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I decided that Utah Democrats, if they hypothetically controlled the State Senate, which possibly won't happen in my entire lifetime, would decide to draw as many swing seats as possible rather than safe seats.  In a GOP wave, Dems could fall to 1 or 2 seats, but it's not like they'd have much power anyway; their goal would be to keep 1/3 to help a less conservative governor like Herbert check a very conservative legislature.

Further, like in many safe Republican states, anything below R+5 is at least a Tossup and possible Lean D.  I only used 2008 results, and tried to keep district numbers the same where possible.  Incumbency was not taken into account.

Outer Utah:

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1st (gray): Ralph Okerlund (R) R+35
This sprawling rural district would be among the most Republican state senate districts in the country. It does include some suburbanized parts of Utah County as well.

28th (dark blue): Casey Anderson (R) R+32
The somewhat sizable town of Cedar City is the main population center here.

29th (white): Steven Urquhart (R) R+32
St George and a couple suburbs.

27th (light green): Kevin Van Tassell (R) and David Hinkins (R)  R+37
Even redder and extremely rural.  Having visited Utah exactly once, for about five days (I have liberal Jewish relatives in Sandy!), I can't profess to know anything about who'd win this primary.  But the Dem would get below 25% in the general.

17th (purple in NW): Peter Knudson (R) and Scott Jenkins (R) R+34
Another incumbent on incumbent matchup in a rural district.

25th (pink): Lyle Hillyard (R) R+27
Logan makes this district slightly bluer than the others, if that means much.

6th (teal): OPEN R+3
R+3 in Utah means Tossup to Leans Dem.  This is my favorite district that I drew; a Dem seat that doesn't enter Salt Lake County.  One concern would be Park City electing someone too far to the left for this district.  However, Carbon County is ancestrally D (Pinto Dems, like in Arizona), and they're probably much more moderate to conservative.

What does this show so far?  Utah has a very small rural population.  In fact, after drawing every state in DRA, Utah ranks 6th among the 48 contiguous states in terms of population in urban, suburban, or large town areas, at 17.7%, ahead of only New Jersey, Maryland, Nevada, Arizona, and Florida.

Now on to more populated areas.

Davis and Weber Counties:

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19th (ugly green): Allen Christensen (R) R+24
North Ogden and some rural areas in the mountains.  Not much to see here.

20th (pink): OPEN R+24
Roy, Hooper, Clinton, West Point.

21st (brown): Jerry Stevenson (R) R+24
This area is very consistent in its PVI. Clearfield, Layton, and Syracuse are contained here.

22nd (medium blue): Stuart Adams (R) R+27
A slightly redder area.  The other half of Layton plus Kaysville and Farmington.  

18th (orange): Luz Robles (D) vs Jon Greiner (R) R+5
My other favorite; Dem/swingy areas of Ogden were commbined with part of Salt Lake City.  In Utah, this would probably be a tossup, although since Robles is a SLC Dem she's probably more liberal.

Utah County:

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16th (dark blue): Curt Bramble (R) R+31
The Provo district.

15th (orange): John Valentine (R) vs. Margaret Dayton (R) R+34
I just realized it now, but the UT State Senate is nearly entirely male.  This district is basically just Orem, Provo's more conservative sibling.

14th (puke): OPEN R+38
The less well connected of Valentine or Dayton could run here in this insanely red district.  American Fork, Pleasant Grove, and Lincoln are the main locales, along with Alpine and Highland.

13th (peach): Mark Madsen (R) R+36
To my surprise, this is not the former Stanford star/Los Angeles Laker/Minnesota Timberwolf, but another Mark Madsen.  Also the home of Mia Love; when she loses the UT-4 primary, as is likely in my opinion, she could end up here in a couple years.

And now...Salt Lake County!

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23rd (pale blue): Todd Weiler (R) R+3
I'd call this Tilt Dem and possibly Lean.  Swingy districts = Dems in Utah, much like Kansas (except they have moderate Republicans and Utah doesn't).  Salt Lake City and a couple very red suburbs

7th (gray): Ross Romero (D) R+2
Same story, except a Dem incumbent means Leans D.

8th (periwinkle): Karen Morgan (D) R+3
East Millcreek, part of Holladay, Cottonwood Heights, and some of Sandy.  Basically places I didn't realize you could make a swingy district out of.

4th (red): Patricia Jones (D) R+2
Millcreek, East Millcreek, Murray, Holladay, and a few precincts in other suburbs.

9th (light blue): OPEN R+5
I am going to call this a Tossup.  It's not contiguous due to a large precinct I would split on a real map, and is one of three baconmanders.

10th (pink): OPEN R+2
Another bacomander, Leans Dem.

