There was no reason for me to do this since neither state will re-gerrymander until 2021 and both states have Democratic legislatures and Republican governors. However, I feel fairly confident that with both booming and growing Hispanic populations, the Democrats will dominate all levels of government, barring scandal, by 2020, so we’ll have a good chance at a Democratic gerrymander. New Mexico probably won’t change the number of seats it has while Nevada lately usually has a chance to gain one, depending on how quickly housing and the economy recover there. Obviously population shifts will happen but here’s a hypothetical of how things could look.

First, New Mexico: New Mexico historically has had congressional districts running horizontally, with a northern district, Albuquerque-based one in the middle, and a southern district. This map, vaguely, creates vertical districts, one in the west, one in the center, and one in the east.

State View:

Albuquerque area:
1st District (Blue)
This district had been swingy for awhile but trending Democratic. It also has historically been Albuquerque-centric. The map breaks up Albuquerque, and I’m not sure if that’s kosher in New Mexico.  But if we’re serious about gerrymandering, then we should go to extreme lengths in the way Republicans currently do. This district contains all of Albuquerque except for conservative portions in the northeast, east of I-25 and north of I-40. With all of liberal Albuquerque in there, it can eat up a lot of red areas to the southeast. It leaves out southeastern “cities” such as Roswell, Hobbs, and Clovis. It was 47% Hispanic in 2008. Only going to get moreso.

2008 Obama: 57.9%
Dem performance: 53.6%
Rating: Likely Democrat

2nd District (Green)
This district is actually the reddest of the three, because it contains Republican Rio Rancho and Republican Farmington. But it also contains the reservations in the northwest and liberal-leaning counties in the southwest.  Las Cruces is only going to get more liberal with more Hispanics. District was 41% Hispanic in 2008 and 18% Native American.

2008 Obama: 54.2%
Dem performance:  51.3%
Rating: Tilt-D now, probably Lean D by 2020

3rd District (Purple)
This takes the conservative parts of Albuquerque and pairs it with liberal Sante Fe and the liberal areas of the north in general. It then wraps around to the southeast to pick up those areas, including all of Roswell.  It’s the least Hispanic district yet Obama performed the best here in 2008.

2008 Obama: 58.3%
Dem performance: 53.7%
Rating: Likely Democrat

This plan does eliminate a truly safe seat for Democrats (currently, the 3rd). But it encourages them to run competent legislators who will not forget their constitutents. It does ignore communicies of interest, especially the 1st and 3rd, but that wasn’t my concern and if Republicans can draw stuff in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan where communities don’t share common cultures and economies, then so can Democrats in New Mexico.

On to Nevada, where in 2011 for the first time parts of the Vegas metro were paired with cow counties to the north. That gives me the go-ahead to continue the tradition without doing something extreme like a Reno-to-Vegas strip down the western edge of the state.  The map assumes Nevada actually won’t gain a seat in 2020.

State View:

Vegas Area:
1st District
Las Vegas has traditionally had its own, urban-centric district that covers downtown. If we’re going to spread Democratic influence, we need to stop doing that because it packs Dems to a certain extent.  It gets rid of a safe district in favor of two likely Dem districts. The new 1st takes in southeastern parts of the city and extends south to cover all the rest of Clark county east of I-15.

2008 Obama: 56.7%
Dem performance: 53.8%
Rating: Likely Democrat

2nd District
It will be interesting to see what happens in Reno over the next few years…it’s trending blue ever so slightly. This would still be a tough get for Democrats, as it is now, but Democrats could get it under the right circumstances, especially in an open-seat situation. Mark Amodei is fairly young , at 54, so he could hold this seat and keep it probably in the future. It all depends on how fast the Hispanic population grows here (only 16% in 2008) and how liberal Washoe County gets.

2008 Obama: 50.0%
Dem performance: 46.0%
Rating: Likely Republican with Amodei, Tilt R in open seat

3rd District
Western parts of Las Vegas and suburbs. Not much to say here. Joe Heck is probably gone this decade anyway.

2008 Obama: 56.5%
Dem performance: 53.7%
Rating: Likely Democrat

4th District
Steven Harsford is probably still around unless he challenges Dean Heller in 2018. That would be an interesting matchup. His seat is likely D now (if not Safe D) and this would remain the safest D district in 2020. Liberal North Las Vegas dominates the counties to the north.

2008 Obama: 59.2%
Dem performance: 57.5%
Rating: Safe Democrat

Nevada and New Mexico right now are 4-3 between the two of them. With these maps, it’s 6-1. If Amodei doesn’t run in 2022 and we have a less than stellar candidate for NM-02, it would be 5-0-2. Dems could gain 2-3 seats out of this.

Originally posted to larcae on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 04:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by New Mexico Kossaks.

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