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Synopsis: It is clear that if Republicans get their way with redistricting, they will pass a map that does it's best to screw over democrats. While this wouldn't necessarily be fatal for Democrats (see glame's diary here for a great rundown on what a GOP Gerrymander would look like), it would not be pleasant, either. The most likely alternative to a Republican gerrymander is a court drawn map that would be drawn when Democrats take control of the State Senate and the process deadlocks. While this would obviously be preferable to a Republican gerrymander, it would still make life harder for Democrats, particularly in the 8th and 5th Senate Districts. This is primarily due to Milwaukee's population growth not keeping pace with the rest of the state and possible census undercounting.

While drawing this map, I tried to follow the following criteria:
1. Where possible, follow the lines of the current court drawn map.
2. Where the lines need changing, attempt to do so in a way that respects communities of interest and is reasonably compact.

Here is the current map, for reference. Detailed analysis below the fold.


District 10:
Incumbent: Sheila Harsdorf (R)
Old District: Obama 50.1% McCain 47.9%
New District: Obama 49.1% McCain 49.0%

The only district in this region with presidential year elections. St. Croix county has experienced exurban growth from the twin cities, meaning that this district had to shrink. I think the court is most likely to get rid of Menomonie, shifting the district a point to the right. This would make Sheila Harsdorf a wee bit safer if she survives recall, or Shelly Moore's life a bit more difficult if she wins, but I don't see it being decisive. This is already a tough district for Democrats.

District 25:
Incumbent: Bob Jauch (D)
Old District: Obama 58.9% McCain 39.6%
New District: Obama 58.3% McCain 40.1%

This Lake Superior coast based district has not quite been keeping pace wit state population growth and needs to expand. It gets a half a point more Republican, but is still basically safe for Bob Jauch, or whatever Democrat runs to succeed him.

District 29:
Incumbent: Pam Galloway (R)
Old District: Obama 53.4% McCain 44.7%
New District: Obama 53.1% McCain 45.0%

This Wausau based district becomes a fraction of a point more republican due to shifting around a couple of Townships and villages (mostly to accommodate other districts), but Pam Galloway will still be a prime democratic target in 2014.

District 23:
Incumbent: Terry Moulton (R)
Old District: Obama 55.1% McCain 43.1%
New District: Obama 56.4% McCain 41.7%

Sheila Harsdorf's Gain is Terry Moulton's loss. This district picks up Menomie from Harsdorf and drops a bunch of townships in eastern Marathon County, making it Terry Moulton and even more attractive target.

District 31:
Incumbent: Kathleen Vinehout (D)
Old District: Obama 57.8% McCain 40.6%
New District: Obama 57.7% McCain 40.7%

Vinehout's district swaps a few townships, but remains pretty much the same. It should elect a democrat unless something is seriously wrong.


District 12:
Incumbent: Jim Holperin (D)
Old District: Obama 52.7% McCain 45.7%
New District: Obama 52.9% McCain 45.5%

Jim Holperin's district remains pretty much the same, swapping around a few townships. This is a hard district for democrats, but Holperin can hold it, especially if he's up against the likes of Kim Simac.

District 2:
Incumbent: Robert Cowles (R)
Old District: Obama 52.4% McCain 46.2%
New District: Obama 52.3% McCain 46.3%

Cowles' district remains more or less the same, although it drops a few townships into Holperin's district. It's a tough district for democrats, but winnable.

District 30:
Incumbent: Dave Hansen (D)
Old District: Obama 56.5% McCain 42.1%
New District: Obama 56.6% McCain 42.0%

Hasen's district barely changes, it still leans D.

District 1:
Incumbent: Frank Lasse (R)
Old District: Obama 53.4% McCain 45.1%
New District: Obama 52.9% McCain 45.6%

Lasse's district loses two rivers and becomes a half a point more Republican. It's still a potential pick up opportunity, but is by no means a gimme.

District 9:
Incumbent: Joe Leibham (R)
Old District: Obama 52.6% McCain 45.9%
New District: Obama 53.5% McCain 45.0%

Leibham picks up Two rivers and becomes a point more democratic. However, it will be hard for Dems to win here with Leibham as the candidate. However, when Tom Petri retires and Leibham in all likelyhood runs for the seat, this becomes a potential pickup opportunity.

