This diary is partly a response to Stephen Wolf's amazing diary about nonpartisan redistricting. As you may recall, in the comments section of that diary he and I discussed several ways in which the nonpartisan maps of some states might be improved. In the end, most of my concerns boiled down to three states: Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. In this diary, therefore, I will discuss my proposals for nonpartisan, communities-of-interest-based maps in those three states. I will also explain how I drew some of the maps, so that you can see the thought processes that I used in order to draw the maps.
UPDATE: Connecticut is added!
Without further ado, follow me over the fold for the details.
Map of the whole state:
Demographics: 90/2/5/2 (White/Black/Hispanic/Asian)
2008: 64-34 Obama
The 1st district combines many areas, including the rural, liberal Berkshires, the Northampton/Amherst area, and northern Worcester County. What these areas all have in common is that they are substantially more rural and less densely populated than the rest of Massachusetts. In a district of 726,000 people, the largest city is Pittsfield (pop. 44,737). This area has little in common with either Springfield or Worcester, so it definitely deserves its own district. SAFE D.
2008: 62-36 Obama
The 2nd district contains Springfield and most of its suburbs, and then goes east to include southwest Worcester County and the city of Worcester. This district is more an urban and suburban district, with only a few rural areas between the two cities. The suburbs in this district are whiter and less affluent than suburbs in other districts. It’s not a problem that the towns around Worcester are split three ways, because the Worcester suburbs have never been as big or important to the city as the Springfield suburbs. SAFE D.
2008: 57-42 Obama
The 3rd district takes in the entire Merrimack Valley, which is a distinct community of interest. To pick up enough population, it also picks up Gloucester and inland Essex County. This area is also not particularly wealthy. SAFE D with Tsongas.
2008: 60-39 Obama
This district takes in two distinct communities of interest: the less affluent coastal towns (Salem, Lynn, etc.) and the middle-class, less liberal towns north of Boston. After drawing the 3rd, this district was a no-brainer, and it worked out quite well that those two communities of interest took up exactly one district. SAFE D, even with Tierney.
2008: 59-39 Obama
This district takes in a wide swath of Boston’s outer suburbs. Much of this area (though not all) is quite wealthy, and has a larger Asian population than areas to its west and north. This district is united by its population density, which is roughly even throughout, as well as its status as outer suburbs. SAFE D.
2008: 76/23 Obama
This district takes in all the inner suburbs to the north and west of Boston that are inside I-95 (aka Route 128). This is a very cohesive, extremely liberal district that has a very large number of colleges and universities. The split of Boston that I have makes sense because the parts of Boston in this district are either suburban in nature (such as Allston/Brighton) or rich, liberal, and college-y (Back Bay, Beacon Hill). The Boston Marathon explosions actually happened on the border of this district and the 7th, because the border is Boylston Street. SAFE D.
2008: 71-28 Obama
This district takes in some of the grittier areas of Boston, as well as some of its less affluent southern suburbs. Some of these suburbs, such as Quincy, Braintree, and Randolph, actually swung toward Obama last year. These southern suburbs were definitely the best ones to attach to this part of Boston. SAFE D.
2008: 59-40 Obama
This district includes the entirety of Bristol County (which, unlike some other MA counties, is a community of interest). It also takes in some adjoining areas of Norfolk County, and one town of Plymouth (which acts as a suburb of New Bedford). This is a nice, cohesive district, and I don’t have much more to say about it. SAFE D.
2008: 55-44 Obama
This district is basically Plymouth County plus the Cape and Islands. Some of you may wonder why I put Brockton in this district when it would seem to go better in the 7th. The reason is that moving Brockton to the 7th would involve shifting Braintree, Weymouth, and Hingham to the 9th. This would split the solid community of interest that is Quincy, Braintree, and Weymouth. Also, the district would look rather ugly (in my opinion). Thus, I kept Brockton with the rest of Plymouth County. LIKELY D.
