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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.

WV-2: Open
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.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Well I'll give you kudos for effort but... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KingofSpades, jncca, WisJohn

    Your map has one blatant flaw that I see and it's that Braxton and Webster counties in central WV, which are quite Dem on average and even went for Obama, are in your vote sink 2nd district.

    Also, 2011 gov numbers are pretty misleading if you look at all the state level 2008 races in that Maloney way overperformed in Marion and Monongalia counties while underperforming in southern WV.  Obama also won those two counties, though he did overperform what a losing Democrat gets in both of them.

    If you were aiming at a map where Dems win all 3 districts, which is easily possible given that no Republican has won a senate election in the state since 1956, then your map is pretty good, but I think a 2-1 map can be drawn better and I think the one I came up with fares pretty well.

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

    by sawolf on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 09:24:51 PM PDT

  •  Objection (0+ / 0-)

    Any map that puts Wheeling and Charleston in the same district is a non-starter.

    •  why? (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 Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 08:45:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Because local protests. (0+ / 0-)

        Chairman Unger of the Redistricting Committee started with a map that would draw together Capito and McKinley (Charleston and Wheeling, respectively) as well as give Putnam County to Rahall, but the status quo trolls on the committee (stacked with Democrats to boot) voted it down.

        Hail to the king, baby.

        by KingofSpades on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 10:57:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  3 hours difference & nothing in common? (0+ / 0-)

        People in Charleston doesn't even want to recognize the Northern Panhandle as part of this State. We in the Northern Panhandle want nothing to do with them either.

  •  Use a topographic map when you draw districts. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ArkDem14, dufffbeer

    WV is a difficult state to get around in, and the districts you have drawn don't make that any easier.

    The Mon River valley (I-79 corridor) is united economically, geographically, and socially. It is also the most dynamic part of WV (the eastern panhandle might dispute this). It needs a single representative.

    A district that ran down the Ohio River might make some sense, but you would need to eliminate the finger that sticks out to the east. Huntington and Wheeling are a long way apart, but they have some similar issues.

    I think that the idea of never subdividing counties is dumb. Other states don't do that and WV doesn't do it for state delegate and senate districts. The state legislature wouldn't have had much trouble coming up with a legal plan if they hadn't handcuffed themselves this way.

  •  I llike what you have done, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    but, I think you should listen to sawolf and as many Obama counties together as possible.

    I think it is sad that non-local Democrats can't win a state that Dukakis won anymore.

    Farm boy who hit the city to go to college, WI-03 (home, voting), WI-02 (college), -7.88, -4.26, I finally get a chance to do something my parents have done for years- vote against Tommy Thompson!! Tammy Baldwin for US Senate!!!!!

    by WisJohn on Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 05:59:58 AM PDT

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