Fellow Kossacks, I have returned with Chapter II of my take on fantasy redistricting.
Last week, I presented a pair of redistricting scenarios for my former home state of Kentucky. Tonight, we're crossing the Ohio River for a little gerrymandering of the Hoosier State.
This is a state that has already been done by at least four members in the past. GoUBears presented a 6-3 map earlier this year that would make Salvador Dali envious. So I decided to make a more aesthetically pleasing 6-3 redistricting plan. Click below to see how I pulled it off.
We start in northwestern Indiana. This district starts in the deep blue Chicago suburbs of Lake County. It moves south to include all of Newton, Jasper, Benton, and White Counties. It proceeds east to include all of Pulaski and Fulton Counties, almost all of Kosciusko County, and most of Marshall County.
Democrat Pete Visclosky of Merrillville represents the current 1st district. In this 57.8% Obama district, Visclosky remains safe.
This is my favorite Indiana district. This north central district takes in all of Porter, LaPorte, Starke, and St. Joseph Counties. Most of Elkhart County and the remainder of Marshall County round out the population. The cities of Portage, Valparaiso, South Bend, Mishawaka, and Elkhart are all here.
The current 2d district is represented by teabag queen and gerrymander queen Jackie Walorski. Yeah, you all know her story by now. She first ran for Congress in 2010 against Democratic incumbent Joe Donnelly, where she lost narrowly. So what did the Republican-controlled Indiana legislature do? They gave her new voters. And with Donnelly out of the picture (because he was busy winning a U.S. Senate race), Walorski had a free path to Congress.
I would love to see the gerrymander queen try to survive in this 54.6% Obama district.
This Republican-friendly district starts in Elkhart County's leftovers. It then wraps around Ft. Wayne and darts west through Marion, Kokomo, and Frankfort (the city where my stepfather's family resides).
Republican Marlin Stutzman of LaGrange County is a congressional newbie, but he can serve as long as he wants in this 58.5% McCain district.
This thin district fits nicely between the 1st, 2d, and 3d districts. It starts in Ft. Wayne and stretches west-by-southwest to Lafayette. Once it hits the Illinois border, it drops south to Terre Haute.
This is a 51.6% Obama district. In a reliably red state like Indiana, a R+1 district is equivalent to a tilt-D district. Since this is an open seat, a Republican can't ride on his or her incumbency here. It's a free shot for Team Blue.
A Republican vote sink that attaches the deep red Indianapolis suburbs to the even deeper red southeastern Indiana counties.
Republican Susan Brooks of Carmel is as entrenched as she can get in this 61.4% McCain district.
An interesting east central district that includes Richmond (home of the ubiquitous RV dealership owned by the unfortunately named Tom Raper), Muncie (home of David Letterman's alma mater, Ball State University), Anderson, and parts of Indianapolis.
This is another open seat for another 51.6% Obama district.
A compact district that is composed mostly of Marion County (Indianapolis). Parts of Shelby County, including the county seat of Shelbyville, bring the population up to par.
I have forced three incumbents into this district. Current 4th district representative Todd Rokita (R) lives in the west Indianapolis suburb of Clermont. Current 6th district representative Luke Messer (R) lives in Shelbyville. Current 7th district representative Andre Carson (D) is an Indianapolis man. This district is solidly blue, at 63.6% Obama. Carson will destroy either Rokita or Messer.
Neither Rokita nor Messer have a lot of positive alternatives to explore here. Messer could move a few miles south and challenge Brooks in the 5th district Republican primary. Rokita could move a few miles west and do the same thing... or carpetbag to the new 8th district. Rokita may not be the only sitting Republican to go for the 8th, though.
This massive district spans roughly 28 of Indiana's 92 counties. Indianapolis suburbs in the north, Evansville suburbs in the south, and a shitload of rural red in between.
This is the third open seat that I've created, but this one is up for grabs to the Republicans. It's 57.7% McCain. Along with Rokita, current 8th district Republican Larry Bucshon (whose hometown of Newburgh has been drawn into the new 9th district) could also carpetbag here and make for a bloody race.
Indiana's final district spans the Ohio River from Evansville to Madison (including the suburbs of Louisville, KY). It then reaches north to Columbus and the college city of Bloomington.
It's another tilt-D district, at 51.4% Obama. Current 9th district Republican Todd Young of Bloomington is forced into this district with Bucshon. Since Buchson will almost certainly move to northern Vanderburgh County in order to run in the 8th, Young will have a clear path to the Republican nomination. As the incumbent, Young would be a slight favorite in the general... unless a conservative Democrat jumps into the race. Democrat Baron Hill was elected five times (1998-2002, 2006-08) in a much more conservative 9th district, so it can certainly be done. Don't expect a return of Congressman Hill in the 9th, though: His home of Seymour is in the new 8th. Former 8th district Democratic representative Brad Ellsworth, however, lives in the new 9th. If he were looking for a political comeback after his unsuccessful 2010 U.S. Senate campaign, he could run and make Young very nervous.
I hope you all enjoyed this diary entry. I'll have another fantasy gerrymander session very soon.