This diary is a take off of HoosierD42's "Doubling the House" series, where we imagine that House of Representatives is doubled in size, to 870 Reps, and draw new districts under this premise.
Today I will look at at two scenarios. First my home state of Massachusetts, where I struggle to ensure likely Dem control of all 18 seats, plus a minority seat in Boston. As a bonus, I will imagine that DC becomes a state and draw two districts for her.
Despite it's overall Dem lean, Massachusetts is actually a rather polarized state in close elections. The Democratic strongholds are
- Boston and its inner suburbs
- The towns northwest of Boston
- Western Mass, excluding the Springfield suburbs
- Other urban centers (Worcester, Lawrence, New Bedford, etc.)
- The outer cape
The rest of the state, while largely voting Democratic in Presidential elections, can swing quite strongly Red if the right candidate comes along (Such as Scott Brown and Charlie Baker). The goal of the map was to assure that none of the 18 districts had too large a concentration of such voters, which would vote GOP under the right circumstances. I used the average of the two party vote in the 2010 Senate and Governor elections to determine this.
I also followed the Massachusetts redistricting principle of minimizing town splits, though some were unavoidable. Boston, Cambridge and New Bedford were sliced and diced for political reason. Lincoln, Saugus, Natick, Waltham and Chicopee were split mostly for population equality reasons. Somerville and Everett were split to grab minority precincts. No district is more than 1,000 off of the mean.
Keep in mind that Massachusetts as a whole has an average of 50.6, so when you see Dem averages dipping below 50 think "likely D".
This district balances the very blue northern Berkshires and Franklin County with some more conservative areas in the center of the state and the Lowell Suburbs. Andrea Nuciforo lives here (in Pittsfield) and now has a clear shot at the nomination. This district is almost entirely rural and small cities.
Congressman Neal gets a district a bit safer than his current one, with the South Berkshires and his Springfield base canceling some conservative suburbs.
The super liberal 5 colleges area counters the Worcester suburbs. If John Olver wasn't retiring he would run here.
The Nashoba Valley and Worcester. McGovern should be fine, despite strong Brown showing in these towns, as, once again, it is safer than his current district.
Lowell and Framingham/Natick are the Dem anchors on this 495 belt district. Tsongas represents all of the district except its Southern extreme, so she should be okay.
This district is the most extreme violation of communities of interest on the map. It stretches from Cambridge (of which it only contains a small portion) through Newton, to the Worcester burbs and the Blackstone Valley. Barney Frank lives here, but would probably still retire since the district is mostly new to him.
Markey keeps Malden, Medford and Arlington as a solid base, but gets a long stream of new towns to the North. He might be less than happy about this, as this district is redder than his current one and Richard Tisei (The strongest Gopper running this year) is now in his district rather than Tierney's.
Liberal suburbs in the southern part of the district balance more conservative ones to the north. St. Sen. Jamie Eldridge. who ran for MA-5 in 2007, lives here, in Acton, though his Senate district is largely in the 5th.
Here is the minority district, which the VRA does not require but the legislature probably couldn't get away with not creating. Unlike the new MA-7, which will almost certainly reelect Mike Capuano, this district has a decent chance of actually electing a minority, perhaps Ayanna Pressley?
Coastal Essex County is bluer than the current MA-6, so unless there's a lot more to Tierney's Brother-in-law problem that we don't know yet he should be safe in this Tisei-less district.
Wealthy liberals and heavily hispanic Lawrence anchor this complex district. A white Dem from the Merrimack Valley portion (such as Steven Baddour of Methuen) should do fine, but someone from either Lexington or Lawrence might have trouble.
This district uses water continuity and the Boston Harbor Islands to connect the South Shore with Somerville (and part of Cambridge). Capuano's working class cred should play well in Revere and Winthrop, keeping him safe from any South Shore Republicans who might challenge him.
This white ethnic Boston, Quincy and south suburb district is perfect for Lynch. Keating will probably run in the 16th.
Brookline and Brighton counter some quite conservative suburbs.
Yet another Boston verses the burbs district. Mike Ross who chickened out of the 4th lives here.
This district contains the various Dem towns in the south suburbs (Brockton, Randolph, Milton, Taunton, Sharon), so does not require an arm into Boston. Keating is from Sharon originally and was accused of carpetbagging when he declared his primary residence to be a Quincy apartment. I suspect that he would "move" back here rather than go up against Lynch.
The South Coast finally gets a proper district (minus a small part of New Bedford). The Democratic strength of the area should counter the conservative towns attached to it.
This Cape and islands district is actually reddest in the state, but plenty of strong local Dems should be able to hold it, such as former St. Sen. Rob O'leary, his successor Dan Wolf or Senate Prez. Therese Murray.
DC is just under 50% Black VAP, so it is not possible to create two majority Black districts. One could split it along its race lines, but I thought it would be fairer to create one solidly Black district, but not overwhelmingly, and another "majority minority" district that could elect someone of any race.
District 1 - Blue - VAP 46.1 W / 34.9 B / 12.4 H / 4.2 A - 91.7 Obama
District 2 - Green - VAP 30.1 W / 59.7 B / 4.5 H / 3.5 A - 94.1 Obama