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A History Lesson

In 2000, the (absolutely beautiful) state of Connecticut lost a Congressional district, going from six to five seats.

At the time, freshman Congressman Rob Simmons held CT-02, Chris Shays held CT-04, and Nancy Johnson held CT-06. Because of the bipartisan commission, and a Democratic legislature with Republican John Rowland in Hartford, a compromise was passed. Johnson and Waterbury area Congressman James Maloney were placed in a "fair fight" district, with some conservative areas of Johnson's seat going to CT-01, and some liberal areas of Maloney's seat going to CT-03 in order to create a fair fight seat seat. Democratic towns and cities like New Britain Meriden, Waterbury, and the mountains of northwest Connecticut created a Democratic base, while southern Litchfield County created a Republican base. Nancy Johnson also made a fatal flaw when she pushed to keep New Britain, her home town, in CT-05. New Britain ended up providing half of Chris Murphy's margin in 2006. Unexpectedly, the race wasn't even close. Johnson thumped Maloney. The newly drawn three Republican seats all voted for Al Gore in 2000, foreboding bad times in CT for the GOP, but the CT GOP was able to survive initial expectations for a few years.

Fast Forward to 2006-2008

In 2004, CT-02 voted 54% for Kerry, CT-04 voted 52% for Kerry, and CT-05 voted 49% for Kerry. Those numbers didn't seem too terrible for Republicans, and the three Republican Congressmen were cruising in Connecticut... until 2006. Rob Simmons lost his seat by eighty-three votes in a rematch to 2002 challenger and State Rep Joe Courtney. Nancy Johnson lost her seat in a brutal and nasty race to State Senator Chris Murphy, only garnering 44% of the vote (a 16 point drop off from 2004). Only Chris Shays survived, and he was the only Republican incumbent in New England... until he lost to Jim Himes in 2008 by four points, even as Himes only carried three towns in the district. Bridgeport was just too much for Shays to overcome

Connecticut Congressional Races in 2010

In 2010, the GOP nominated State Senator Sam Caligiuri in CT-05. Interestingly enough, Caligiuri held Chris Murphy's old State Senate seat. In CT-04, State Senator Dan Debicella was nominated. In 2008, CT-04 gave Barack Obama 60% of the vote, an 8 point boost from 2008, and in CT-05, Obama won with 56% of the vote, giving Democrats a 7 point boost. The CT GOP seemed bullish about its chances, and poll showed the GOP slightly favored in each race in the home stretch, but Murphy and Himes won by 8 and 6 points, respectively. While those same seats seemed to love their Republicans for years, they now seemed to love their Democratic incumbents.

The 2010 Connecticut Governor Race

In the 2010 Connecticut Gubernatorial election, former Stamford Mayor and Democrat Dan Malloy defeated former Ambassador to Ireland Tom Foley by a razor thin .56 percent margin. I compiled data from the race and created this map of results by town, much like the Boston.com Massachusetts election results maps. Mayor Malloy over-performed President Obama by 11 points, so realize that most of those Republican towns that are under 60% Foley were probably won by President Obama.

Here is the color key for the map.
65+ R: Almost brown
60-65 R: Crimson
54-60 R: Bright Red
50-54 R: Tomato
50-54 D: Light Sky Blue
54-60 D: Dodger Blue
60-65 D: Blue
65+ D: Navy

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The following table shows the two party vote share between Foley and Malloy in the Congressional Districts from this past decade. (yes, it is mislabeled) The 4th District is wrong... I forgot Bridgeport in this table.

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The 5th District Today:

Very early in 2011, newly re-elected Chris Murphy announced his (likely successful) candidacy for the US Senate, and the D+2 PVI CT-05 is now open. A prime opportunity for a pick-up, the GOP is fighting hard to win this seat. Democratic House Speaker Chris Donovan (D-Meriden) will be the Democratic nominee, and while he is popular, the seat will likely be very competitive. Legitimately moderate Republican State Senator Andrew Roraback is also the likely nominee, and he will likely make a very strong Congressional candidate. While CT-05 in current form should be competitive, I attempted to draw two possible CT-05 seats. The first is a Republican drawn seat that would likely lock in CT-05 for the GOP in 2012, and the second is a compromise that pushes CT-05 to R+2. I wonder if CT-05 will once again become comfortable with electing a Republican long-term if it elects Roraback in 2012.

Connecticut Redistricting

In Connecticut, there is a bipartisan commission with a mutually agreed upon tiebreaker. Therefore, Republicans aren't shut out of the process. If Democrats and Republicans can't agree on a map, a court may draw the map, and a court is very likely to keep both New Britain Meriden out of the 5th, severely hurting Donovan's bid. Therefore, Democrats will likely compromise with Republicans. My proposed Republican 5th District and compromise 5th District are below the fold.

Before looking at these numbers, here's another reminder. They represent the two party vote (with the WFP Malloy numbers added to the Democratic numbers), so Republican numbers may be ~.5% off. The numbers are quite accurate, but since I couldn't split towns, they may be very slightly off.

