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New York Democrats just very narrowly lost the state senate and with it total control over the federal redistricting process in New York in 2010. Here I wanted to see just how much damage they might have done and assuming Andrew Cuomo didn't bend over backwards to help Republicans like he did in reality. Seeing as how this alternate universe takes places by just assuming we held the state senate, my goal is to protect every single seat we held going into the 2012 elections while keeping the lines relatively 'clean' looking. Using the 2010 average rather than Obama's numbers, my benchmark was 57.6% Dem, or 4.6% to the right of the state. 23 of the 24 districts meet this criteria while the last one is safe due to the incumbent's strength; most but not all are in the D+5 range for Obama '08. So let's take a look at the map.

NY Dem 24-3 overview

NY Dem 24-3 NYC
(click for full size)

NY Dem 24-3 data

Starting off in Long Island, I've shored up Tim Bishop, who won by just 5% last year, by 5 more points so he'd have won by closer to 15. To do this I've vote sunk Pete King's district down to a nice 10% McCain win. Obama rather underperformed in Long Island, so even though none of districts 1 3 or 4 is more than D+3, they're safe due to the average and incumbent strength.

In NYC I largely avoided making wholesale changes to the VRA districts as these were already kosher, having been passed by the court that drew them. What I did change significantly though were the 9th, 10th, and 11th districts. The 9th is now used to soak up those heavily conservative Orthodox Jewish districts in southern Brooklyn while the 11th uses water contiguity to add a nice slice of lower Manhattan and get 11% more Democratic in the process, dooming Grimm. Bob Turner still sees his seat eliminated.

Moving on to upstate, I've unpacked the 16th to make the 18th safe for a liberal. Maurice Hinchey's seat is resurrected and now spans up to Rome making it probably the ugliest seat in the state. Chris Gibson's seat is eliminated as he gets drawn in with Paul Tonko in a district heavily favoring the Democrat. Bill Owens gets shored up about 4% giving him a roughly 10% win margin in a quickly Dem trending seat. The 22nd is turned into our nice 2nd vote sink for very strong 'moderate' Rep. Hanna, while the 24th is shored up about 2% giving Maffei an even more comfortable win.

In Western New York I've restored the earmuffs district, but here it's for Kathy Hochul who takes in northern Buffalo and western Rochester in a district where she'd have cruised. Louise Slaughter gets the bulk of Rochester and also Ithaca New York in a district about as Democratic as her actual one. Finally, Brian Higgins' seat is unpacked somewhat and is the only one below 57.6% Dem, but it's still several points more Democratic than his 2004-2010 one that he held with ease so he's safe.

So there you have it, New York Democrats could have easily shored up 5 of the seats we held after 2012 while creating 3 more safe ones.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I like your 25th (0+ / 0-)

    squeezing out a blue district like that is not easy.  Also like a lot how you did Long Island.

    "Didn't anyone ever tell you? There's one thing you never put in a trap—if you're smart, if you value your continued existence, if you have any plans about seeing tomorrow—there's one thing you never—ever, put in a trap. …Me." -The Eleventh Doctor

    by KingofSpades on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 10:05:04 AM PDT

  •  I can't tell if (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KingofSpades, bumiputera

    you used water contiguity to connect Niagara Falls and Greece. I believe water contiguity should only be used if it's necessary, and if you did, I think you should just take a narrow strip of the Lake Ontario shore just like the old earmuffs district did.

    Other than that, excellent job. This incorporates several ideas that I hadn't considered before, such as splitting Rochester. However, I'm wondering why you didn't bring the 7th up to Jackson Heights to give it more Hispanics.

    Also, could you provide an inset map of the Capital Region? I think you could make a few changes there that would make the 20th and 21st safer.

    (-8.38, -4.72), CT-02 (home), ME-01 (college) "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one." -Spock

    by ProudNewEnglander on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 10:08:29 AM PDT

    •  I'll just email you the .drf (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KingofSpades, ProudNewEnglander

      with the 7th I left it as was as it wasn't necessary to change to make the 11th safe D. I'm not really sure how those safe D vote sinks would have been drawn had legislative Democrats had their way, so I just ignored it by and large given how what the court drew for districts like 7 seems to be VRA compliant.

      And yes I did use water contiguity, but as you said that could easily be remedied and all at Higgins expense too since he's uber safe. I just figured since I used it already for 11 I might as well since New York Democrats (aside from Cuomo) never struck me as a bunch that was appalled by aggressive line drawing. This is certainly no North Carolina though.

      •  I'm in the midst of (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        making small adjustments to your map. I have already succeeded in making both the 20th and 21st a few tenths of a point more Democratic by making the 22nd more Republican. Also, you focus too much on the average (which looks very strange in Otsego County and is thrown off in Western NY by Paladino's presence) while I use the 2008 results much more, especially considering that the 2012 results were generally pretty similar to those in 2008, especially upstate).

