The purpose of this diary is to demonstrate that it is quite possible to redistrict Maryland in a manner in which 8 Democrats can be elected to Congress from the state.
The following map provides a visual re. how this may be accomplished following the 2010 Census:
1.) I tried to make the new map reflective of 2010 population estimates, as different parts of the state have experienced varying population growth levels. For example, the population of Baltimore City is expected to decline slightly between the 2000 and 2010 Censuses, while some outer exurban areas of Baltimore and Washington are expected to show increases of 20% or more.
2.) I tried to make the map less gerrymandered than the current one, and believe that I was successful at the task. While still creative, the district boundaries are arguably more uniform and the districts more compact than before. Additionally, the new map keeps intact much of the territory of the current 7 Democratic representatives, while still creating a new 8th Democratic seat. I decided to keep the district boundaries exactly as they currently are in Baltimore City -- in that way it will be much harder to challenge those lines (which are quite gerrymandered) in Court as the new district boundaries in Baltimore would do nothing more than preserve the status quo.
3.) Due to the VRA, the state has to preserve 2 African-American majority districts. The new map does accomplish this task. Both District 4 and District 7 are about 51% African-American, using projected 2010 population estimates. The hitch here is that I use the Census definition of "African-American or in combination with other race(s)" while the standard to use may need to be "African-American alone" under which only about 49% of the population of each district would be black. Nevertheless, as I’m using only projected population figures, it’s something that can be adjusted once the official 2010 numbers come out -- think of the map here as sort of a blueprint of what can be done. Both districts are ensured to elect an African-American Democrat, as 70% or more of the Democratic primary vote in each district is expected to be comprised of African-Americans.
4.) I tried to preserve the Democratic nature of all the current Democratic-held districts. As you can see from the map, and accompanying tables, in Districts 2, 3 and 5, the Democratic percentage -- as measured by the share Obama received last year -- remains basically the same (it should be noted that the numbers I use here don’t include an adjustment for absentees which would change them slightly). In District 8, the Democratic percentage declines a bit more -- approximately 3% -- but still stays at about 70% Obama, which will keep the 8th in Democratic hands. In Districts 4 and 7, the Democratic percentage drops significantly -- from 85% to 73% in MD-4, and from 79% to 66% in MD-7, but the districts are still very Democratic (even John Kerry received close to 60% of the vote in 2004 under District 7’s new lines). McCain would have won the new District 1 narrowly; however, the Democratic percentage surges from 40% Obama to 47% Obama. If Kratovil can survive the 2010 election, this map will solidify him in 2012. District 6 experiences the biggest changes. The Democratic percentage goes from an anemic 40% to a robust 58.4% (basically equaling Districts 2 and 3).
Discussion of Individual Districts:
This district continues to encompass the entire Eastern Shore. The Republican Harford and Baltimore County portions of the district also remain. The Anne Arundel Co. portion is taken out and substituted by hyper-Democratic territory currently in the 2nd (Randallstown) and 7th (Lochearn). The new 1st is arguably less gerrymandered than the old one. There is no more connection of parts of the district over the Bay Bridge, and the district encompasses one less county than before.
The district continues to be anchored by Baltimore County -- the boundaries change very slightly in that county. The Harford County and Baltimore City boundaries don’t change at all. The Anne Arundel Co. part remains similar to the current, though is less gerrymandered. To substitute for the loss of the Randallstown area, the Laurel area is added instead.
Like MD-2, the new 3rd remains quite similar to the current district. The Baltimore City, Towson, Parkville Pikesville, Owings Mills, Reisterstown, and Arbutus areas remain intact, as well as the current Howard Co. portion of the district. The remainder of Howard is added (whereby the whole county is now in MD-3). The Mt. Airy area of Carroll and Frederick Counties is added as well as Catonsville in Baltimore Co. (Catonsville was in the district prior to 1992), while the highly gerrymandered Anne Arundel areas are taken out.
The new 4th continues to encompass large portions of 2 counties. Most of inner Prince George’s County continues to anchor the district. However, Montgomery is detached and substituted by Anne Arundel -- in fact, the most Republican parts of Anne Arundel. The Democratic percentage thereby goes down a lot, but still stays at 72.5% Obama.
Very little changes here. Continues to encompass the 3 Southern Maryland counties, south Anne Arundel and outer Prince George’s. The Annapolis area and parts of Upper Marlboro are substituted for Laurel and adjoining parts of northern PG.
Continues to wholly encompass the 3 Western Maryland counties, as well as a good part of Frederick Co. The hyper-Republican Carroll Co. and areas east are detached, while the district is extended further into Montgomery and PG -- including some of the most Democratic parts of suburban DC, ie. Silver Spring, Takoma Park, Mt. Rainier, Cheverly and Landover. The new district is not any less compact than before, and it now includes only all or part of 6 counties, instead of the current 7 counties.
This district "looks" a bit different from the current one; however, population-wise, much of the district remains the same. The entire Baltimore City portion of the district remains wholly intact, as well as the Woodlawn area of Baltimore County. The suburban/exurban areas in Howard Co. are detached and substituted by even more exurban (and even more Republican) areas in Carroll, northern Baltimore Co. and northern Harford as well as the blue-leaning area encompassing the City of Frederick (all taken out of the current 6th District).
Remains very similar to the current one. Democratic areas, including Takoma Park, parts of Silver Spring and the PG portion of the district are taken out, while relatively more republican areas in northern Montgomery are attached. The new 8th remains entirely within Montgomery County.
So that’s my map in a nutshell; I welcome comments and discussion.