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Redistricting of the state legislature of Kentucky is done.  Democrats gerrymandered the State House and Republicans did likewise for the State Senate.  Now, the sticking point appears to be the Congressional map.  Democrats want to move Owensboro to KY-01 and shorten its finger into the Republican counties of southern Kentucky; give Ashland to the 5th and make the 5th more of an eastern, mountain district; and make KY-06 somewhat bluer to help Rep. Ben Chandler.  The purpose of all this is clear: to make KY-05 and KY-01 competitive again when their incumbents retire as well as to secure KY-06.  Republicans want to keep everything more or less the same and to make KY-06 slightly redder.  However, negotiations do not seem to be getting anywhere and a court-drawn map looks more likely.  Republican insiders conceded a couple months ago that the most they'll likely agree to is making KY-06 bluer.  However, there are other sticking points in the negotiations that seem to be holding things up.

For this diary, I will draw what I think the KY Supreme Court could draw for Kentucky's Congressional map.  As is Kosher in Kentucky, I will split as few counties as possible.  Also, wherever there is a district with an incumbent running for re-election, I will not draw their home county out of their district.  Finally, I will draw my districts roughly based on the regional boundaries from this map I found:

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Using the above-mentioned map, I was able to draw the districts in a geographically logical way.  In cases such as KY-05, it was easy to draw a district that is almost entirely in the Cumberland plateau/mountain region of eastern and southeastern Kentucky.  I made KY-06 take up most of the Bluegrass region.  KY-01 has the Jackson Purchase, the Western Coalfields, and the western arm of the Pennyroyal Plateau.  KY-03 is entirely in Jefferson County, of course.  KY-02 is now largely in the Pennyroyal Plateau.  Finally, KY-04 takes up the northern Bluegrass region and stretches west and around Jefferson County.

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Here are the current districts for comparison:

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Let's start with western Kentucky, which has a district that would elect a Blue Dog if it were not for a flaw (which I'll detail).

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KY-01 (blue): Ed Whitfield (R-Hopkinsville)
This district loses its detestable arm which took in the strongly Republican counties (both federal and non-federal) of Casey, Adair, Russell, Clinton, Cumberland, Monroe, and Allen.  It also picks up the strongly Democratic counties of Daviess (where Owensboro is), Hancock, and Breckinridge.  This district likely moves within reach of more conservative Democrats, but it requires this district to be open first.  Of all of the GOP-held district that I've drawn, this may be the Dems' best shot.

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KY-02 (green): Brett Guthrie (R-Bowling Green)
This district is pushed southwards to the Tennessee border (and David Williams territory) and retreats from the west coalfields and and is now mostly in the Pennyroyal Plateau.  Guthrie is fully safe now as a consequence.

KY-03 (dark magenta): John Yarmuth (D-Louisville)
Only shifts a few precincts in the southern fringes of Jefferson County.  This is the easiest to draw by far since Jefferson County still has more people than are needed for a Congressional district.

KY-04 (red): Geoff Davis (R-Hebron)
This district becomes thinner by dropping some Democratic counties on its southern fringe.  By doing so, it becomes unreachably Republican.

KY-05 (gold): Hal Rogers (R-Somerset)
This district loses Rowan and Wayne County (the latter being completely outside of the Cumberland range) and gains the Democratic counties of Estill, Powell, Elliott, and Boyd.  This district is now a proper southeast Kentucky district.  Hal Rogers is still safe here, but a Democrat like Dan Mongiardo could have a shot here when he finally retires.

KY-06 (teal): Ben Chandler (D-Versailles)
This district shifts some to the left by losing the Republican-leaning counties of Garrard, Boyle, and Lincoln.  These were not taken out for political reasons so much as they are either partially or fully out of the Bluegrass region.  However, KY-06 keeps the Republican county of Jessamine because it is 100% Bluegrass and its largest town, Nicholasville, is a suburb of Lexington.  Removing Jessamine County is what Democrats want, but a court most likely won't do that in order to preserve communities of interest.  This district gains the Bluegrass (as well as Democratic) counties of Harrison, Robertson, Nicholas, and Bath.  Through these changes, Chandler is better off for re-election and Democrats can hold the district when he leaves office all while not violating communities of interest.  Democrats want this district to push east out of the Bluegrass region to take more, bluer Dem counties, but a court would not have that if they are colorblind to partisan interests.  When drawing this district, I was tempted to add heavily-Democratic Marion County, but I resisted because almost all of Marion County is outside of the Bluegrass region.