District 18:
Incumbent: Randy Hopper (R)
Old District: Obama 51.3% McCain 47.3%
New District: Obama 51.5% McCain 47.1%

Hopper's district remains pretty much the same although it becomes a smidgen more Democratic. Hopper is almost definitely screwed in the recall, although whether Jess King can hold this district in the long term is an open question.

District 19:
Incumbent: Mike Ellis (R)
Old District: Obama 54.0% McCain 44.1%
New District: Obama 54.2% McCain 44.0%

Mike Ellis's district stays pretty much the same. Mike Ellis will be a top democratic target in 2014.


District 13:
Incumbent: Scott Fitzgerald (R)
Old District: Obama 47.8% McCain 50.8%
New District: Obama 51.5% McCain 47.1%

Speaker Firzgerald actually gets an Obama district! Basically this district has to move west into more democratic turf to deal with the fact that the Milaukee districts are expanding and the Dane County districts are contracting. He loses some townships in Dodge and Jefferson County and picks some up in Dane and Columbia Counties, as well as the city of Edgerton in Rock County. I'd like to believe that a democrat could win here, but I have my doubts. It would certainly be a tough slog.

District 15:
Incumbent: Tim Cullen (D)
Old District: Obama 63.2% McCain 35.2%
New District: Obama 63.2% McCain 35.2%

Janesville hasn't exactly been keeping up with population growth, so this district needs to make up the population. It does it by grabbing Evansville from Erpenpach and shedding Edgerton. Even in the somewhat likely event of a Tim Cullen retirement, this district is safe D unless the Democratic nominee pulls a Mike Sheridan.

District 26:
Incumbent: Fred Risser (D)
Old District: Obama 80.9% McCain 17.5%
New District: Obama 80.9% McCain 17.5%

Gotta love Madison.

District 27:
Incumbent: Jon Erpenbach (D)
Old District: Obama 67.0% McCain 31.7%
New District: Obama 66.2% McCain 33.6%

This district has perhaps grown more than any other district in the state, and has to shed a lot of population. It drops Evansville into the Rock County district, and some of it's Dane County turf into Mark Miller's district. It becomes a smidgen less democratic, but is still overwhelmingly liberal.

District 16:
Incumbent: Mark Miller (D)
Old District: Obama 66.2% McCain 32.5%
New District: Obama 68.5% McCain 30.3%

Miller's district has to pick up some of the slack from Erpenbach's district and has experienced some growth itself. Because of this, it becomes even more Dane County centric, losing almost all of it's Columbia County turf. It becomes a few points more Democratic, but considering how Democratic is already was, it really doesn't matter.

District 14:
Incumbent: Luther Olsen (R)
Old District: Obama 51.8% McCain 46.7%
New District: Obama 52.3% McCain 46.2%

Olsen's district becomes a half a point more Democratic, for some of the same reasons as Speaker Fitzgerald's: contraction of the Dane County districts. If Fred Clark wins the recall election here, this still won't be an easy hold, but he's definitely the guy to do it.

District 24:
Incumbent: Julie Lassa (D)
Old District: Obama 59.0% McCain 39.0%
New District: Obama 58.9% McCain 39.1%

Julie Lassa's district stays pretty much the same, she should be fine.

District 17:
Incumbent: Dale Shultz (R)
Old District: Obama 60.5% McCain 38.0%
New District: Obama 60.6% McCain 38.0%

I made a couple of township swaps, but Dale Shultz's district remains the second most Democratic district held by a Republican, being barely edged out by Kapanke's. He may or may not have saved his political life by voting against Scott Walker's union busting bill, but he will probably still get a stiff challenge in 2014.

District 32:
Incumbent: Dan Kapanke (R)
Old District: Obama 60.8% McCain 37.6%
New District: Obama 60.6% McCain 37.7%

We might as well state referring to this as "Jen Schilling's district" instead of "Dan Kapanke's district." There's no way around it, the guy is screwed.