A Republican Fifth District

Going into negotiations with the Democrats over redistricting, we should aggressively push for a clean but Republican 5th District. In this version of the Fifth District, I removed Waterbury, Meriden (which is the home town of likely Democratic Fifth District nominee Chris Donovan) and Northwest Connecticut. Democrats would never agree to this R+4 seat, but Republicans might as well be aggressive as negotiations start. Not a single town in this seat voted for Dan Malloy. This map would also shore up 4th District Congressman Jim Himes, forfeiting his seat for the near future, unless Bridgeport sinks into the ocean.

Anyway, here is the proposed district:
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Changes:
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Connecticut as a whole

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The tables below shows the Obama/McCain percentages, and the Foley/Malloy percentages of the proposed seat.

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A Compromise Fifth District
This compromise district cherry-picks some Repubilcan towns from Himes, shoring him up, and gives heavily Democratic New Britain and Plainville to the First District. It also keeps Meriden, allowing Donovan to keep his base. Litchfield County is kept together, as are most of the Western Hartford suburbs. All of Andrew Roraback's State Senate seat is also in this district.

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Statistics
Obama 53.47%-45.23%
Foley 58.32-40.14%
Bush 51.90%-46.45%

Deviations
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Changes
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Connecticut Congressional Map
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Conclusion

Republicans should not accept anything worse than what I drew as a compromise district here. A court map of Connecticut would likely yield a better result for the GOP, and almost certainly would not include Meriden in the district. It may not even include Waterbury, instead including rural or suburban areas more similar to the 5th (like retaining the wealthy suburban Hartford areas I dropped in the compromise, or rural/exburban areas like Granby). Therefore, a compromise (and not a "no change" map) is the only good option for the CT GOP. They have nothing to lose, so why not be aggressive?

Remember, Democrats will try to avoid a court map, as Donovan likely would be drawn out of the 5th. I think both sides would be willing to play ball on a compromise. Jim Himes would probably get a safer seat as a result, and CT-04 could be won by Republicans. if he runs for Governor in 2018 in current form.

There is a history of Connecticut redistricting compromises; the map from this past decade was a compromise. Republicans should push for one for the next decade, too.

It is quite possible that Frank Guinta could be the only Republican Congressman from New England in 2012. It is also remotely possible that there may not be any Republican Congressmen anywhere north or east of New York. Richard Tisei, Kevin Raye, and the CT-05 nominee can change that. If Republicans are going to try and gain on their Congressional majority, New England gains need to be in the game plan.

Thank you, Merrimackman, for your suggestions and revisions on my original RRH diary.
Poll

What PVI will the commission agree to for CT-05?

16%9 votes
11%6 votes
11%6 votes
12%7 votes
48%26 votes

| 54 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  The 2nd map is possible (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IllinoyedR, zeke7237

    but I really doubt they would go for the 1st map, court-drawn or in a compromise.  There is no real reason for CT-04 to go outside of Fairfield County.  I also find it unlikely that they would send CT-01 looping around to touch the New York border.

    But yeah, the 2nd map is quite plausible and looks no worse than the current map.  I wasn't aware that Connecticut used a commission to redistrict, so we may well be in for something like this.

  •  This is a (7+ / 0-)

    thorough, well-researched diary, which is why I tipped it. That being said, Dems would be nuts to accept this, I think. Himes is already safe, having fended off a legitimate challenger in a Republican wave. If Dems screw the pooch just so Donovan's hometown stays in the district, I'd consider this another Massachusetts or Arkansas.

    21, male, RI-01 (voting) IL-01 (college), hopeless Swingnut

    by sapelcovits on Tue Nov 29, 2011 at 10:31:56 AM PST

  •  How important is avoiding county splits in CT? (0+ / 0-)

    I haven't drawn a sketch yet or crunched the numbers, but I could see a CT-05 covering Litchfield County and suburban Hartford, but not any other counties. Yes, it would draw Meriden out of the 5th district, but Donovan could always move if he had to. In a commission state, congressmen should represent districts, not vice versa.

    Male, 21, -4.75/-6.92, born and raised TN-05, now WI-02

    by fearlessfred14 on Tue Nov 29, 2011 at 10:42:18 AM PST

  •  I'd be curious to see (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bumiputera

    What you think a court would draw as a full map, since you don't seem to think it's your second map.

    Do you really think a court would put New Haven and  Waterbury together?  New Haven County is coterminous with the Census' New Haven metro area, according to Wikipedia, and Waterbury is in New Haven County, but the county is a bit too big for a CD.  I also just think of them as very separate.  I also feel like Danbury and Waterbury should be in the same district more than Waterbury and New Haven.  I might just be being small-minded.

