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The concept of unicameral Congress is an interesting one, with just one house, it would remove some of the gridlock that occurs in the legislative branch. Reynolds vs. Sims only applies at the state level, but it's criteria makes sense for federal office in terms of representation. Of course, it would only be fair to have one house if the districts were drawn fairly. As we have seen with Hungary, one party ceased power of parliament and drew a map that they couldn't lose on, which is a dangerous parable in a unicameral system.

I've based my maps on geography, VRA requirements, compactness and competitiveness (where it is possible and reasonable). Where maps are currently drawn fairly (or fairly for the most part), I have simply modified those real maps by adding two districts to each state.

First up is the mountain west. The mountain west is the old frontier, and it is the new frontier, with a present and future filled with growth. States like Arizona, Colorado and Nevada have seen steadily growth, as well as a rise in political clout, as they become more competitive (with Arizona being less competitive that Colorado and Nevada). New Mexico has become more of Democratic leaning bastion, whereas Idaho, Utah and Wyoming remain strongly Republican, and Montana leans Republican.

Some of my pictures were not as big as I wanted, but I wanted to get this diary up, so I'll fix the size issues later.


For Arizona, I tried to maintain the shape of the real map, despite a couple of extra seats being added. The vision of the commission was preserved as best possible, taking into account competitiveness.

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AZ-1: Ann Kirkpatrick

48% Obama, 50% McCain

This is not too different than AZ-1 on the real map, save for being more condensed. Kirkpatrick would be in good shape here, considering the similarity to the actual district and the fact that the bulk of the Republican base comes from suburban Tucson, whereas Kirkpatrick has the advantage of being from rural Arizona.

AZ-2: Paul Gosar

34% Obama, 63% McCain

Not much to say about this one, very red seat.


46% Obama, 52% McCain

Holding to the competitiveness standard of the commission, this district has a Republican lean, but is not outside the reach of a Democrat like Rebecca Rios or Barbara McGuire. Pinal County is home to some Pinto Democrats.

AZ-4: Matt Salmon

37% Obama, 61% McCain

Yet another heavily Republican seat, and probably one of the most Mormon outside of Utah and Idaho.


45% Obama, 53% McCain

Not unlike the district Ben Quayle held that was pretty much dismantled. It sits closest to the statewide presidential percentage and would be secure for a Republican until at least a decade.

AZ-6: Ed Pastor

65% Obama, 32% McCain

Not much to say about this one, very blue seat.

AZ-7: Raul Grijalva

56% Obama, 43% McCain

AZ-8: Ron Barber

50% Obama, 48% McCain

Barber would be pleased with this seat, which would provide him a bigger cushion in close races.

AZ-9: Kyrsten Sinema

51% Obama, 47% McCain

Pretty much the same as on the real map. Not a huge Obama margin, but good enough for an Arizona Democrat to hold.

AZ-10: Trent Franks

41% Obama, 57% McCain

I'm not sure if Franks lives here, but it includes territory from his current district, so I assume he'd run here.

AZ-11: Dave Schweikert

35% Obama, 63% McCain

Not much to say about this one, very red seat.


Again, I was going for similarities to the current map, with more seats added.

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CO-1: Diana DeGette

76% Obama, 21% McCain

Yeah, it's Denver, enough said.

CO-2: Jared Polis

61% Obama, 37% McCain

It's got Boulder in it, so we have an inkling of how secure it is for Democrats.


54% Obama, 45% McCain

Finally, things get interesting. Pueblo weighs heavily on this district, giving it a slight Democratic lean. John Salazar would win easily here.

CO-4: Doug Lamborn

37% Obama, 61% McCain

Heavily red seat.

CO-5: Corey Gardner

41% Obama, 56% McCain

Not exactly compact, but population distribution requires that rural counties to the east be attached to more populated areas around Colorado Springs.


47% Obama, 51% McCain

Yet another seat where rural counties get attached to more populated areas. Can't really be helped much.

CO-7: Mike Coffman

56% Obama, 42% McCain

Coffman would probably be in trouble here.


57% Obama, 40% McCain

Ed Perlmutter doesn't live here, but I supposed he would consider running here, since it includes much territory he's won before.


52% Obama, 45% McCain

Quite a swing district, taking in most of Jefferson County.


Overall, this is similar to what the state would draw and there aren't many games played with redistricting in Idaho, it's pretty fair for the most part.

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ID-1: Raul Labrador

45% Obama, 51% McCain

By Idaho standards, it would be a swing district. Walt Minnick might have possibly won this, even in 2010. Not an easy seat at R+5, but I think a Democrat like Minnick would be hard to dislodge if they captured the seat.


