Skip to main content

I considered tacking on "Southern Fried Redistricting" to the title, but it would have broken my format for the series so I'm wasting your time to mention it here.

The concept behind this series is simple, the proportional body of Congress, the House, is brutally gerrymandered throughout the country. I wanted to look at some states where possible independently produced maps could have major ramifications on the composition of the body and the power status in America.

What I want to do with this series is to show the effect of having bipartisan public committees handle redistricting efforts, with criteria of compactness, regional interests, and party-balance, with an emphasis on creating politically competitive districts where possible.

For this I chose to tackle the states that Republicans pushed the most egregious gerrymanders, states where they mangled the rights of voters, packed Democrats, split counties with impunity, and hashed districts together with no regard for community of interests.

I have already covered Texas and Pennsylvania.

Photobucket

GA-01 (Blue):

2008 Presidential Results

25.5% Obama, 73.2% McCain

Average Partisan Results:

32.3% Democratic
67.7% Republican

Voting Age Demographics:

Why bother. This is a white district. They don't show anything.

District Summary:

This district is largely analogous with the current 9th, and is represented since the 2010 Special Election to replace now Gov. Nathan Deal, by Representative Tom Graves. I removed Hall County, (which my family apparently had a role in creating, and funded the construction of the original county courthouse), because Gainesville has essentially turned into an Atlanta exurb at this point. It's a larger and fast-growing county. My main intent was to remove the district from suburban Atlanta, and to create an entirely rural, North Georgia district that took in all the mountains and represented that region. Not much changed politically. This was the 3rd most Republican district in the country in the 2006-2010 iteration of maps, and is still high up there now.

GA-02 (Green):

2008 Presidential Results:

Obama 29.1%, McCain 69.4%

Average Partisan Results:

31.8% Democratic
68.2% Republican

Voting Age Demographics:

To be clearer, I am saving time and space by not bothering with this for the safely Republican districts.

District Summary:

This shares a lot of space with Representative Phil Gingrey's district. Gingrey actually lives in Marietta, which is in the 4th. But I believe he'd probably choose to run in this safely Republican district that takes in Rome, Georgia (which in 2002 was apparently swingish territory for State Democrats), and the western rim of Georgia suburbs. It's a compact district though and seems pretty solid considering regional interests.

GA-03 (Purple):

2008 Presidential Election Results:

31.8% Obama, 67.1% McCain

Average Partisan Results:

29.6% Democratic
70.4% Republican

District Summary:

This area takes in a large portion of Representative Tom Price's previous district, and contains his home in Roswell, GA, an Atlanta suburb in that strange, northern protrusion of reliably Democratic Fulton County. It takes in all of Forsyth (I again tried to avoid county splitting where it could be conveniently avoided), and gains Hall County. This is safely Republican turf, which probably suits Price, a member of the Republican leadership in the House and a big proponent of the flat tax.

GA-04 (Red):

2008 Presidential Results:

Obama 46.3%, McCain 52.4%

Average Partisan Results:

45.4% Democratic
54.6% Republican

Voting Age Population:

56.9% White
26.7% Black
10.3% Hispanic
4.2% Asian

District Summary:

I went through several maps, several iterations. I ended up settling on this version, as opposed to some that created more sprawling, Democratic-leaning suburban seats. This one was compact, and consolidates Cobb County into mainly one district, with the Democratic leaning and trending Eastern half of Douglas County added in. This is a fairly diverse district, and getting moreso. Democrats, from my impression, are a little better organized in Cobb County as opposed to Gwinnett because Cobb has been quite competitive the last few decades. I think this district would spawn a marquee race, and it filled my desire to make a compact swing district in the Atlanta area that didn't trample over community interests (i.e. no drawing north Fulton and Dekalb and Gwinnett together, weighing down white suburban Republican voters with inner city black neighborhoods). I do think the Republican candidate would be marginally favored, at least over the next few cycles.