    26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-12(now)

    by Xenocrypt on Tue Nov 29, 2011 at 02:07:33 PM PST

    •  Court drawn CT (0+ / 0-)

      I'm almost sure that a fair, and not "least changes" CT would NOT include Meriden or New Britain. That would be huge for the GOP. The other Hartford suburbs may also be taken out and left with, you know, Hartford.

      I'll think about it as I drive to Northwestern's campus for something, so expect an answer later.

      •  I don't know if you can put all the Hartford (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Englishlefty

        suburbs together with Hartford--the Census, at least, apparently says that "Greater Hartford was the largest metropolitan area in Connecticut with a population of 1,212,381."

        http://en.wikipedia.org/...

        26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-12(now)

        by Xenocrypt on Tue Nov 29, 2011 at 02:33:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Although (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sapelcovits

        The Census also has Greater New Haven as including Waterbury.  And, as Wiki also says, "[t]his definition, while consistent with national definitions of metropolitan areas, includes the city of Waterbury and its southern and eastern suburbs, which are not usually included in local definitions of Greater New Haven.[citation needed] "

        http://en.wikipedia.org/...

        (And no, I didn't just write that and already get asked for my citation.)

        26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-12(now)

        by Xenocrypt on Tue Nov 29, 2011 at 02:36:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  And to make explicit something that (0+ / 0-)

        You already know, but might not be apparent from looking at the map: Litchfield County has about 1/4th of a CD, by population.  Most of CT-05 is going to have to be made up of some combination of Fairfield, New Haven, and Hartford counties.  

        According to the Census, the Waterbury NECTA is: Watertown, Beacon Falls, Middlebury, Naugatuck, Prospect, Waterbury, Wolcott.  Only Watertown is in Litchfield County.  

        The Danbury NECTA is: Bridgewater, New Milford, Bethel, Brookfield, Danbury, New Fairfield, Sherman.  Some of those are in Litchfield County as well.

        http://www.census.gov/...

        If I map that out in DRA, I get, let's see...I might have made some mistakes, but I get 505,255 in Litchfield County plus the two NECTAs, for a deviation of 209,564.  If I fill in the rest of Fairfield County for CT-04, I'm still 65,150 over.  If I fill in the rest of New Haven County for CT-03, I'm just 36,917 people away from ideal population.

        Anyway, these are just some thoughts.  I think Newtown should be in CT-05 if the Danbury and Waterbury NECTAs are, though--the Census might think it's in the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk NECTA, but I've been around there and it's pretty connected to Bethel/Danbury.  Maybe that's just the part I know.

        Even taking all 65,150 extra people from Fairfield County and giving them to CT-05, that still leaves like 145,000 people missing, which presumably come from Hartford County--plenty of people there, but I'm not sure which ones would be best.

        26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-12(now)

        by Xenocrypt on Tue Nov 29, 2011 at 03:12:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Hey (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IllinoyedR

    I know for a fact that you're very knowledgeable about this stuff, but Westport and Trumbull in the new CT-05 makes very little sense from a COI perspective. They are very much wealthy New York 'burbs, and pushing them into rural Litchfield County doesn't make much sense to me. I don't think a court would do that either.

    But good work either way

    NY-14, DC-AL (College), Former SSPer and incredibly distraught Mets fan.

    by nycyoungin on Tue Nov 29, 2011 at 02:25:36 PM PST

  •  I think the best map. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jncca, Englishlefty

    Would be something like this

    CT-2 becomes a strictly Eastern Connecticut district, only going into Canton for population equality.  

    CT-1 is entirely within the Hartford region

    CT-3 is entirely within the New Haven region

    CT-4 is exclusively F airfield County, with the silly arm going up to Oxford cut out.  

    CT-5 contains the whole of Litchfield County.  It also contains the portions of Hartford, New Haven, and Fairfield Counties which couldn't fit into the other districts.

    It's been awhile since I've looked at the PVIs, but they don't change much from the existing map, except for CT-4, where gaining Stratford is a modest boost to Democratic performance.  So it's essentially standpat, but doesn't look awful.  

    And yes, I'm a former local, who lived in the state from 3-18, through to 22 some summers in College, and then for around a year in New Haven in my mid 20s.  So I do know the state pretty intimately.  

    •  Not bad. (0+ / 0-)

      I'd probably take that map.
      Where does New Britain end up in your map? That's pretty important for the GOP. To be honest though, I think that Granby and that area are better fits for CT-05. I think that adding the Hartford suburbs instead isn't as good of a COI fit. Still, pretty well done.

      •   (0+ / 0-)

        New Britain is in CT-1 under this map.  Of course, Bristol, Waterbury, and Danbury are still in CT-5 however.  

        I agree that the northern fringe of Hartford County has a stronger community of interest with Litchfield County than the area of Hartford I put into the district  However, I was trying to avoid splitting towns, and including the low population towns in the northwest of the county is pretty much needed if you want a low population variance.  Keep in mind that some of that area (Avon, Simsbury) are very much suburbs of Hartford, albeit wealthier ones which tend to be pretty evenly split politically.  

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