Milwaukee Area:

District 22:
Incumbent: Robert Wirch (D)
Old District: Obama 57.1% McCain 41.3%
New District: Obama 57.5% McCain 40.9%

Bob Wirch's district swaps a tiny bit of territory with the 11th and becomes a half a point more democratic. If a Republican is winning here, something is seriously wrong.

District 21:
Incumbent: Van Wanggaard (R)
Old District: Obama 55.3% McCain 43.4%
New District: Obama 54.7% McCain 44.0%

Van Wanggaard (or, if you prefer, Wanggggggggggggggggggaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaard!) picks up Waterford, making his district half a point more Republican. He will still be a top Democratic target in 2014. I could definitely see Cory Mason giving this seat a shot.

District 28:
Incumbent: Mary Lazich (R)
Old District: Obama 39.2% McCain 59.7%
New District: Obama 39.3% McCain 59.6%

Mary Lazich's district stays pretty much the same: totally unwinnable for Democrats.

District 33:
Incumbent: Rich Zipperer (R)
Old District: Obama 37.3% McCain 61.6%
New District: Obama 37.6% McCain 61.3%

Rich Zipperer(erererererererer)'s district has to move west into Kedzie's 11th due to the Milwaukee districts expanding. This Waukesha based seat is still very safely Republican.

District 11:
Incumbent: Neal Kedzie (R)
Old District: Obama 39.6% McCain 59.2%
New District: Obama 40.7% McCain 57.9%

Kedzie's district loses a lot of it's Waukesha turf to Zipperer and heads up into Scott Fitzgerald's district. It's still pretty solidly Republican.

District 20:
Incumbent: Glenn Grothman (R)
Old District: Obama 35.7% McCain 63.0%
New District: Obama 35.7% McCain 63.0%

Glen Grothman's district stats the same: the most Reupublican district in the state. This Washington-Ozaukee district ain't going anywhere.

District 7:
Incumbent: Chris Larson (D)
Old District: Obama 60.5% McCain 37.8%
New District: Obama 60.0% McCain 38.3%

Chirs Larson's east / south side Milwaukee district stays pretty much the same, this seat is staying democratic.

District 3:
Incumbent: Tim Carpenter (D)
Old District: Obama 53.4% McCain 45.1%
New District: Obama 52.9% McCain 45.6%

Tim Carpenter's district is the one District in Milwaukee besides Larson's with no substantial changes. This district contains the fastest growing hispanic areas in the state, and may become plurality latino in the next decade, so there's a good chance that if Carpenter retires, his replacement will be a latino Democrat.

District 6:
Incumbent: Spencer Coggs (D)
Old District: Obama 88.6% McCain 10.7%
New District: Obama 84.2% McCain 14.9%

This is where things get interesting, and not in a good way for team blue. Whether due to actual population loss, census undercounting, or some combination of the two, Spencer Coggs's current district is well below the population target and needs to expand. There are several possible results of this, but I think a court might like a district that hugs the Milwaukee city boarder, and this one does. Unfortunately, this takes a lot of the the democratic turf out of the potential swingy but already R leaning 5th.

District 5:
Incumbent: Leah Vukmir (R)
Old District: Obama 51.4% McCain 47.1%
New District: Obama 46.9% McCain 51.8%

Leah Vukmir's district loses a lot of it's most democratic turf, and moves further out into Waukesha. It goes from a 51% Obama district to a 47% Obama district, and is now pretty much totally safe for her despite some of the crazy.

District 4:
Incumbent: Lena Taylor (D)
Old District: Obama 86.4% McCain 12.8%
New District: Obama 85.0% McCain 14.3%

Leana Taylor's district, like Spencer Coggs's, fell well below the population target. Some of this is solved by moving down into Coggs's district as he expands out to hug the city borders, but this district needs to expand some into Darling's district's democratic turf. The question is how much.

