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:
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.
Here are the current districts for comparison:
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).
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.
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.