        I'll send you my revised version when I'm done.

        (-8.38, -4.72), CT-02 (home), ME-01 (college) "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one." -Spock

        by ProudNewEnglander on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 12:58:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's still got 4 other races in the average though (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          otherwise I'd have ignored it due to Paladino.

          I suppose it's probably more useful on Long Island, Southern Brooklyn and Staten Island where Obama clearly underperformed.

          Anyway I doubt it really makes that much of a difference as every single seat would have been in the D+5 or greater range in 2012 except maybe Israel's and Bishop's and there's not much you can do about that nor do you need to.

          •  My goal was (0+ / 0-)

            to improve Owens' seat while keeping Tonko and Gibson's replacement (as Gibson has no chance of survival here) safe. I also wanted to make the 7th more Hispanic, as it has an unnecessarily low percentage of Hispanics.

            I've sent you New York 2.0. I'm interested in your view of it.

            (-8.38, -4.72), CT-02 (home), ME-01 (college) "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one." -Spock

            by ProudNewEnglander on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 02:17:07 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Eh I think it's all a wash upstate (0+ / 0-)

              your 21st is a tad stronger, but mine all looked a bit cleaner and any district that's 5% or 6% better won't see Owens lose regardless.

              I just really don't see the need to draw a 57% Hispanic district when the 41% one is already VRA compliant, does its job functionally of electing Velasquez (I know that's not the function of the VRA but that's beside the point) and it causes you to dismantle the only other district which could give Hispanics the ability to elect the candidate of their choice which doesn't already do so in the 14th. That might even be illegal as it's a section 5 in addition to section 2 district and you dropped it from 45% down to 29%. Jarrold Nadler also really wouldn't like his district as the vast majority of it is new so I can't really see that being drawn.

              At the end of the day though, when it doesn't make a difference in terms of flipping the 11th I'd rather just let sleeping dogs lie. It's really anyone's guess as to how NYC would have actually been drawn under a Dem gerrymander with all the competing interests and I'm rather glad we don't have to see that sort of ugliness, plus it got rid of Towns, and Ackerman.

              •  New districts (0+ / 0-)
                any district that's 5% or 6% better won't see Owens lose regardless.
                Illinois Democrats probably said this about David Gill. North Carolina Republicans probably said this about David Rouzer. Any sort of improvement in the districts could be the difference between victory and defeat.

                As for NYC, I wasn't aware that your 14th was intended as a Hispanic opportunity district. Crowley seems to have a pretty good lock on it. Also, Velazquez only got 57% in her primary last year, so I wanted to make her district safer for a Hispanic. I don't think there's enough Hispanics in NYC to support another Hispanic district.

                (-8.38, -4.72), CT-02 (home), ME-01 (college) "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one." -Spock

                by ProudNewEnglander on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 03:57:26 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I just figured that's what the court intended (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  and I honestly don't think it's necessary in areas that aren't incredibly racially polarized for a certain group to be over 50% though I'm not sure what CVAP here would be; but given the section 5 concerns in the Bronx I let it be as was. Maybe Crowley retires and a Hispanic wins, but in any case with the 7th I might normally agree before the fact, but we have the one experiment result that actually matters with the actual election. Velasquez won and now that a huge chunk of the district isn't new she should continue to do so easily.

                  That might not be ideal from a CoI standpoint, but this is a Dem map. All I cared about was a legal map that protected every single one of our incumbents, even Hinchey had he not been forced into retirement by districting and health, going into 2012 which is easily doable however you want to draw them. It would have been awkward and probably self defeating to see how Dems handled redistricting in 2009 had it been up that year with all of our tenuous holds, the disaster of the senate, but a much less accommodating to Republicans governor in Paterson.

                  I don't think those other two districts are apt comparisons though. Owens won a redder district in 2010 of all years as an Obamacare supporting freshman against the same opponent and beat the same guy by 2% last year when his seat was weakened. After all that, if you give him a 5% or a 6% better district, we're still talking about a seat that leans to his party by a significant margin and he's the incumbent.

                  Rouzer and Gill were just poor candidates for their respective seats and neither was the incumbent. Owens isn't some liberal either, he's quite moderate and if he could survive 2010 in NY-23 (with a 48% plurality) then I think he'd be fine the rest of the decade.

                  Mostly though, I think it's an unnecessary choice between your or my version of the 21st because the area is trending Democratic at a decent pace. Either version has him at over D+5 in 2012 with no signs of that trend reversing. If a moderate incumbent loses a seat like that, god help us cause we're screwed. So with all that, I figured cleaning up the map was okay. Basically in all of the maps I've released in the past several months I've tried to make them both plausible to who the map drawers would be as is the case here, or at least not North Carolina-esque offensive to lay observes as in the case of Arkansas.

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

    I know this isn't the point of your diary, but to me "upstate" doesn't include suburbia; everything north of I-84 would fit my definition.

    Great job, BTW!

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