This week we have interactive state legislative district maps for Washington, New Mexico, and New Jersey. Each legislative chamber is mapped out using the presidential election results calculated by Daily Kos Elections, the legislative election results, and some info on each legislator. For maps of 21 other states' legislative chambers see the first, second, third, and fourth in this series.
Districts in solid blue were carried by Obama and are represented by a Democrat, while those in solid red were won by Mitt Romney and are held by a Republican. Lighter red districts voted for Obama and a Republican legislator, while those in lighter blue went for Romney and a Democratic legislator. All vacant seats are assigned to the party that last won them. Note that the map displays use only the two-party vote to give you a more equivalent comparison between presidential and legislative results, but the diary and Daily Kos Elections' numbers include totals for third party candidates, though the differences are minor.
Washington State Senate
A bipartisan commission drew Washington’s state legislative districts with an equal partisan split, but Democratic member Tim Ceis voted for the Republican plan that predictably benefited that party a modest amount. While Obama carried 34, Republicans hold nine. The GOP controls all 15 Romney districts. To make matters worse two renegade Democrats, SD-35's Tim Sheldon and SD-48's Rodney Tom (whose districts are colored in yellow), caucus with the 24 Republicans. This gives Team Red an effective majority of 26 over the remaining 23 Democrats. Sheldon is likely safe from losing to a real Democrat since the state's top-two system has all candidates run on the same primary ballot with top two vote winners advancing regardless of party. Sheldon also represents a swing district giving him some more room for error.
On the bright side, Rodney Tom is retiring in 2014. His seat went for Obama 62-36 and Democrats are favored to take it back, meaning the party would need to gain just one more seat for outright control of the chamber. While only half the seats are up each cycle, Republicans will be defending a lot of their 2010 gains this year, giving Democrats an excellent shot at retaking the Senate. However, the map still leans Republican with the median district voting for Obama just 54-43, putting it four points to the right of the state.
Washington State House of Representatives Position 1
Washington State House of Representatives Position 2
Along with just Idaho, Washington uses the same district map for both legislative chambers yet conducts two separate races for the lower house in each one. Obama won 68 seats to Romney's 30. Republicans hold 15 Obama seats while just two Romney seats elected Democrats, but Team Blue has a healthy 55 to 43 majority. The median seats are again the same as the Senate at 54-43 Obama, making it four percent more Republican than the state overall.
Head below the fold to see maps for New Mexico and New Jersey.
New Mexico State Senate
When split legislative and gubernatorial control between the parties caused the court system to decide redistricting in New Mexico, they chose the Republicans' plans. President Obama won 27 districts and Romney carried 15. One Democrat and three Republicans sit in seats won by the opposing party's presidential ticket, giving the Democrats a 25 to 17 majority. The median seats went for Obama 53-43, which was basically the same as the state. Senators serve four-year terms and are not up again until 2016.
New Mexico State House of Representatives
The lower house in the Land of Enchantment is not so sunny for Democrats. Although Obama won 45 districts, Republicans represent eight of these and Democrats won none of the 25 Romney seats. This gives Democrats a slim majority of 37 to 33. The median seats went for Obama by an average of just 51-45, which was four percent more Republican than his statewide margin. The Republicans have been locked out of the majority since 1953 but the favorable map and crossover voting could give them a shot at the chamber.
New Jersey State Senate
As with its gubernatorial elections, legislative elections in New Jersey take place in odd numbered years with the state Senate being up in those ending in -1, -3, or -7. Like Washington State, New Jersey uses a bipartisan commission to draw districts with an equal number of partisans agreeing to an independent tiebreaker. This year the Democratic proposal was adopted for the legislature (the Congressional map unfortunately is another story). Thus the party was able to not only win the chamber, but lose zero seats in 2013 despite losing the popular vote amid Chris Christie's landslide win.
Obama won 28 districts to Romney's 12, but given turnout difficulties in odd-year elections Democrats don't have that strong of an advantage in the legislature. Republicans represent four Obama districts while Democrats hold zero that Romney won, for a total of 24 Democrats to 16 Republicans. The median seats in the chamber voted for the president by an average of 59-40, making them about one point better than Obama's statewide margin.
New Jersey State Assembly
New Jersey uses the same map for both legislative chambers, but in the Assembly each party nominates two candidates and the top two vote-winners are elected. Because some districts were won by Romney but elected a split delegation they are colored in the lightest red. Obama carried 56 seats to Romney's 24, but as with the Senate turnout was one reason why Republicans represent eight Obama seats yet Democrats won zero Romney seats. That 48 to 32 Democratic majority is the same proportion as the Senate and of course the median seats also went 59-40 for Obama, or one point wider than his statewide margin, making New Jersey one of the few states with two effectively identical chambers.