...It's a long way to go.
It's a long way to Parkville
To the sweetest girl I know!
Farewell, Bel Air!
It's a long long way to Parkville,
But my heart's right there!
In Maryland, Republicans managed to get a referendum on the ballot to undo the new Congressional map. However, it sounds like a fool's errand. Even if it passes, it doesn't throw re-redistricting to a court or independent body, it just lets Governor O'Malley and the state legislature have another crack at it. O'Malley will still be governor in 2013 and he said that if it passes, he will make minimum changes to the map he masterminded last year. Also, the state legislature will be just as Dem then (if not more) due to the fact that they gerrymandered the state legislature as well. All in all, it seems like a supremely pointless effort on the part of the MD GOP as it will merely give O'Malley a mulligan in redistricting and he could theoretically make it even worse for them.
Therefore, I decided to do a theoretical re-redistricting even more effective than the new one. As easy as it would be to do whatever I wanted, I wanted to make a more realistic map that would irk as few Dem constituencies as possible. Here are the criteria I followed:
1. The city of Baltimore must have representation in three Congressional districts.
2. There must be two Congressional districts that are majority African-American by voting age population.
3. All Democratic districts must have the incumbent's hometown in it.
4. Small chunks of ultra-blue Baltimore and/or Prince George's County cannot be put into a district dominated by the Eastern Shore.
5. Water contiguity over the Chesapeake is allowed.
6. Cutting up parts of the Eastern Shore is alright so long as it doesn't conflict with the other criteria.
More below the fold.
Here are zoom-ins on various areas to give you better views.
MD-01 (blue): Rep. Andy Harris (R-Cockeysville)
Was: 40% Obama/58% McCain
Now: 49.5% Obama/48.8% McCain; 51.7% Dem/48.3% GOP
This district can be made more Democratic without violating the criteria by giving it all of Annapolis and then stretching it to the blue suburbs west of Baltimore. Hoyer's district came in handy to take in some of the red territory of the southwestern part of the Eastern Shore. The result is a district that narrowly went for Obama. Possible Dem candidates: Frank Kratovil, Senator James Mathias, Senator John Astle, Senator Robert Zirkin, Delegate Rudolph Cane, Delegate Norman Conway, Delegate David Rudolph, Delegate Mary-Dulany James, Delegate Jon Cardin, Delegate Dan Morhaim, Delegate Dana Stein, and Speaker Michael Busch.
MD-02 (green): Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Cockeysville)
Was: 60% Obama/38% McCain
Now: 58.4% Obama/39.7% McCain; 62.3% Dem/37.7% GOP
This district trades coastal Harford County for Columbia. It's also now quite cleaner than ever before.
MD-03 (magenta): Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Towson)
Was: 59% Obama/39% McCain
Now: 58.5% Obama/39.4% McCain; 60.8% Dem/39.2% GOP
This district takes in some red area in central Carroll County, northern Frederick County, and western Howard County, but compensates by taking in northern Montgomery County and a piece of Prince George's County. This district also contains Parkville, where my girlfriend lives (hence the title of this diary).
MD-04 (red): Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Fort Washington)
Was: 85% Obama/14% McCain
Now: 76.1% Obama/22.9% McCain; 75.6% Dem/24.4% GOP; VAP: 33.2% White, 52.5% Black
Donna Edwards rolled some eyes when she complained that O'Malley's map got rid of her share of Montgomery County from her district (although she masked it as being an issue of dilution of minority voters). She tried hard to fight it, but her complaints turned out to be a paper tiger. This map sends her district into very red areas of Anne Arundel County and, by coincidence, gives her a single Montgomery County precinct.
MD-05 (gold): Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Mechanicsville)
Was: 65% Obama/33% McCain
Now: 61.0% Obama/37.7% McCain; 63.4% Dem/36.6% GOP; VAP: 57.3% White, 32.0% Black
Steny Hoyer's district crosses the Chesapeake to take in some red area in the southwest corner of the Eastern Shore. It also still gives him College Park like he wants.