GA-05 (Yellow):

2008 Presidential Election Results:

31.2% Obama, 67.6% McCain

Average Partisan Results:

33.1% Democratic
66.9% Republican

District Summary:

This district, which ended up sprawling and contorting as it took in the outer suburbs beyond the VRA required districts, is represented by the truly reprehensible Representative Lynn Westmoreland. Rep. Westmoreland first became infamous after sponsoring bills to place 10 Commandment monuments in both Houses of Congress and Courthouses, and then appearing on The Colbert Report and was only able to name 3 of them (his secretary disputed this, saying that in the unedited interview Westmoreland named 7). Rep. Westmoreland then led a small group of Congressman in opposition to the VRA, saying it was unfair to target their states. Then in 2008, he called Barack and Michelle Obama uppity, and then, (this truly defies belief), responded to criticism by saying, "I’ve never heard that term used in a racially derogatory sense. It is important to note that the dictionary definition of ‘uppity’ is ‘affecting an air of inflated self-esteem — snobbish.’ That’s what we meant by uppity when we used it in the mill village where I grew up." It's unfortunate that he'll stay in Congress with this district as it demeans the honor of the Institution to have an individual like him in it.

GA-06 (Teal):

2008 Presidential Election Results:

67.9% Obama, 31.4% McCain

Average Partisan Results:

64.7% Democratic
35.3% Republican

Voting Age Demographics:

33.3% White
52.8% Black
8.4% Hispanic
3.8% Asian

District Summary:

We finally come to the first district in Georgia won by Obama. This district contains many of the heavily black suburban areas around Atlanta, including a small chunk of South DeKalb, and the southeastern corner of Gwinnett. My calculations were that this would be the district Representative David Scott would run in. I can't say I care for Scott, who is a member of the New Democrats Coalition and the Blue Dog Coalition, and has supported a national constitutional amendment to ban Gay Marriage on two separate occasions. And has some recurring issues with corruption. Democrats could do much better in this district (which Scott initially drew for himself in 2002, as the 13th District).

GA-07 (Gray):

2008 Presidential Election Results:

78.3% Obama
20.9% McCain

Average Partisan Results:

75.7% Democratic
24.3% Republican

Voting Age Population:

36.2% White
51.4% Black
7.2% Hispanic
3.5% Asian

District Summary:

Civil Rights icon John Lewis represents this district, which I don't think saw any exceptional changes. It remains overwhelmingly Democratic, and Atlanta-based.

GA-08 (Grayish Purple):

2008 Presidential Election Results:

Obama, 82.3%, McCain 17%

Average Partisan Results:

78% Democratic
22% Republican

Voting Age Demographics:

23.2% White
51.9% Black
15.9% Hispanic
7.1% Asian

District summary:

Representative Hank Johnson represents this DeKalb County district, and it gets even more Democratic. The only issue he should have as an incumbent is his continuing struggle against Hepatitis C.

GA-09 (Cyan):

2008 Presidential Election Results:

Obama 34.7%, McCain 64.3%

Average Partisan Results:

35% Democratic
65% Republican

District Summary:

Representative Rob Woodall has the best claim on this district of anyone, and would probably run here. I realized after I saved the images onto Photoshop that I accidentally split Lawrenceville, the County Seat of Gwinnett and Woodall's home, 3-ways. I have just now corrected that, but the affect on all the other congressional districts or this one. Woodall was former Rep John Linder's Chief of Staff, and has the distinction of being perhaps the only Republican Representative from Georgia who isn't completely crazy. Even if he is also a Fair Tax proponent, he did refuse to sign Norquist's pledge.

Photobucket

For some reason the site cut off the edge of this district in the first map I posted, so I had to post another to show the whole thing.

GA-10 (Neon Pink)

2008 Presidential Election Results:

47.6% Obama, 51.4% McCain

Average Partisan Results:

49.3% Democratic
50.7% Republican

Voting Age Demographics:

61.1% White
30.8% Black
4.3% Hispanic
2.4% Asian

District Summary:

