In honor of President Obama's acceptance speech, what better way to celebrate than to redistrict a state where he got his political start and remains popular and beloved? A state that serves as America's leader in racial diversity, economic growth, and a model in building for the future. Well, instead we will focus on West Virginia.
Under the West Virginia constitution, all congressional districts must not deviate more than .22% from the ideal district, which mean a maximum deviation of 1358 people. All of my districts meet this criteria and actually all have deviations below 1000 people. Additionally, until this year, WV never split counties between congressional districts, and I see no reason not to continue this tradition if it is possible to meet deviation requirements without doing so. In my map, I combine GOP Reps. Shelley Moore Capito and David McKinley in the 1st district, leading to a real chance for Democrats to pick up a GOP-held seat, and an outside shot at actually picking up both.
Maps and data below the fold:
I used the following data for each district. Here are the statewide results:
2008 President: 55.6-42.5 McCain (R)
2000 President: 51.9-45.6 Bush (R)
1988 President: 52.2-47.5 Dukakis (D)
2011 Governor: 49.6-47.1 Tomblin (D)
2010 Senate: 53.5-43.4 Manchin (D)
2010 Supreme Court: 50.8-49.2 McHugh (D)
2008 Attorney General: 50.4-49.6 McGraw (D)
Party Registration: 52D, 29R, 18I (Note: "Independent" does not include minor parties.)
WV-1: David McKinley (R-Wheeling)/Shelley Moore Capito (R-Charleston)
Redistribution: 58% McKinley, 42% Capito
08 Pres: 55.4-43.1 McCain, 00 Pres: 52.4-44.9 Bush, 88 Pres: 50.2-49.4 Dukakis
11 Gov: 49.2-47.6 Maloney (R), 10 Sen: 53.5-43.4 Manchin
10 Sup Ct: 53.4-46.4 McHugh (D), 08 AG: 53.2-46.8 Greear (R)
Registration: 49D, 31R, 18I
There is absolutely no reason the Democrats had not to draw the two GOP incumbents together. Considering that we aren't going to win either district in 2012 anyway, as is, there was no downside whatsoever in drawing this map, which at least gives us the opportunity for a pickup or two. And even if we don't pick up a seat under this map, it could at least force an incumbent-on-incumbent money-drain for the GOP. Assuming the risk-averse Capito does indeed choose to run here in her home district, as the only real member of the GOP bench in the state, she would probably be the favorite over the freshman McKinley in spite of the fact he represents more of this district than she does. The AG race numbers are opposite of what one would expect, with the Republican winning the 1st and the Democrat winning the 2nd, but this is likely due to the fact that Republican Dan Greear's home base was in Charleston. Considering we couldn't actually get any decent recruit to run against McKinley, we would probably blow our outside chance at a pickup opportunity here, but there may very well be a Charleston Dem who would be willing to run, now that it is in this district.
Redistribution: 49% Capito, 42% McKinley, 9% Rahall
08 Pres: 55.3-43.0 McCain, 00 Pres: 55.3-41.9 Bush, 88 Pres: 51.4-48.3 Bush
11 Gov: 52.4-43.2 Maloney (R), 10 Sen: 50.2-46.2 Manchin
10 Sup Ct: 58.0-42.0 Yoder (R), 08 AG: 51.4-48.6 McGraw (D)
Registration: 45D, 32R, 20I
This open seat is actually the most Republican district in the state, but it is important to note that the Eastern Panhandle region is the only part of the state that is actually trending blue, especially Jefferson, Berkeley, and Morgan, which are fast-growing and increasingly becoming Washington DC exurbs. In fact, Obama actually won Jefferson County in 2008. Additionally, it will be quite difficult for Capito to carpetbag here because there are a couple of counties that serve as a buffer between Charleston and the new 2nd. Even if she does choose to carpetbag here, the majority of the district would be new her. The portion from the old 1st voted 55.0-45.0 for Democrat Mike Oliverio in 2010 over David McKinley. Oliverio is quite conservative and makes Joe Manchin look like a progressive hero, but his home base of Morgantown is in this district and he would be a great recruit to potentially lock up this red district for the forseeable future.
WV-3: Nick Rahall (D-Beckley)
Redistribution: 87% Rahall, 13% Capito
08 Pres: 56.5-41.6 McCain, 00 Pres: 49.7-48.3 Gore, 88 Pres: 57.7-42.0 Dukakis
11 Gov: 58.0-39.3 Tomblin (D), 10 Sen: 56.9-40.4 Manchin
10 Sup Ct: 57.2-42.8 McHugh (D), 08 AG: 53.5-46.5 McGraw (D)
2010 Generic Congressional Vote: 51.1-48.9 D
Registration: 61D, 24R, 14I
(Current: 55.8-42.3 McCain, 50.7-47.3 Gore, 58.8-40.9 Dukakis,
59-38 Tomblin, 58-39 Manchin)
Rahall adds Republican Putnam County in order to slightly unpack this heavily Democratic district (except for Obama). He should still be safe as the district still voted for Gore in 2000, and the Generic Congressional Vote still went D in 2010 even though the new portions of the district gave over 70% of the vote to Capito. Additionally, party registration remains over 60% Democratic, so he should be fine. To get an idea of just how much President Obama is despised in Coal Country, one just needs to look at this district, which is Obama's worst in the state, despite being far and away the most Democratic district in West Virginia.