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Please begin with an informative title:

My Cascadia mega-project is temporarily on hold. I understand Dave Bradlee is looking into ways that Canada can be incorporated into DRA (its redistribution, Canadian-speak for "redistricting", is coming up next spring), and I'm going slow on British Columbia in the hopes that I'll eventually be able to do it on the app rather than hand-counting each block group and dissemination block, which takes an excruciating amount of time.

I'm thinking that when I rev back up, I will present at least two visions of Cascadia: first, the broader region, including all of Alaska, Yukon, British Columbia, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Western Montana; and second, the narrower region, including Western Oregon (excluding Southern Oregon, as traditionally defined, and including Hood River County), Western Washington, Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, the B.C. coast, and Southeast Alaska.

The broader region basically just cuts four states completely out of the Union and takes away the somewhat more populous western half of Montana. It creates a 46-state Union and would require 18 congressional districts to be reallocated accordingly.

The narrower region actually would leave a 50-state Union, simply minus a few congressional districts that would have to be reallocated. Southeast Alaska's removal doesn't make a huge dent in Alaska's at-large congressional district, but the vast majority of Oregon's population and the significant majority of Washington's population resides west of the Cascade Mountains' crest. In fact, Eastern Oregon, if it were its own state, would be the least populous in the country if Southern Oregon were excluded, and the 45th most populous if it were included. Either way, it would have only one at-large congressional district.

My "solution" -- because I like things to be interesting, not boring -- was to merge Eastern Oregon and Eastern Washington into the state of Imperial, while putting Southern Oregon together with the counties of Northern California to create the state of Jefferson (following the expanded modern "definition" including more counties than the original 1941 proposal).

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We'll start with Imperial. This state would be mostly high desert and semiarid steppe, but would include the fertile Palouse as well. Any of the Tri-Cities would be a likely candidate for Imperial's state capital, with their heavy growth, good infrastructure, and central location. It goes without saying that Imperial would be a politically very conservative state, similar to neighboring Idaho, though not quite as extreme. All but three counties in the state went for Sen. John McCain in 2008, though the relatively populous Deschutes and Spokane counties were very close to going for then-Sen. Barack Obama. Overall, the two-party vote here was 44-56.

IM-01 (blue): Although it contains the light-blue college town of Ellensburg and much of the Latino-heavy Tri-Cities area, this district was easily carried by McCain. It's quite similar to the pre-redistricting WA-04, represented by Rep. Doc Hastings (R). Hastings, who lives in Pasco, is actually left outside the district; he would probably run here anyway. (Note that since my Cascadia scenario is inherently unrealistic, I'm not really spending too much energy worrying about whether Hastings would be able to use his political clout to force a different map to be drawn, or even who would be drawing the map to begin with.) Safe Republican.

IM-02 (green): Without Southern Oregon, Eastern Oregon has less than a quarter of the population of Eastern Washington, so this district includes not only that whole region, but also Franklin County (which contains Pasco), the four Lost Counties (the ones that should belong to Oregon but were transferred to the Washington Territory prior to statehood because of Washingtonians' complaints over their comparative lack of agricultural land), Adams County, and part of Washington's Grant County. Those two Grant counties should probably work something out, huh? Anyway, this district would be bright screaming red. Rep. Greg Walden (R) lives in Hood River, part of the Republic of Cascadia, but if he chose exodus, he could resettle in the state and have the inside track on representing this district. Otherwise, I'm sure Oregon Senate Minority Leader Ted Ferrioli would be very interested. Safe Republican.

IM-03 (purple): This district is very similar to the one represented by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R) of Spokane. It's the most competitive seat on the map, though at R+7, that's not saying much. Obama only lost this district in 2008 by about four and a half points, and the Spokane area is trending back toward blue after a hard right turn in the 1990s -- but McMorris Rodgers is personally popular, and the local Democratic organization here has really fallen apart since Tom Foley left office. Likely Republican.

Imperial would also get to elect two senators. With how red the state is, it would be very surprising if both were not Republicans. I'd expect that former Oregon Sen. Gordon Smith of Pendleton would be very interested in running, and I think McMorris Rodgers would likely run as well.

So now let's look at the 19-county version of Jefferson. In 1941, a movement for several Oregon and California counties to secede and form their own state to have greater local control gained some traction. Any serious discussion was curtailed by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. This part of the country contains lots of high mountains and stratovolcanoes, a stunning coastline, and some rather arid plains. Its state capital under the 1941 proposal would have been Yreka. Out of tradition, I would think that would probably be the best location, but Redding is larger and has undeniably more infrastructure conducive to being an administrative center. Medford is less centrally located, but is fast-growing and could be a contender as well. The state still would have voted for McCain in 2008, but it wouldn't have been a total blowout. The two-party vote here was 47.6-52.4, actually putting it in swing state territory.

JE-01 (blue): It's possible to draw Jefferson with two pretty solid red districts, but since I am a Democrat, I chose to draw what I think is a more fair map. This district has a pretty good chance of having Democratic representation, even if it's not quite a slam dunk. It includes the very blue coastal counties of Humboldt and Mendocino, as well as Democratic southern Jackson County and ancestrally Democratic Coos and Curry counties, along with an arm taking in the blue city of Chico to round out population without splitting communities. Rep. Wally Herger (R) actually lives here, in Chico, but he is retiring this year. His likely successor, Republican candidate Doug LaMalfa, lives just outside it, in Richvale. Democrat Jared Huffman is likely to end up representing much of the Californian portion of this district, but he lives south of the Jefferson state line, in the San Francisco Bay Area. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D), who represents much of the Oregonian portion of the district, would be a Cascadian. So this is a seat without an incumbent. Oregon House Co-Speaker Arnie Roblan of Coos Bay would probably be a strong Democratic candidate here, as would California Asm. Wesley Chesbro of Arcata. Republicans would probably love to run Oregon state Sen. Jason Atkinson of Central Point, but he's retiring. LaMalfa might have a clearer shot here than he would in the other district, though I doubt it. Oregon state Rep. Wayne Krieger of Gold Beach is probably too old to run for a first term in the House, at age 72, as is California Asm. Jim Nielsen of Gerber, at age 68. But I can definitely see professional crazy person and repeat House candidate Art Robinson of Cave Junction running here. Lean Democratic.

JE-02 (green): Well, you can forget about this seat going blue anytime soon. LaMalfa lives here, but he's very close to the district's edge. I think he would probably run here. Former Redding Mayor Rick Bosetti could also be a candidate. Oregon Sen. Doug Whitsett of Klamath Falls and California Asm. Dan Logue of Linda are probably a bit old to run. Democrats don't have any obvious options here. This district is so heavily tilted to the Republicans because of the steep coastal/inland divide in California, as well as the lack of major population centers from Oregon. Douglas County, which is mostly contained within this district, is fairly populous, but it's also very conservative. Safe Republican.

Senators for Jefferson are a bit less obvious than for Imperial. LaMalfa could run, of course, and I think he might be the likeliest candidate to do so. Atkinson could be tempted to give up retirement, since he'd have a very good chance at being elected to the Senate. I think Chesbro is a bit too liberal to have a good shot here for the Democrats, but one intriguing option is Oregon state Sen. Alan Bates of Ashland, who survived a tight battle in 2010. At 67, Bates would be a rather old first-time House candidate, but he's a year younger than Angus King.

Thoughts?

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to SaoMagnifico on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 04:37 PM PDT.

Also republished by PacNW Kossacks.

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