Well, speaking of, um, colorful Georgia Republicans, to put it mildly, or rigid ideologue loudmouth, to put it in less polite, media white-washed terms, there's Representative Paul Broun. Aside from just being generally among the most conservative members of the House, there is this statement Broun made just after the 2008 Presidential Election: "That's exactly what Hitler did in Nazi Germany and it's exactly what the Soviet Union did. When he's proposing to have a national security force that's answering to him, that is as strong as the U.S. military, he's showing me signs of being Marxist." And he kept piling it on after the criticism came, "We can't be lulled into complacency. You have to remember that Adolf Hitler was elected in a democratic Germany. I'm not comparing him to Adolf Hitler. What I'm saying is there is the potential of going down that road." This district surprised me. I had an initial idea of drawing a central East-Georgia district connecting Athens with Augusta, but I had no idea at just how perfect a compact, swing district it would make. It was a happy surprise. What's more is that the Democratic Average of state elections was significantly higher than Obama's total in the trio of counties at the north end of the district, in Madison, Hart, and Elbert counties. With some Democratic leaning, minority heavy counties in the southern end, plus the heavily Democratic regions of Richmond County and the Rock-ribbed Democratic county of Athens, it makes a very competitive district. Truth be told, I have suspicions that Rep. Barrow would run here. For those with long memories, Barrow was County Commissioner from Clarke County when he ran and unseated Rep. Max Burns in 2004. Republicans, in their first attempt to eliminate Barrow drew his home and political base into a heavily Republican Atlanta suburb district, and then made the remainder significantly more Republican (and they tried even more ambitiously to get rid of him the next time around). In a new district like this, I imagine Barrow would find it a tempting locale to run, especially since he's already pretty well known in the Clarke and Richmond county portions. It'd be a race to watch, but I think, given Broun's tendency towards controversy, a conservative white Democrat like Barrow would be favored.

Photobucket

GA-11 (Chartreuse):

2008 Presidential Election Results:

58.1% Obama, 41.3% McCain

Average Partisan Results:

59.2% Democratic
40.8% Republican

Voting Age Demographics:

45.3% White
48.2% Black
3.9% Hispanic
1.3% Asian

District Summary:

Representative Sanford Bishop's current district isn't majority black either, and southeast Georgia is shrinking in population so the district had to expand. I took the route Republicans took with their latest map and took in Macon, GA, and increased the black population by a few percentage points. The Total Population of the district is actually 50.5% black. It's more Democratic as well, obviously. Hopefully Bishop won't get caught napping against like he almost was in 2010.

GA-12 (Grey Sky Blue):

2008 Presidential Election Results:

35.8% Obama, 63.5% McCain

Average Partisan Results:

39.9% Democratic
60.1% Republican

District Summary:

This district is a mess. Again I blame the VRA, jokingly of course. But wherever one district ended up looking messy on this map, it was to accommodate the VRA and create majority-minority districts. This 12th pretty much encases the 11th, protecting it from Atlanta to the north, and South Carolina far to the east. It takes in a broad loop of rural, mostly white South Georgia territory, and so, in actuality, I don't see this district as really failing to represent a generally homogenous cultural and economic collection of interests. Representative Austin Scott, who narrowly defeated Jim Marshall in 2010, would have no trouble in this safely Republican district.

GA-13 (Flesh Pink):

2008 Presidential Election Results:

48.8% Obama, 50.6% McCain

Average Partisan Results:

50.3% Democratic
49.7% Republican

Voting Age Demographics:

57.1% White
34.9% Black
5.2% Hispanic
1.5% Asian

District Summary:

This map is rather kind of Representative John Barrow actually. It gives him two different districts where he could choose to run in, both of which are more favorable to him than the current one Republicans drew. This new version of his district was another surprise to me. I had expected it would be Republican leaning (like Barrow's current district), after drawing Augusta out of it. I was wrong. It's about 5% less black than the 2006-2010 version, but is a near perfect swing district. Barrow could easily win here, if chose to run in this district, as he's a good fit for the district and the bulk of the territory is familiar to him. There are probably other southern Democrats who could still hold and win this territory without much difficulty.

GA-14:

2008 Presidential Election Results:

35.9% Obama, 63.4% McCain

Average Partisan Results:

40.1% Democratic
59.9% Republican

District Summary:

Representative Jack Kingston has a typical Deep South Republican profile. Creationism is valid science? Check. But Anthropogenic Global Warming is skeptical science? Check. However beyond that he is a relatively unoffensive Congressman, by Deep South Republican terms, and he seems to be a pretty personally intelligent and affable guy. So, this district could do worse.

--

So, to sum up this map partisan-wise, it creates 7 safe Republican seats, 4 safe Democratic seats, and 3 pure swing districts. I hardly think this arrangement can be declared to be unfair to anyone. It's a mostly compact map that represents local divisions pretty well insofar as my Georgia understanding goes, and creates a balanced map to represent the state's interests and political beliefs. Obama did well here in 2008, and should probably come within 1-2 points of that showing this year. If I had to make predictions on the swing districts, I'd say the 10th and 13th go Democratic, while the 4th goes Republican. Which gives Republicans 57% of the Congressional delegation, in a state Romney will probably only get around 53-54% of the vote in. So this isn't a map that over-represents Democrats.