29% Obama, 68% McCain

Pretty red seat.

ID-3: Mike Simpson

30% Obama, 67% McCain
This probably would give Mike Simpson a little more primary security, but not much.


36% Obama, 60% McCain

Ancestral Democratic roots in the north help make this the second least Republican district in the state.


The numbers here are rough, since I had to process them myself, since partisan data isn't available for this state on the redistricting app. I got clean lines and only one split county, which is very fair, I think.

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47% Obama, 48% McCain

I'm labeling every Montana seat as open. A very narrow seat, which has a Republican lean, but cannot be written off for a Montana Democrat. I'd wager that Tester narrowly carried this seat, as well as Bullock.


50% Obama, 46% McCain

For the most part, Democrats would probably be able to carry this seat outside of very high Republican waves, as it contains much of the reliable Democratic base in the state.


47% Obama, 51% McCain

Covering the eastern end of the state, this seat would vote reliably Republican, but it wouldn't be outside of the reach of a very rural Democrat with skill.

New Mexico

This is a fair, balanced map that takes into account geography more than anything.

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NM-1: Michelle Lujan-Grisham

60% Obama, 38% McCain

This seat shrinks down to mainly just Albuquerque proper, which clearly would have no downside for Democrats.


57% Obama, 41% McCain

This would succeed NM-1 as the swing playground in the area, as it includes purplish Sandoval County. I wouldn't count a Republican out winning here, but a solid Democratic would be able to hold the seat most years.

NM-3: Steve Pearce

38% Obama, 59% McCain

Set in southeast New Mexico, this becomes the state Republican playground, a fortress that wouldn't waver even in a heavy Democratic wave.


58% Obama, 40% McCain

This has swing potential, depending on candidates and climate, as it's got some deep red precincts and purple ones as well. Las Cruces showing would be essential to any Democrat winning.

NM-5: Ben Lujan

64% Obama, 34% McCain

Strongest Democratic district in the state, anchored on Santa Fe.


This map was drawn to keep lines as tight as possible. Separating rural and urban was a big part of my vision for this series and that is what intended to do.

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54% Obama, 43% McCain

Washoe County practically gets a district to itself. It probably would be problematic for Democrats in off-years in terms of drop out, so if a Democrat did win it, they'd have to work overtime to hold it.

NV-2: Mark Amodei/Joe Heck

40% Obama, 56% McCain

Cow counties and anything not Las Vegas or Reno. Henderson ends up here (or least it looks like that to me), which means Joe Heck and Mark Amodei are in the same seat, but I doubt Heck would run here. With such a high Republican percentage, Sharron Angle might get in the mix, but I'm not sure Republican primary voters would be keen on her after he failure to defeat Reid.


56% Obama, 41% McCain

I don't believe any incumbent lives here, but Joe Heck may opt for it, since it contains some of the territory he's represented and it's got a lower Obama percentage than other area seats.

NV-4: Dina Titus

70% Obama, 27% McCain

Contains most of the city of Las Vegas.


57% Obama, 40% McCain

Leans Democratic, but not out of reach for a Republican in a wave.

NV-6: Stephen Horsford

59% Obama, 39% McCain

Pulls out of the cow counties and condenses in Clark County only.


Utah gets a couple of interesting seats on the this map.

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UT-1: Rob Bishop

29% Obama, 68% McCain

Super Republican district in the northernmost part of the state.


30% Obama, 67% McCain

Davis County paired with some rural parts of the state.

UT-3: Jason Chaffetz

19% Obama, 78% McCain

Would be the most Republican district in the country.

UT-4: Jim Matheson

59% Obama, 37% McCain

Things finally get interesting. This district might have narrowly voted for Obama in 2012, but I would bet that it went to Romney. Still, it would be won by Matheson easily, but might not win a primary or convention here, as Salt Lake City Democrats are quite liberal.


43% Obama, 54% McCain

This is slightly better than Matheson's current seat and this might be an option for him as opposed to the more liberal UT-4. The DCCC would prefer him here, anyway, as he could win such a seat.


24% Obama, 73% McCain

Mia Love would certainly win this heavily Republican seat that connects rural areas and suburbs. Since so much of the state's population lives on the Wasatch Front, it's unavoidable to mix rural and suburban, so a portion of Salt Lake County goes here.


One potentially interesting seat forms in Wyoming.