District 8:
Incumbent: Alberta Darling (R)
Old District: Obama 51.4% McCain 47.4%
New District: Obama 48.6% McCain 50.2%

Lena Taylor's district steals some of Darling's Milwaukee City wards, moving the district three points to the right and forcing it out into more conservative suburban territory. Indeed, Sandy Pasch could win the recall, only to find herself unable to survive a tougher district in November 2012. Because the democratic turf in this district is so democratic and the the Republican parts are so Republican, different plausible configurations of this district have widely different partisan results. The most Democratic configuration of this district I drew had Obama and McCain tied with Taylor's district going into norther Wauwatosa, and the most Republican Configuration I drew had Obama at around 46%, with Vukmir retaining her tendril of Milwaukee City and Taylor taking a lot of the north shore suburbs in addition to the Milwaukee wards. This already tough district is going to get tougher for Democrats, but it's an open question as to how much.

Conclusion: In much of the state, redistricting changed very little. However, in Milwaukee County, Redistricting has serious implications due to population loss in Spencer Coggs and Lena Taylor's districts resulting in more Republican 5th and 8ths districts. At least one of these districts will probably be moved totally out of reach. Considering voting trends in the west versus north suburbs, and the fact that control of the Senate in January 2013 could depend on the 8th, democrats should hope that it is the 5th.

What does this mean for the recalls? Not much. The State Senate recalls have always been about taking fire away from the arsonists, and Democrats should continue to back Sandy Pasch to the hilt. However, this does have serious implications if democrats want to have control of the State Senate in January 2013 in order to undo some of the stuff that the Walker administration has done. If Sandy Pasch is the balance of a Democratic senate majority the day after the recalls, Democrats should seriously consider the viability of recalls against Senators elected last year (many of whom are in far more Democratic districts due to being elected in wave year) when they become eligible for recall.

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Comment Preferences

  •  nice (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    neecie100, dc1000

    Nice work.  I've enjoyed reading your work.

    I am working on a similar project....  those oddly-shaped Senate districts that currently exist in Wisconsin need to become more compact.  My district (the 29th) is just odd with its core in central and eastern Marathon County, then connected to the 87th Assembly to Taylor county and beyond (both areas connected by a narrow connection in NW Marathon County).  As soon as I am able to create a diary (just signed up 2 days ago), I'll post what I've come up with.  Worked to be non-partisan in creating it (focused on compactness), but unknowingly got a map that is 17D-5R-11Tossup.  Did this all while keeping all 33 current Senators in their district (although some districts change significantly.)  In the meantime, I'm working on the implications at the Assembly level as well.

    Citizen from WI-07 (Marathon County)

    by CentralWIGuy on Wed Jun 15, 2011 at 05:37:49 PM PDT

    •  Yeah, the old 29th looks weird (0+ / 0-)

      As you can see, I trued to clean it up a bit, but it still looks forta funny. I feel like Taylor and Price counties just didn't fit in any of the other districts and they had to throw them somewhere.

      And also, 17 Democratic districts? I didn't think that was possible unless you baconmander Milwaukee and Madison. What do you consider to be safe D?

      •  Criteria (0+ / 0-)

        DRA (wonderful program) lists 2008 presidential data for Wisconsin, so this is what I did:

        -Any district that received a higher vote than the statewide Obama vote (56.22%) or very close (depending on the district) I considered to be Likely or Safe for a Democrat.

        -Any district that McCain won, or Obama received less than 50%, was considered to be Safe for a Republican.

        -For the most, any district that fell between these criteria are considered tossups.

        Now, there are some exceptions.  For instance, my "new" SD-17 (Republican Schultz's seat), voted almost 62% for Obama.  I counted it as Safe Dem, however if Schultz runs for reelection in 2014, he is still a favorite to win reelection.  This is probably the most extreme example of this.

        One of the things I do is put new building blocks together to build Senate districts.  For instance, SD-17 is mostly made up of today's AD-49, 51, and 96, to make it more compact.  A while back I was looking through old Blue Books online and found they did such a thing back following either the '70, '80, or '90 census (don't remember which, but bets are on the '80 census).  For instance, the 29th SD, instead of going into Taylor County, consisted of much of Marathon County and went east into Shawano County, with the 87th on the eastern side.

        In my creation, current Senators have a district numbered the same as their current district, but I did not factor in current Assembly districts so in some fast-growing parts of the state, unrecognizable Assembly districts get created, and in other parts of the state, current Assembly districts will disappear.  Can't wait to post it, but the time will give me a chance to work out some details a bit more!