2nd (dark green): Ben McAdams (D) R+2
The third baconmander.

5th (light green): Karen Mayne (D) R+3
West Valley City, Kearns, and Taylorsville are all you need for a Dem seat.

11th (gray): Wayne Niederhauser (R) vs. Aaron Osmond (R) vs. Howard Stephenson (R) R+26
I predict Osmond wins due to name rec from his family.

24th (purple): OPEN R+18
Tooele didn't have its own Senator despite its size.  I fixed that, probably.

12th (black): Daniel Thatcher (R) R+4
Tossup seat in West Valley City.

So the total: 16 R, 10 D, 3 T

In a Dem wave: 16-13 R
In a GOP wave: up to 29-0 R

But in Utah, that's a risk Dems should be willing to take.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (5+ / 0-)

    19, D, new CA-18 (home) new CA-13 (college). Economic liberal, social libertarian, fiscal conservative. -.5.38, -3.23 Check out my blog at politicohen.com

    by jncca on Tue Apr 03, 2012 at 02:14:08 PM PDT

  •  You should draw a UT House map now (0+ / 0-)

    See how many Dems you can squeeze out.

    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 Tue Apr 03, 2012 at 02:36:05 PM PDT

  •  curious (0+ / 0-)

    what does this mean?

    What does this show so far?  Utah has a very small rural population.  In fact, after drawing every state in DRA, Utah ranks 6th among the 48 contiguous states in terms of population in urban, suburban, or large town areas, at 17.7%, ahead of only New Jersey, Maryland, Nevada, Arizona, and Florida.
    Do you mean total population or proportion of the population? I guess I'm confused why big urban states like MA, NY, etc. aren't on the list.

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

    by sapelcovits on Wed Apr 04, 2012 at 09:59:54 AM PDT

    •  proportional, not total (0+ / 0-)

      19, D, new CA-18 (home) new CA-13 (college). Economic liberal, social libertarian, fiscal conservative. -.5.38, -3.23 Check out my blog at politicohen.com

      by jncca on Wed Apr 04, 2012 at 11:53:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  the top 5, by contrast, were (0+ / 0-)

        VT, WV, WY, ND and ME

        19, D, new CA-18 (home) new CA-13 (college). Economic liberal, social libertarian, fiscal conservative. -.5.38, -3.23 Check out my blog at politicohen.com

        by jncca on Wed Apr 04, 2012 at 01:20:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  so then (0+ / 0-)

          why not RI (where pretty much every town is urban, suburban, or a small town) or MA? Also, are you using census classifications?

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

          by sapelcovits on Wed Apr 04, 2012 at 01:28:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  no (0+ / 0-)

            I just drew stuff on DRA until I felt the area's population density was too small to be urban.

            Since I considered every metro area under 75,000 people to be rural, the rural % is much higher than in the Census.

            RI was 40.7% rural, although I struggled with it since the precincts are so small on DRA

            MA was 37.1%.

            14 states were >50%

            19, D, new CA-18 (home) new CA-13 (college). Economic liberal, social libertarian, fiscal conservative. -.5.38, -3.23 Check out my blog at politicohen.com

            by jncca on Wed Apr 04, 2012 at 03:13:52 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  RI is definitely not 41% rural (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Englishlefty

              I'm not sure any of the state can really be called "rural" per se - even the lightly populated towns on the CT border could probably be called suburbs - but for the sake of argument let's say Foster, Glocester, Burrillville, Scituate, Coventry, West Greenwich, Westerly, and the Chariho towns are all "rural"...those are only 13% of RI's pop. Even if you really stretch it and add Lincoln, Cumberland, East Greenwich, the rest of South County, and Smithfield/North Smithfield, that only gets you to to 29%.

              By contrast, Sussex County NJ is considered rural despite being pretty developed and not necessarily looking rural on DRA.

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

              by sapelcovits on Wed Apr 04, 2012 at 03:47:34 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I only have 2 classifications (0+ / 0-)

                urban and rural.

                Suburban is part of urban, small town is part of rural.

                I counted Sussex County as rural when I drew NJ

                In RI, I believe all or most of Newport was considered rural; it's my classification, not the Census's, but I used the same criteria in every state.

                19, D, new CA-18 (home) new CA-13 (college). Economic liberal, social libertarian, fiscal conservative. -.5.38, -3.23 Check out my blog at politicohen.com

                by jncca on Wed Apr 04, 2012 at 03:52:35 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Do you mean Newport County (0+ / 0-)

                  or Newport city? Newport city is definitely urban. I would classify Portsmouth, Middletown, and Jamestown as suburbs. I could see an argument for counting Tiverton and Little Compton as small towns (and therefore rural by your standards), but that still doesn't get you close to 41%.