MD-06 (teal): Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Bartlett)
Was: 40% Obama/58% McCain
Now: 56.9% Obama/41.3% McCain; 56.9% Dem/43.1% GOP
This district screws Bartlett about as much as the new map does. It cuts right into the blue core of Montgomery County. Democrat John Delaney doesn't live here either, but that's no problem.
MD-07 (dark grey): Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Baltimore)
Was: 79% Obama/20% McCain
Now: 65.6% Obama/32.8% McCain; 63.2% Dem/36.8% GOP; VAP: 44.4% White, 50.0% Black (somewhere between 50.0% and 50.05%)
I pushed Cummings' district to the utter limit of what is legal. The result is a district that takes in the African-American population of Baltimore (and a few of its western suburbs) and then stretches out to uber-red areas of Harford County, Baltimore County, and Carroll County. In redistricting last year, although he saw his district weakened quite a bit, Cummings supported the map. I take that as meaning that he's willing to weaken his district as much as possible to help other Democrats.
MD-08 (slate blue): Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Kensington)
Was: 74% Obama/25% McCain
Now: 69.1% Obama/29.5% McCain; 69.4% Dem/30.6% GOP; VAP: 54.1% White, 18.2% Black, 17.3% Hispanic, 8.4% Asian
When you're trying to gerrymander while keeping deviation from ideal population as low as possible, sometimes you do things you didn't intend to do. Here, I had to keep the finger into Prince George's County and I didn't dilute the Dem vote here as much as I'd like (I wanted to take it down to 65% Obama), but it does the trick. It takes in some of the reddish area of Montgomery County and red rural Frederick County. I suppose if I had more patience, I could've strengthened MD-03 a bit more at the cost of a few percentage of Dem performance in MD-08.
I'm pretty happy with how this turned out. I created a 7D-0R-1T map that doesn't upset any incumbents and as few Democratic constituencies as possible. I hope that, if the new Congressional maps are rejected by referendum, O'Malley sticks it further to Republicans than he already did. With this map, he easily can. What do you think?
Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 10:17 AM PT: I just edited portions of the map to be even better. Mike in MD said that Carroll County would be a nuisance to Cummings, so I decided to reduce his share, shore up Sarbanes a bit, and have Van Hollen take in all of Frederick County that is not in the 6th.
MD-03: 58.9% Obama/39.0% McCain; 61.5% Dem/38.5% GOP; VAP: 63.1% White, 21.1% Black, 7.7% Hispanic, 6.2% Asian
Sarbanes now has the lion's share of Carroll County, but loses his share of Frederick County. He also loses a few red precincts of Howard County. He also gains more of Montgomery County along the border with Prince George's County (where it is bluest).
MD-06: 57.1% Obama/41.2% McCain; 57.1% Dem/42.9% GOP; VAP: 65.8% White, 11.6% Black, 10.3% Hispanic, 10.5% Asian
This district becomes a bit more Democratic by losing a few swingy precincts of Montgomery County, losing a rural Frederick County precinct to the 8th, and picking up a few more of the bluer Montgomery County precincts. Running here for any Republican will be as frightening as the Blair Witch Project (Burkittsville, the ostensible location of of that movie, is located in this district in southwest Frederick County).
MD-07: 67.0% Obama/31.4% McCain; 64.6% Dem/35.4% GOP; VAP: 42.9% White, 51.2% Black, 2.1% Hispanic, 2.5% Asian
Mike in MD had a point. Carroll County would not be amenable to Cummings at all. In order to make Cummings feel more comfortable, I gave him less of Carroll County and gave him more of Baltimore.
MD-08: 67.0% Obama/31.6% McCain; 67.1% Dem/32.9% GOP; VAP: 57.0% White, 17.1% Black, 15.8% Hispanic, 8.2% Asian
The 8th becomes a little less blue by taking all of rural Frederick County that is not in the 6th as well as taking in a few purple precincts in Montgomery County and a few red precincts in Howard County.
All of these changes make the map even better than what I had it and I think it's pretty close to ideal.