Next comes Ohio, since it's Voter Initiative to create an independent panel for Redistricting is struggling to get on the ballot right now. When I finish with this series, I will summarize the whole project, and discuss the enormous impact such programs for fair representation in redistricting would have on the entire national political field, including likely changing the balance of power in the House.

P.S. While Dkos does have reader guages, these aren't entirely accurate. I always appreciate users who vote in my poll as that gives a more accurate count of readership. Which is always nice to know for something you worked hard on; sucks to feel like you are talking to a wall.
 

Poll

Does this map fulfill the goals I outlined in my Intro?

68%22 votes
9%3 votes
21%7 votes

| 32 votes | Vote | Results

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (6+ / 0-)

    "Once, many, many years ago I thought I was wrong. Of course it turned out I had been right all along. But I was wrong to have thought I was wrong." -John Foster Dulles. My Political Compass Score: -4.00, -3.69, Proud member of DKE

    by ArkDem14 on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 02:56:03 PM PDT

  •  Are you going to do IL and MD? (0+ / 0-)

    or just the bad Republican gerrymanders?

    Male, 22, -4.75/-6.92, born and raised TN-05, now WI-02, remorseless supporter of Walker's recall. Pocan for Congress and Baldwin for Senate!

    by fearlessfred14 on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 03:39:43 PM PDT

    •  I actually have an interesting MD map (0+ / 0-)

      that I may do a write up on.

      Illinois though, may too big and complicated a project for me to take on.

      "Once, many, many years ago I thought I was wrong. Of course it turned out I had been right all along. But I was wrong to have thought I was wrong." -John Foster Dulles. My Political Compass Score: -4.00, -3.69, Proud member of DKE

      by ArkDem14 on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 03:58:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  may be too big (0+ / 0-)

        "Once, many, many years ago I thought I was wrong. Of course it turned out I had been right all along. But I was wrong to have thought I was wrong." -John Foster Dulles. My Political Compass Score: -4.00, -3.69, Proud member of DKE

        by ArkDem14 on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 03:58:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  IL and MD? (0+ / 0-)

      You still need to see good maps for both states )

  •  hmm (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    James Allen, bumiputera

    The first 10 districts look fine, except that I don't think a court would split 6 and 8 like that. They don't both have to go into Gwinnett. I would just give 6 more of DeKalb, and give 8 the Gwinnett piece and the parts of those 2 eastern counties.

    I also don't think a court would split Savannah. It might be more likely to draw one coastal and one inland district for that part of the state.

    SSP poster. 43, new CA-6, -0.25/-3.90

    by sacman701 on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 04:14:39 PM PDT

    •  Can I note something? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      James Allen

      One this isn't a court map, it's a bipartisan panels maps, and I laid out certain criteria.

      Two, Savannah has been split for the past 20 years now, and in the last 4 redistricting plans passed by the State, Jack Kingston actually lives in Savannah.

      As for the 6th and 8th, giving the 6th more of DeKalb would undermine that county's political clout, and possibly make the 8th majority minority. The two sections of Gwinnett are divided by a pretty densely populated and mostly white strip of suburbia.

      "Once, many, many years ago I thought I was wrong. Of course it turned out I had been right all along. But I was wrong to have thought I was wrong." -John Foster Dulles. My Political Compass Score: -4.00, -3.69, Proud member of DKE

      by ArkDem14 on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 04:44:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hm, well it looks like you and I (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ArkDem14, James Allen, hankmeister

    are working on the same project currently haha.  I haven't done Georgia yet though for the reasons you pointed out, the VRA makes working out realistic Atlanta area districts and Augusta/Savannah districts rather awkward.  South Carolina is somewhat similar.

    So far I'm keeping all of the independent commission states (not NJ and WA) and court states the same, though court-states like Colorado I'm modifying just slightly.  The only states I have left to do completely are:
    Illinois
    Georgia
    South Carolina

    And partially:
    Florida (Orlando area I'm not satisfied with)
    Indiana (not satisfied with a couple versions)
    Massachusetts (Boston suburbs throw me off)

    Last, there's Mississippi where I sort of wanted a second VRA district since I drew compact ones for AL and LA and will do so for SC, but I'm not quire sure you can do it in Mississippi nearly as cleanly.  Otherwise I'll just use the court's map.  Once all of the states are done I want to paste them together for a national map.