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WY-1: Cynthia Lummis

40% Obama, 58% McCain

This looks a little weird, but it made sense to put together the only two areas in the state classified by the census as urban, Casper and Cheyenne. Gary Trauner carried this seat in 2006 and 2008, so it is possible a Democrat could win it if some teabagger was able to displace Lummis in the primary.


33% Obama, 63% McCain

Nothing much to see here, very red district, but at the very least, we might get a somewhat sensible Republican here.


24% Obama, 73% McCain

Nothing to see here, very red district.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (5+ / 0-)

    27, Male, CA-26, DK Elections Black Caucus Chair.

    by DrPhillips on Sun Jan 05, 2014 at 06:39:53 AM PST

  •  Excellent stuff; I especially like the Utah map (0+ / 0-)

    Oh, what I'd do to get a liberal seat in Utah...

    Leftist Mormon in Utah, Born in Washington State, live in UT-04 (Matheson).

    by Gygaxian on Sun Jan 05, 2014 at 08:11:16 AM PST

  •  The Arizona map might better have been based (0+ / 0-)

    on the current, i.e., 2012, redistricting rather than the now outdated arrangement.

    War beats down, and sows with salt, the hearts and minds of soldiers." Brecht

    by DaNang65 on Sun Jan 05, 2014 at 09:12:43 AM PST

  •  Urban v Rural (0+ / 0-)

    This is a fascinating and generally well-thought-out diary. My only quibble is with your urban/rural logic. Pretty much anytime there are roughly equivalent cities, like Caspar and Cheyenne, they each get their 'own' seat if there are enough to go around. I'm quite confident that's what would happen if Wyoming had 3 seats, rather than having them put together in one (relatively) urban district.

  •  Unicameral legislature would unseat Senators (0+ / 0-)

    Senators would then have to run for their respective legislative seat, so it would be interesting to see who would compete in which district. For Colorado, Senator
    Bennet lives in Congress Park in the middle of LD-01, pitting him against Diana Degette. Likewise, Jared Polis, a resident of Boulder, would face Mark Udall, who lives in Eldorado Springs.

  •  Checked up on the rest of the post: (0+ / 0-)


    John McCain lives in Phoenix, but I don't know what part. Regardless of if he resides in it, he'd run in the 5th district, an open seat which voted for him in the Presidential election by a fair margin.

    Jeff Flake meanwhile resides in the Mormon metropolis of Snowflake, in northwestern Arizona. He'd have a tough fight against Ann Kirkpatrick for the 1st.


    Mike Crapo lands in the center of the new 3rd with his Idaho Falls residence. He and Mike Simpson would have a fun time trying racing to the right for the win.

    Jim Risch, meanwhile, would face Raul Labrador for ownership of Boise. Raul has some serious chops, but I think the more moderate Risch may fair better in this generally more moderate district.


    Jon Tester resides in Big Sandy in the 3rd, and would have to fight for this more conservative seat, and I imagine a GOP state senator would win it over him.

    Max Baucus in the meantime could easily win the 2nd, anchored in his home of Helena, but he would likely face current at-large Rep. Steve Daines of Bozeman in the southern end of the district.

    New Mexico

    Tom Udall lives in Sante Fe and inherits the more Colorado-esque northern portion of the state. He and Ben Lujan would duke it out for the 5th, but he has the better name-recognition and familial heritage to back him.

    Martin Heinrich, meanwhile, resides in Albuquerque. He'd probably run for the 2nd regardless of city limits, and have the easier time in this more swingy-territory.


    Harry Reid would face a tough challenge from one of Nevada's more rural-conservatives in the 2nd, as he lives just south of Las Vegas proper in Searchlight.

    Dean Heller, thankfully, wouldn't be able to face Reid, as he resides in Carson City and would face an uphill fight in blue territory.


    Mike Lee is saved from the SLC grinder by his living in the northern-most tip of the 3rd with his Alpine residence, but would go on to face his political twin-brother-from-another-mother, Jason Chaffetz.

    Orrin Hatch, meanwhile, has to chose between the 4th, 5th, and 6th (his likely choice, being the most rural, and most conservative of Salt Lake City's districts).


    John Barrasso, being a Senator from Wyoming, is harder to track down. His residence is stated as Casper, which is slightly cracked between the 1st and 3rd, yet his children apparently attend school in Thermopolis, which lies in the 2nd. Apparently, he would have his choice of district, but would likely opt for the 2nd as Cynthia Lummis lives in Cheyenne.

    Mike Enzi, meanwhile, would run in the 3rd. His home of Gillette lies in the northeast corner of the state.

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