So it's been a while since I've done one of these, and this is a pretty quick-and-dirty take -- but I thought it would be fun to see what I could draw if New Mexico were to absorb the heavily Latino Trans-Pecos region of Texas.
The usual caveats apply: I'm not advocating Texas start breaking into chunks, or that New Mexico annex portions of surrounding states, etc. This is just for fun -- just to see what I can do here.
So, here it is. There have been less ungainly states, fictional and otherwise. But if you look on a county map of Texas, it's pretty plain to see where the Southwest begins. (Hint: It's the part where the counties aren't just more or less equally sized little squares and rectangles.) So I took the nine-county region and stuck it onto the bottom of New Mexico.
What's the result? Turns out it makes a pretty big difference for New Mexico. By my math, the Trans-Pecos voted 65-35 for then-Sen. Barack Obama in 2008. Meanwhile, the Land of Enchantment gave him a comparatively measly 56.9-41.8 win. Obama did literally twice as well in the Trans-Pecos as he did in New Mexico!
New Mexico plus the Trans-Pecos voted 58.6-41.4 Obama in 2008, using the two-party vote.
To the districts!
NM-01 (blue): This district is a logical successor to its current version, represented in Congress by Democratic Rep. Ben Ray Lujan. It's still heavily Latino and Native, as well as strongly Democratic, despite having blood-red Curry County on the Texas border as its southern extremity. 60.9% Obama.
NM-02 (green): Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a freshman Democrat, represents this seat in metro Albuquerque. I tried to keep this district very compact, although Bernalillo County alone isn't quite enough to get it to the target population of about 728,800. It takes in a very small portion of Sandoval County to the north and about half of Valencia County to the south, both certainly within Albuquerque's community of interest. 60.3% Obama.
NM-03 (purple): Here's where it gets interesting. The geography of the open desert is a funny thing; some of these counties are pretty large and virtually empty, but El Paso County has north of 800,000 people living there -- too large for one congressional district. The county had to be split. To my mild surprise, the result is that this district, which would be contested by Republican Rep. Steve Pearce of New Mexico and Democratic Rep. Pete Gallego of Texas, is a coin flip far less like the current NM-03 and far more like the current TX-23. Advantage: Gallego. 50.3% Obama.
NM-04 (red): The second urban district on the map, this seat is based in El Paso and Las Cruces, two pretty reliably Democratic cities. It's not as solidly Democratic as the Albuquerque seat, but it's close. The incumbent congressman here is freshman Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke, who probably wouldn't have much trouble holding down the seat. 58.6% Obama.
Thoughts, questions, concerns?