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

                  by sapelcovits on Wed Apr 04, 2012 at 03:57:22 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  entire county (0+ / 0-)

                    25,000 people does not make a city, and I'm not really going to accept arguments to the contrary.

                    19, D, new CA-18 (home) new CA-13 (college). Economic liberal, social libertarian, fiscal conservative. -.5.38, -3.23 Check out my blog at politicohen.com

                    by jncca on Wed Apr 04, 2012 at 05:44:29 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Wow (0+ / 0-)

                      Californian elitist :P (guessing you've never actually been to Newport...)

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

                      by sapelcovits on Wed Apr 04, 2012 at 07:42:03 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I haven't (0+ / 0-)

                        but come on, Lodi is like twice as big and is far from being a city.

                        19, D, new CA-18 (home) new CA-13 (college). Economic liberal, social libertarian, fiscal conservative. -.5.38, -3.23 Check out my blog at politicohen.com

                        by jncca on Wed Apr 04, 2012 at 09:17:05 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Well population figures alone (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Englishlefty

                          don't make a city. No reasonable person would say that Arlington Heights, IL (pop 82,000) is more of a city than Atlantic City, NJ (40,000). Population simply isn't a good metric.

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

                          by sapelcovits on Wed Apr 04, 2012 at 09:34:25 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  It is to some extent (0+ / 0-)

                            Below 75,000 = a town or a suburb.  

                            Above 75,000 / a city in all cases, but if it's not within 30 miles or so of a city, then it's a city.

                            19, D, new CA-18 (home) new CA-13 (college). Economic liberal, social libertarian, fiscal conservative. -.5.38, -3.23 Check out my blog at politicohen.com

                            by jncca on Wed Apr 04, 2012 at 10:19:25 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  By that logic (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Englishlefty

                            the following are towns or suburbs:

                            Atlantic City, NJ. Pop. 40,000. Home to a Boardwalk and a large number of casinos that draw millions of people every year from both within the country and abroad. Also experiencing some of the urban decay common in many cities.

                            Woonsocket, RI. Pop. 41,000. Cradle of the Industrial Revolution/textile industry.

                            Pawtucket, RI. Pop 71,000. Also a formerly heavily industrial city - home to Slater Mill. Also only 57% non-Hispanic white which pretty much means "city" in this area.

                            Taunton, MA. Pop 56,000. Also a traditional industrial hub.

                            Camden, NJ. Pop 77,000. Serious urban decay. Lost about 2,000 people last decade. So sometime in the 2020s it won't be a city anymore :O

                            Portland, ME. Pop 66,000. Come on, check out the skyline on Wikipedia and tell me that's not a city, if a small one.

                            Central Falls, RI. Pop 19,000 (!). Probably the worst instance of urban decay in the state. Makes national headlines for its underfunded school department. Also only 26% white.

                            Also note that most of these areas I listed have political machines - an almost exclusively urban phenomenon.

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

                            by sapelcovits on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 06:21:15 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Camden is part of the Philly metro area (0+ / 0-)

                            Portland also has more than 75K in its metro area.  As does Pawtucket.  And Taunton.  And Atlantic City.

                            I'm talking about isolated towns of less than 50,000.

                            19, D, new CA-18 (home) new CA-13 (college). Economic liberal, social libertarian, fiscal conservative. -.5.38, -3.23 Check out my blog at politicohen.com

                            by jncca on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 09:20:06 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Well, by that metric (0+ / 0-)

                            Newport is no different...even the Census lists it as part of the Providence-New Bedford-Fall River metro area. (Which, again, is pretty much true of all of Rhode Island.) For that matter, it's worth pointing out that both Newark and Jersey City are part of the NY metro area. Are they not cities in their own right? (And what about Aurora and Joliet in IL, which are more exurban than suburban but far exceed your population threshold?)

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

                            by sapelcovits on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 09:59:45 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  well I only calculated by metro area (0+ / 0-)

                            I did all the PVIs, too.

                            It's the method I believe is most accurate, but not everyone has to agree with me.

                            It appeared to me there were rural areas between Providence and Newport.  Therefore, not the same metro area.

                            I'm much stricter than the Census.

                            19, D, new CA-18 (home) new CA-13 (college). Economic liberal, social libertarian, fiscal conservative. -.5.38, -3.23 Check out my blog at politicohen.com

                            by jncca on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 11:19:25 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Well (0+ / 0-)

                            actually being from Rhode Island, I highly doubt that's the case. again, it's really hard to call anywhere in RI rural, let alone places that aren't on the Connecticut border. I guess I just found the metrics a little arbitrary, but oh well.

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

                            by sapelcovits on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 06:03:50 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

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