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In early 1812, Governor Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts signed a redistricting plan for the state that benefited the Democratic-Republican Party.  Although the state voted for the Federalist Party more often than not in federal races, Gerry tried to put his thumb on the scale.  A pro-Federalist newspaper, the Boston Gazette lampooned the redistricting plan he approved.  They printed a political cartoon to make fun of a particularly snake-like State Senate district that was drawn in such a way as to elect a Democrat-Republican.  Many compared it to a salamander in the way it snaked around the north, west, and southwest rim of Essex County.  I decided to draw it up for fun and see who would represent it and which party it would favor.

More below the fold.

Note: Although Chelsea is depicted like it's part of the Gerry-mander, this district did not cross out of Essex County.

Here it is, drawn up in DRA:

It's pretty on-par by today's standards as it does not divide any town.  Another thing to note is that the city of Lawrence did not exist back in 1812 (Lawrence arose out of the town of Andover) and neither did the towns of North Andover (which also sprang from Andover) and Swampscott (which arose out of Lynn).  They are all included in this map of course.

45.9%D/54.1%R (2010 partisan numbers)
Pop. 543,969
69.6% White
3.3% Black
21.7% Hispanic
3.6% Asian
0.1% Native American
1.7% Other

Although this district seems to have voted for Charlie Baker for Governor in 2010, almost all of the towns here are represented by Democrats.  Within this district reside Senator Steven Baddour (D-Methuen), Senator Frederick Berry (D-Peabody), Senator Barry Finegold (D-Andover), and Senator Thomas McGee (D-Lynn).  Much of the rest of Essex not in this district is currently represented by Senator Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester).  Therefore, although this resurrected original gerrymander would screw over several incumbents, it would still elect a Democrat to the State Senate.  It's actually quite perfect for an Essex County Democrat.

What do you think?

Originally posted to KingofSpades on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 03:34 PM PST.

Also republished by History for Kossacks and Community Spotlight.

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