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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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%
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)
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.