Skip to main content

The Maryland legislature may be forced to draw a new Congressional map, based on the outcome of a referendum this November. This is what the current map looks like.

Last time around, there were a variety of conditions that various national and state legislators were making: the Eastern Shore should remain whole, and should not be drawn into the DC suburbs or Baltimore City. John Sarbanes wanted Annapolis. Steny Hoyer wanted College Park. Donna Edwards supposedly wanted a bit of Montgomery County (but ended up not getting any in the final map). Members of Congress in leadership (Hoyer and Van Hollen) should keep especially safe districts. No D incumbents should be drawn together.

My objective in this diary is to satisfy all these requirements in drawing an even better map for Democrats. Given the referendum against the current ugly map, I believe a new map should also be drawn more cleanly than before (so goo-goos will have less to complain about). I also want each district to have clearly definable sets of communities of interests.

One other caveat is that I've seen other mappers try to keep higher vote % thresholds to define safe districts for incumbents than I will use here. But I think these districts are all D-winnable and -keepable, especially due to our generally high candidate quality in MD. So it's probably not an 8-0 by the usual standards here, but I think that 8-0 is the most likely result for this map.

Here's the statewide view.


District 1 (Gray)
White: 66.0%
Black: 26.2%
Hispanic: 3.5%
Asian 2.8%

Obama: 54.1%
McCain: 44.4%

Dem. Average: 55.6%
Rep. Average: 44.4%

The linchpin of this map is drawing a district primarily covering the Eastern Shore into the Baltimore suburbs. The current map does this to create a heavily Republican district. If this district is instead drawn to bypass the northern and eastern suburbs, and reaches the more diverse and more Democratic western suburbs, the political realities of this district change considerably. The Eastern Shore is 43.3/55.2 Obama/McCain, and comprises 62% of the district. The non-Eastern Shore component is 70.8/27.7 Obama/McCain.


Because we already have 2 Democratic congressmen (Dutch Ruppersberger and John Sarbanes) residing in suburban Baltimore County, it's inevitable that such a district would pass through one of their hometowns. I chose to draw Rep. Ruppersberger's home of Cockeysville into this district.

This district will obviously be more of a challenge for Ruppersberger than his current ~60% Obama district, but he can take comfort in the fact that it's a little more favorable to Democrats downballot. Plus,
(cartoon originally from here, I have no idea what it means either)

Cockeysville is also the home of Republican Representative Andy Harris, but I think he's too conservative for such a district. Plus most of his conservative suburban base is removed from the district. Perhaps an Eastern Shore Republican such as E.J. Pipkin would successfully primary him, but I think Ruppersberger would have a narrow edge even in that situation.

While on the topic of Cockeysville, I should note that it is split with the purple 4th district (which is also too liberal for Harris). Since that's a 57.6% Obama district, there's legitimate concern that Ruppersberger could be a flight risk to this slightly safer district. But it would be almost all new territory for him.

District 2 (Blue)
White: 70.7%
Black: 18.0%
Hispanic: 5.8%
Asian 3.6%

Obama: 56.4%
McCain: 41.4%

Dem. Average: 61.5%
Rep. Average: 38.5%

Our other suburban Baltimore congressman is John Sarbanes, who is from Towson. He's been rumored to have statewide ambitions, and accordingly he requested his district to stretch to a number of places, particularly to Annapolis. I've managed to draw a district for him that plummets through the middle of Baltimore to what could be defined as a "Western Shore" community-of-interest district, hugging the coastline of the Chesapeake from its northern point down to Annapolis.


To do this, the map uses touch-point contiguity right in the middle of Baltimore (at the intersection of East North Ave. and Greenmount Ave.) to cross the VRA green 3rd district.

District 3 (Green)
White: 43.4%
Black: 50.3%
Hispanic: 2.2%
Asian 2.6%

Obama: 67.1%
McCain: 31.3%

Dem. Average: 66.9%
Rep. Average: 33.1%


The third district is compliant VRA, with a voting-age African-American population of 50.3%, and is comprised of the black majority eastern and western sides of Baltimore city, plus some suburbs primary to the northeast. It's unpacked in D performance a little but should still be safe for Cummings.