That concludes my last hypothetical redistricting of Kentucky.  I hope I did well in simulating a court-drawn Congressional map.  It still amazes me how many times I have redistricted Kentucky.  Heck, I don't even live there.  Oh well, at least I have now finished all I could possibly do on the matter.  The rest lies to fate and maybe a panel of judges.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (8+ / 0-)

    "I had little green doctors pounding on my back. It is not a question of being safe. I can defend myself." -Former Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY)

    by KingofSpades on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 12:00:03 PM PST

  •  Living in Ky-05 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane

    and hearing "Hal Rogers is safe there" just makes my skin crawl....

    Thanks for the Diary.

  •  I was surprised how favorable this was (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KingofSpades, Lujane

    Both of our districts are kept the same or improved, while both the 1st and 5th are improved as well.  Rogers would be 82 by election day 2020 so there's a good chance he'll retire before then and this seat would be perfect for Mongiardo.

    Granted, that's the seat I think could easily be more Republican under a court map, whereas there is only so much they're likely to do with the 1st given the geography.

  •  Nice map (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KingofSpades, Englishlefty

    Something worth noting; I remarked a month or two ago on the mention of a "Tea Party victory" in Kentucky, among the usual likes of Florida, Ohio, and Wisconsin, in an email blast from OFA. And in last night's State of the Union address, alongside Charlotte and Orlando in the swing states of North Carolina and Florida, President Obama named Louisville as one of the places where his community college/business partnership initiative was flourishing.

    Democrat, OR-01 native, Swingnut for life, and keeper of the DKE glossary.

    by SaoMagnifico on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 01:48:43 PM PST

  •  This is very good, I think. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KingofSpades, NM Ward Chair

    We are lucky in Kentucky that a court drawn map is actually very similar to what a Democratic gerrymander would look like, except for the 4th and 6th districts, basically.

  •  I like the proposed 1st (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KingofSpades, WisJohn, NM Ward Chair

    getting rid of the arm into central KY definitely puts this within reach of a Blue Dog.  The statewide Dem slate would have demolished Republicans in such a district during the past elections.

    Of course, any such representative would probably be far more conservative than any of us, but hell, the idea of going 3-3 for Kentucky's delegation is pretty awesome.

  •  A note on the courts (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KingofSpades, NM Ward Chair

    Unless the KY Supreme Court bypasses normal procedure, the case will begin in the Franklin Circuit Court, which would be where the first map would be drawn. It may be Judge Wingate, who issued the injunction against David Williams father in law.

    "So there's a time for silence, and there's a time for waiting your turn. But if you know how you feel, and you so clearly know what you need to say, you'll know it. I don't think you should wait. I think you should speak now." -Taylor Swift

    by SouthernINDem on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 06:39:54 PM PST

  •  Why did the 1st district get that (0+ / 0-)

    arm to the east anyway, last time around?

    Farm boy who hit the city to go to college, WI-03 (home, voting), WI-02 (college), -7.88, -4.26, One in ONE MILLION that recalled Scott Walker!!!!

    by WisJohn on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 07:25:44 PM PST

    •  This is a long story, so here it is (4+ / 0-)

      Go back to 1991- Kentucky loses one House seat. Dems in the legislature decide they want to keep all six seats in play, rather than creating a GOP vote sink in southern Kentucky.
      Also, then factor in Rep. Carroll Hubbard in the 1st CD seems very safe, so he could take on several southern KY GOP counties. Then he gets involved in a lot of scandals and eventually goes to federal prison. He loses to a weak Dem candidate Tom Barlow, who loses in 1994 to Ed Whitfield, due to the GOP counties. Dems have yet to dislodge him.
      Then factor in Rep. Bill Natcher, who refused to allow the 2nd to lose Owensboro. He dies in 1993 and is replaced by a GOPer in 1994 in a special election. That seat has yet to go back to Dems.
      Then the 4th- once a GOP vote sink- Eastern Jefferson County following up to Kenton, Campbell, Boone. Naturally, the 3rd has to gain the rest of Jefferson County, but then Dems add a tail into Ashland to make it more Dem.
      And the 5th (and 7th)- Once the rock of the GOP in Kentucky. It was crafted to hit nearly every traditionally GOP county in southern KY and even extending to Jessamine County. Dems decided to break it up and also crack the Dem Eastern KY 7th district.

      For reference, this is what the 1970s KY map looked like (very similar to the 1980s map). You will have to hit the link. Resizing KY and TN maps take a while.

      http://i1082.photobucket.com/...

      "So there's a time for silence, and there's a time for waiting your turn. But if you know how you feel, and you so clearly know what you need to say, you'll know it. I don't think you should wait. I think you should speak now." -Taylor Swift

      by SouthernINDem on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 09:25:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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