This map would really mess up the incumbents. Neal and McGovern would be put together (though one might carpetbag over to the 1st). Tsongas, Capuano, Lynch, and Keating all have clear districts. Markey and Tierney are put together, but since Markey is running for the Senate that won’t be a problem. Finally, Joe Kennedy would probably take the Bristol County-based district. Overall: 8 Safe D, 1 Likely D
Map of the whole state:
District 1 (blue): 70/13/12/4 (white/black/Hispanic/Asian), 55-44 Obama '08
District 2 (green): 70/14/10/5, 64-35 Obama
District 3 (purple): 64/18/10/6, 63-36 Obama
District 4 (red): 87/3/7/2, 58-41 McCain
District 5 (gold): 75/7/9/8, 50-49 Obama
District 6 (teal): 48/11/18/22, 63-36 Obama
On this map, districts 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 would be safe Democratic, and districts 4, 11, and 12 would be safe Republican. Frank LoBiondo would have a slightly more Democratic district to deal with, and Frank Pallone would have a swing district in Monmouth and Middlesex Counties. However, Jon Runyan would be a goner (Rush Holt would defeat him), and districts 6 and 9 would be open for a Democrat. Andrews, Payne, Sires, and Pascrell have clear districts. Smith would probably carpetbag over to the 4th. Garrett and Frelinghuysen are put together in the 12th, but one of them might move over to the 11th. Finally, Leonard Lance is left without a district.
District 7 (gray): 24/51/17/6, 84-15 Obama
District 8 (slate blue): 31/8/48/10, 72-27 Obama
District 9 (cyan): 62/7/22/7, 56-44 Obama
District 10 (pink): 47/11/27/13, 64-35 Obama
District 11 (light green): 80/2/7/10, 54-45 McCain
District 12 (light blue): 83/2/8/5, 57-42 McCain
Overall, 7 Democratic/3 Republican/2 Swing.
Map of the whole state:
Mike Doyle’s seat is safe, however Murphy and Rothfus both live in the 3rd (though Rothfus might carpetbag over to the 2nd). Kelly no longer lives in his district (which is now a swing district), though he could move from the 4th to the 5th, which would leave the 4th open. Shuster and Thompson are both safe.
District 1 (blue): 76/18/2/3 (white/black/Hispanic/Asian), 67-32 Obama '08
District 2 (green): 95/3/1/1, 53-46 McCain
District 3 (purple): 94/2/1/2, 57-42 McCain
District 4 (red): 92/5/2/1, 52-46 Obama
District 5 (gold): 96/2/1/1, 57-42 McCain
District 6 (teal): 94/2/1/2, 53-45 McCain
District 7 (gray): 95/2/2/1, 64-35 McCain
Perry is safe, but Cartwright and Barletta are put together in a matchup that Cartwright would win. Holden would be safe in his new district if he chose to run for it. Although Pitts lives in Chester County, he’s always been seen as Lancaster’s congressman, and if he chose to run in the 13th he’d be pretty safe. Charlie Dent would face some challenges in the 10th, since it is now slightly more Democratic. Gerlach would cruise in the 12th, as that district is perfect for him. Fitzpatrick would also easily win the 14th. The big loser in SEPA is Pat Meehan, who now gets all of Delaware County and a district that voted 59-40 for Obama in 2008. Brady, Fattah, and Schwartz’s successor would all be safe in their districts.
District 8 (slate blue): 89/4/4/2, 56-43 McCain
District 9 (cyan): 89/4/5/1, 56-43 Obama
District 10 (pink): 79/5/12/3, 57-42 Obama
District 11 (light green): 85/8/5/2, 50-49 McCain
District 12 (light blue): 88/5/5/2, 52-47 Obama
District 13 (tan): 82/4/12/2, 51-48 McCain
District 14 (olive): 88/4/4/4, 54-45 Obama
District 15 (orange): 76/15/3/5, 59-40 Obama
District 16 (lime green): 19/70/4/5, 95-5 Obama
District 17 (dark blue): 56/16/18/8, 74-26 Obama
District 18 (yellow): 79/9/4/7, 61-38 Obama
Overall: 5 Safe D, 1 Likely D (Meehan), 1 Likely Holden, 2 Tossup (4th, 10th), 2 Likely R (2nd, 14th), 7 Safe R
UPDATE: Connecticut is added!
I hope you enjoyed reading this diary, and any thoughts, concerns, questions, or comments are much appreciated. I must thank Stephen Wolf for his incredible diary that really gave me a lot to think about and was the impetus for writing this diary. I am only standing on the shoulders of giants here.