The above map highlights one of the things I like the least about this map, which is the baconmandering of Harford County, split between 4 different districts.

District 4 (Purple)
White: 61.6%
Black: 20.4%
Hispanic: 6.5%
Asian 9.5%

Obama: 57.6%
McCain: 40.5%

Dem. Average: 57.9%
Rep. Average: 42.1%


The purple district is brand new. It is based in the city of Columbia, and includes the Baltimore exurbs and some second-ring DC suburbs in Montgomery and Prince George's counties. I think a Columbia Democrat such as Guy Guzzone can win and keep it.

District 5 (Red)
White: 63.9%
Black: 10.6%
Hispanic: 12.0%
Asian 11.6%

Obama: 57.0%
McCain: 41.3%

Dem. Average: 56.4%
Rep. Average: 43.6%

The fifth district is based in Rockville-Gaithersburg-Germantown in Montgomery County and includes the city of Frederick as well as other conservative exurban territory in Caroll County. I think John Delaney would run here though he doesn't live within the boundaries (not that that has stopped him before). Obama did better here than in the current 8th where Delaney is running so I think this would be a pickup-and-hold as we expect with the 8th.

District 6 (Blueish Purple)
White: 66.7%
Black: 12.6%
Hispanic: 12.4%
Asian 6.6%

Obama: 61.0%
McCain: 37.3%

Dem. Average: 62.3%
Rep. Average: 37.7%


As stated in my goals, I wanted to give Chris Van Hollen a more secure district because of his former leadership position and his current budget committee role. He was already downgraded in Obama performance quite heavily in the 2010 redistricting to a 63% Obama district, and this one takes it down another couple points. I still think he's safe. This district includes his home area of the near Montgomery County DC suburbs, and stretches out to the Appalachian hinterlands of Western Maryland.

District 7 (Lime Green)
White: 31.6%
Black: 53.0%
Hispanic: 8.5%
Asian 4.8%

Obama: 76.6%
McCain: 22.3%

Dem. Average: 76.3%
Rep. Average: 23.7%


The second VRA district in this map, the 7th district is based in Price George's County and includes some parts of Montgomery County (as Rep. Edwards supposedly wanted) and Anne Arundel County, and a tiny bite of Howard County. The distribution is as follows:

Prince George's    63.17%
Anne Arundel    26.95%
Montgomery    9.59%
Howard            0.30%

This district's shape is superficially similar to the corresponding one drawn in the 2010 map, snaking to take a conservative glob of Anne Arundel County. The Anne Arundel portion is 44.3% Obama but way outvoted by the rest of the district and it is beyond safe for Donna Edwards.

I gave a portion of Montgomery County to this district which Rep. Donna Edwards supposedly requested. The white liberal vote in Montgomery was supposedly instrumental in her primary defeat of Al Wynn. Since none of Montgomery actually made it in, we can probably redraw this map better, exchanging with the 4th (purple) district some Montgomery territory for some Anne Arundel territory, shoring up the fouth district. This one has plenty of strength to go around.

District 8 (Yellow)
White: 53.0%
Black: 33.7%
Hispanic: 7.6%
Asian: 3.6%

Obama: 64.6%
McCain: 34.2%

Dem. Average: 66.6%
Rep. Average: 33.4%

This district drawn for Minority Whip Steny Hoyer looks a lot like the one drawn for him in the 2010 map, and votes a lot like it too. It contains College Park, which he wanted.

Thanks for reading. Let me know what you think.

Originally posted to bumiputera on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 05:52 AM PDT.

Also republished by Maryland Kos.


Would this 1st district be safe for Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger?

27%11 votes
40%16 votes
10%4 votes
0%0 votes
17%7 votes
5%2 votes

| 40 votes | Vote | Results

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-)

    27, Male, MA-08 (hometown MI-06)

    by bumiputera on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 05:52:35 AM PDT

  •  Even with what you call "touch point contiguity" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    You still have a bisected district. That won't fly. Moreover, I hope the map stays as is--seven safe Democratic seats and one safe Republican seat is pretty decent. Only ten years ago, there was an even 4-4 split in the MD Congressional delegation.