    Anyway, I do like your Georgia map and I'm sure when I get around to drawing one it will result in something fairly similar.  I do think your 11th district (Bishop) would be required by the VRA to be majority black though, which shouldn't take much more than some rougher edges and less whole counties.  That wouldn't have a net partisan impact though.

    NC-06/NC-04; -9.00, -8.41; progress through pragmatism

    by sawolf on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 04:32:42 PM PDT

    •  It is majority black insofar as (0+ / 0-)

      Census numbers go. The Voting Age Population is a little smaller, and I've tried to get those up, trust me, but there's just nowhere to go. Even with lots of crazy tiny tendrils you can't get the VAP up over 50%, the district is surrounded by too much mostly white territory. The 11th that is. I think this map passes VRA muster, even the VAP is majority minority, just not majority black, and the VRA does have a clause about drawing such districts with reasonable limits, I mean this is why McKenney's district was struck by the Courts in the 1990s. And I don't think Bishop's district is absolutely mandated to be majority black by the VRA. I believe the old district was plurality white.

      "Once, many, many years ago I thought I was wrong. Of course it turned out I had been right all along. But I was wrong to have thought I was wrong." -John Foster Dulles. My Political Compass Score: -4.00, -3.69, Proud member of DKE

      by ArkDem14 on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 04:48:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I just drew up one and got it to 50.3% VAP (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bumiputera

        Mine removes the northern white half of Columbus and your parts of Thurston County, adds the black core of Worth County, adds Grady County, Brooks County, and most of Thomas County.  In total only 7 counties were split.

        One difference between what my map will be and yours is that mine will be totally non-partisan rather than a NJ or WA type of bipartisan commission.  IIRC though, the actual Republican map bumped the 2nd district up to majority VAP.

        NC-06/NC-04; -9.00, -8.41; progress through pragmatism

        by sawolf on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 05:23:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I went through such troubles (0+ / 0-)

          with that district I find it hard to believe the solution was so simple. But I suspect that substituting your version would also work just fine.

          "Once, many, many years ago I thought I was wrong. Of course it turned out I had been right all along. But I was wrong to have thought I was wrong." -John Foster Dulles. My Political Compass Score: -4.00, -3.69, Proud member of DKE

          by ArkDem14 on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 05:39:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  It's possible (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ArkDem14, bumiputera

        I did it in my series on the South.

        Lewis & Clark Law class of 2015

        by James Allen on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 07:35:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  VRA (0+ / 0-)

    VRA districts are nearly always ugly. As a Republican I appreciate them because they mean more seats overall for the GOP, but honestly, as a citizen I find them disturbing.

    Language professors HATE me!

    by Zornorph on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 06:48:49 PM PDT

    •  Sometimes representing communities of interest (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      James Allen, gabjoh, bumiputera

      looks ugly. That's a point to make.

      "Once, many, many years ago I thought I was wrong. Of course it turned out I had been right all along. But I was wrong to have thought I was wrong." -John Foster Dulles. My Political Compass Score: -4.00, -3.69, Proud member of DKE

      by ArkDem14 on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 07:18:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The map of Georgia (0+ / 0-)

    The map of Georgia is one of the bluest maps in the country. And I tell that despite the Republicans try to Gerrymander it this time.

    The extreme Republican Gerrymander of Georgia would give 14 R+7 (approximately) districts but the VRA protect us from that. The VRA give us 4 D+ high districts, that is a very good basis for a state like GA.

    The new map of Georgia is not as Gerrymandered than the worst Republican maps in the country (MI, WA, NJ, PA, CA) but still is a Democratic leaning map.

    But also the VRA protect the Republicans from a extreme Democratic Gerrymander of Georgia that would give more seats over D+5 despite be not 50%+ black districts.

  •  I agree not with the goals of ArkDem14 (0+ / 0-)

    but I appreciate the effort.

    I think he draw a so good map.

  •  If Dems can tap into surbuban ATL (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ArkDem14

    specifically Cobb Co. and Gwinett Co. Then Georgia is going to become a swing state. They already have Athens and Savannah, the black belt part of GA, as well as SW Georgia.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site