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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?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (10+ / 0-)

    Pragmatic progressive. Oregonian, Cascadian, and American. Keeper of the DKE glossary.

    by SaoMagnifico on Wed Jun 04, 2014 at 09:15:16 AM PDT

  •  Ok Constitutional violations aside, are you aware (0+ / 0-)

    that the Texas map used to include this region, plus some more?

    So, I could maybe get behind this, if we could jettison the red parts of Colorado as we go....

    LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

    by BlackSheep1 on Wed Jun 04, 2014 at 09:39:26 AM PDT

  •  fail (0+ / 0-)

    you clearly don't live in New Mexico, nor do you know anything about it.

    don't always believe what you think

    by claude on Wed Jun 04, 2014 at 10:20:30 AM PDT

  •  Hard to see a map drawn much differently (0+ / 0-)

    but with a disastrous electoral effect in Texas.

    Probably the nicest thing about NM in terms of mapping is how easily Farmington's craziness is absorbed. Now if only we could just add Ciudad Juarez.

    ME-01 (college) ID-01 (home) -4.75, -2.10

    by GoUBears on Wed Jun 04, 2014 at 10:36:59 AM PDT

  •  I think it looks nice (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    James Allen, GoUBears

    Ignore the haters and keep on doing things like this.

    Personally, I'd keep a district entirely in El Paso, which would make the 3rd more Republican, but still not as Republican as the current NM-03.

    (-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 Wed Jun 04, 2014 at 12:23:45 PM PDT

  •  It's still remarkable how populated El Paso is. (0+ / 0-)

    “The universe is big. It’s vast and complicated and ridiculous. And sometimes, very rarely, impossible things just happen and we call them miracles.” -The Doctor

    by KingofSpades on Wed Jun 04, 2014 at 09:40:10 PM PDT

  •  ooh, my own personal home region! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Very nice, thanks!

    Small critique: it seems to me that this map is sort of in a no-man's-land between a Dem gerrymander and a non-partisan map in the way it deals with the El Paso area. On the one hand, I would expect a non-partisan map to create a fully urban district within El Paso county, with the remainder (either the heavily hispanic and partially rural Lower Valley, or the relatively more Anglo West Side and Upper Valley) going into the 3rd, along with Dona Ana. Seems more intuitive that way from a CoI perspective.

    On the other hand, a Dem gerrymander could easily allow the 4th to absorb all of southwestern NM (Dona Ana plus Luna, Hidalgo, Grant, Sierra, Catron and Socorro - those latter 6 counties amounting to a population under 100,000 and I believe just slightly favoring Obama), while shifting, say, the Lower Valley into the 3rd. Very roughly, I think that would make the 3rd roughly 55% Obama (though my math may need checking), so a lean-D seat that would be trending Dem and a 4-0 map. That wouldn't even be an aggressive gerrymander at all; the lines would look very neat n' pretty.

  •  Advantage Pearce (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    James Allen

    Pearce has represented this area for a long time. Gallego would give him a run for his money, but I do think Pearce would win 53-47 two party vote.

    24 Burkean Post Modern Gay Democrat; NM-2 (Raised), TX-20 (B.A. & M.A. in Political Science), TX-17 (Home); 08/12 PVIs

    by wwmiv on Thu Jun 05, 2014 at 09:45:47 AM PDT

    •  You've over looking the fact (0+ / 0-)

      that Pearce is a controversial nutcase. He's also never been reelected with more than 60% of the vote, not even against some dudes. Gallego would smash him in new areas, and would perform pretty strongly in the district, which really plays up to his specialty; rural district with somewhat more conservative hispanic population and white voters who used to be more Democratic than they are now, but some still vote for conservative Democrats. The district is more Democratic than the one Henry Teague won 55-45 in 2008 when it was open, and Gallego is a stronger candidate than Teague.

      "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 Jun 06, 2014 at 10:57:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Suggestions (0+ / 0-)

    A) Give the state Loving County as well for visual reasons. It won't make any difference on vote shares, given its population.

    B) Put Las Cruces back into the purple district and put the lower valley of El Paso into the red instead.

    C) A pet peeve of mine is having a single district entirely surround another. Visually it's just... off.

    D) You need to get the purple district up to 53% Obama in order for that to be something where Gallego might win. He just doesn't have the base in this district like he does in TX-23. If you really wanted to make it so that he'd win, you'd throw (even though it isn't technically transpecos) in Val Verde County. That way you could get him to a victory without having the need to make the district D+

    But Las Cruces really does need to be in the Gallego district, rather than El Paso.

    24 Burkean Post Modern Gay Democrat; NM-2 (Raised), TX-20 (B.A. & M.A. in Political Science), TX-17 (Home); 08/12 PVIs

    by wwmiv on Thu Jun 05, 2014 at 09:52:56 AM PDT

  •  This won't help (0+ / 0-)

    If we're trying to turn Texas blue.

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