        Citizen from WI-07 (Marathon County)

        by CentralWIGuy on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 05:58:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ah (0+ / 0-)

          I agree that 50% McCain is safe / likely R, but I think that matching the statewide average being safe D is a bit optimistic. The state is only D+2, after all. If that were the case, we'd basically be there now if the 23rd were a touch more Democratic.

          To me, you have to be up around 58% or 59% Obama to be safe D.

      •  It is easier to create more safe/likely Dem seats (0+ / 0-)

        There are 4 Milwaukee area seats (Taylor, Larson, Coggs, Carpenter), 1 Kenosha county (Wirch), 1 Rock county (Cullen), 3 Madison area (Risser, Erpenback, Miller), 1 SW Wisconsin (well it is Schultz but without him it is likely D), 1 LaCrosse area (unless live girl/dead boy situation Schilling), 1 Eau Claire Area (Vinehout), 1 Iron Range range (Jauch), 1 Central (Lassa), and 1 Green Bay (Hansen, who can actually be put in a 59 percent Obama district if his district included Door and Kewaunee counties and Twin Rivers rather than going up to Marinette so it still looks nice).  That is 15 right there.

        However, I can only think of Kedzie, Lazich, Zipperer, Fitz, and Grothman (and maybe Harsdorf, Darling, and Vukmir depending on how redistricting goes) being in likely/safe GOP seats.  

        So that is 15-8 without any crazy gerrymandering and the rest being marginals with varying degrees of vulnerability.  

        All Wisconsin, All the Time, Social Democrat, WI-05 (Home), Oxford East (Study Abroad), NY-22 (College)

        by glame on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 09:03:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I know, but the last couple seats are hard to do (0+ / 0-)

          if you're going for compact districts. Agains, it would be pretty easy to draw a Baconmander that distributes Dane County into the 14th, 18th, and 9th to add 3 more democratic seats, but that doesn't sound like the sort of map he was drawing.

  •  Hmm... Mason could win that (0+ / 0-)

    Racine district, especially given his visability over the last few months... hmm... time to bother my Racine people about it.

    We are here to begin the counter offensive. ~ Senator Russ Feingold

    by Solarian on Wed Jun 15, 2011 at 06:11:48 PM PDT

  •  Lovely Map (0+ / 0-)

    I agree with the population loss in MKE is going to make things harder for the 5th and 8th under a standpat scenario while it is easy to give up on the 5th while making the 8th 60 percent Obama and keeping the 4th and 6th majority AA.

    I think this map points out what blogger The Sconz said in Isthmus:

    If the Senators elected last year were also eligible for recall, this would mean also going after Moulton, Van Wan, Ellis, Leibham, Galloway, Lasse, Vukmir, and (maybe depending on how he votes on the budget) Schultz, while the only Democrat who could be vulnerable is Veinhout, and even that would be a stretch.  

    All Wisconsin, All the Time, Social Democrat, WI-05 (Home), Oxford East (Study Abroad), NY-22 (College)

    by glame on Wed Jun 15, 2011 at 06:29:29 PM PDT

  •  We drove up to Minneapolis... (0+ / 0-)

    ... along the mighty Mississippi this week.  Including through Wisconsion SD-17.  There were yard signs for Jennifer Stilling everywhere.  Dunno if that translates into success in the challenge, but one hopes so.  (Not being familiar with the fine points of the recall, we had to google to see whether it was a good sign or not, since we'd not heard of her before.)

    The river always wins. (Mark Twain)

    by Land of Enchantment on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 09:40:22 PM PDT

  •  District 8 (0+ / 0-)

    is the one that worries me the most.  You are absolutely right that Sandy has a good shot at winning the recall--and then lose to Jim Ott in 2012.

    This is why the recalls are so important.  If Sandy can win--and show that she is the moderate she is--she can still hang on to the seat.  That is why we are keeping this website up and running--and promoting it too!  
    Not My Darling

    It really upsets me that this district would get so much more Republican than it really is.  Progressives and Dems need to realize that they have to vote each and every time--no matter what.

    This past spring for the Klop/Prosser election, Shorewood and much of Milwaukee did not show up to vote.  That has made all the difference.

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