    Unapologetic Obama supporter.

    by Red Sox on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 05:59:08 AM PDT

  •  Wow, crazy powerful. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It won't upset PG County or Edwards, but it may be an issue that Baltimore City will not have three Congressmen anymore.  Van Hollen will also be bewildered by all of the rural territory, but it won't be a problem to win.

    Nice fantasy.  It would be neat to see if they could weaken Harris without such radical changes as well.

    Hail to the king, baby.

    by KingofSpades on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 06:06:43 AM PDT

  •  Great approach to making the 1st competitve (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    without rocking the boat too much in PG County. The Baltimore folks would still probably torpedo this but it's probably more politically feasible than the previous proposed 8-0 maps.

    26, originally OK-1, currently NY-10. Former swingnut.

    by okiedem on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 06:14:31 AM PDT

  •  Isn't a referendum in November just a tad late? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    In any event, this looks like fun, I'm off to try using this software to gerrymander Vermont and Wyoming . . ..

    •  You'll never beat my maps (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I once drew a Vermont congressional district that stretched all the way from the Canadian border to the Massachusetts border.

      Voting in RI-01, went to college in IL-01.

      by sapelcovits on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 09:05:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And with population deviation of 0 too (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Marcus Graly

        Though I thought there was a little too much packing of the protected group "Vermonters".

        28, Male, MA-08 (hometown MI-06)

        by bumiputera on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 09:11:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Vermont has interesting redistricting issues (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Prior to Reynolds v. Sims, they had one of the most lopsided legislatures anywhere.  They've tried to preserve the spirit of this as much as possible, through the clever use of multi-member districts and pushing the envelope of allowable population deviation.

          30, (new) MA-7, Unenrolled

          Truman: "The buck stops here!"
          Romney: "The buck stops somewhere in the next county..."

          by Marcus Graly on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 11:09:46 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Eastern shore still gets screwed. (0+ / 0-)

    Or should I say Andy-capped.

    I'm the plowman in the valley - with my face full of mud

    by labradog on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 07:33:16 AM PDT

  •  Homes (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I know that with the Federal Constitution that there is no requirement to live in the district you represent, is there one in Maryland that requires even Congressmen to live in their districts?

    Either way, I think that if the map is struck down and has to be redone. The Governor should tell Sarbanes to move, as this Cockeysville-Towson business is ridiculous--I say Sarbanes simply because Ruppersberger has a more established record in Baltimore County. If say Sarbanes moved to Annapolis, he could just get a district that occupies the space between DC and Baltimore and still have the same margins of victory, it makes the map a lot neater and makes it easier to shore up Ruppersberger since population trends only allow for really one suburban Baltimore district.

    •  I think it is unconstitutional (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      for the states to dictate anything regarding Representatives beyond what the Constitution stipulates. So no, there's no requirement that Sarbanes' district includes Towson or that Ruppersberger's (and Harris') includes Cockeysville. Representatives just like having their home turf in their district, and being able to make use of the money they bring to that district. Sarbanes moving to Annapolis would make things a lot easier, but the district would still have to go either to PG County or Baltimore County to stay safe.

      27, Male, MA-08 (hometown MI-06)

      by bumiputera on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 08:56:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sarbanes should move to Howard County (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bumiputera, WisJohn, dufffbeer

      It would be good for him politically, would make redistricting easier, and would make his day-to-day life easier--he commutes daily to DC and it would probably cut 1/2 hour for him each way.

    •  I completely agree (0+ / 0-)

      The screwed up district shapes make it harder for candidates to campaign and properly represent, and it makes people have less faith in government. And there's only room for one Democratic district north of Baltimore.

  •  How does touch-point continuity work? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Like, if I'm at the center of the intersection of the two streets, what district am I in?  Both, twice each, like Four Corners National Monument?

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site