, nowhere near as Republican as the current East Texas districts.

So I know that many of these districts are highly theoretical, but I still thought it was an interesting exercise in seeing what is possible and what may even be required by law someday as voting rights law evolves. Let me know what you think of these districts and this subject!

By what margin will Bob Shamansky win?

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