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With the 2012 election over, many people have noticed that the Democrats picked up some key legislative chambers. Minnesota, Colorado, Oregon, and New York (possible) now all have Democratic Legislatures and Democratic Governors.

In 2003, Republicans in Georgia and Texas gained control of the governors mansion and legislature, respectively. In both states, Republicans were ruthless and took the court-drawn map in Texas and Democratic-drawn map in Georgia and turned them into partisan Republican gerrymanders. While Texas Democrats courageously fled the state to avoid a quorum, we all know what happened in the end, and in 2004 Democrats in each of these two states were decimated.

To be sure, and to be clear, Democrats are better than this. I am personally not suggesting Democrats follow the lead of Republicans 10 years later. In fact, I am personally opposed to them doing this, because this sort of partisanship in bluish-purple, good government states is not going to fly with the public. Still, I thought this would be a fun exercise in the event that some out there want to get even.

Oregon is not a democratic gerrymander, but it is a 5-1 Democrat state currently. I really don’t think it is possible to make it 6-0. In New York, Andrew Cuomo doesn’t really want a Democratic state senate and there’s no way he’d sign onto mid-decade redistricting so that’s fruitless. So while getting the trifecta in these two states is nice, it doesn’t really do anything for Dems in redistricting.

Minnesota and Colorado are different stories. The 2010 wave crashed hard in Minnesota, turning the legislature Republican for the first time in awhile. Things weren’t as bad in Colorado, where Democrats kept the state senate but lost the state house. In both states, with Democratic governors elected in 2010, a compromise court-drawn map was implemented. In Minnesota, things were left pretty status quo. In Colorado, the court actually went with a version of the map the Democrats had proposed. But, the Democratic map wasn’t really an extreme partisan gerrymander. In the spirit of Texas and Georgia Republicans, let’s see what an extreme Democratic partisan gerrymander could look like.

I made one assumption and had three objectives in creating the Colorado map. The assumption is that the Hispanic population in this state will continue to grow substantially, drifting Colorado to the left even more over time. My three objectives were to 1) maximize the potential for Democratic pickups, even if the Democrat is a blue dog, 2) keep existing incumbents in their current districts, and 3) do not respect communities of interest. I’m not an expert on Colorado anyway, so it would be hard for me to do a COI map. Here we go!

CO-Statewide Map

Denver Metro Map

1st District (Blue)

Most of Denver and southern suburbs

Democratic votes concentrated in Denver are split. The 2011 court map decreased Obama performance from 74% to 71%, and DeGette just got 68% in 2012. We can get this down further without endangering her. This is most of Denver (except northern parts), then takes in southern portions of Arapahoe County (Centennial and Littleton) and southern portions (red areas) of Jefferson County and Highlands Ranch in of ruby-red Douglas County. Dem performance is now only 54% but Obama got 59% in 2008. I still think this is Safe D.

2nd District (Green)

Boulder, ski towns, and the western slope

People in Mesa County will be furious with this. All of Boulder County, except Longmont. Western Larimer County. Westward to capture blue ski towns in the middle of the state and red counties around Grand Junction in the western third. This is a dramatic change from the current configuration. Jared Polis is liberal and gay, and the folks in Mesa County won’t take well to him. But he’s a self-funder and I have to hope he could hold this district. He’s also young so probably would keep this district for the rest of the decade. The 2011 court map decreased Obama performance from 64% to 61%, and Polis got 56% in 2012. The Republican only got 39% in 2012. This is now 53% Dem and went 57% for Obama in 2012. With Polis, this is Likely D. Without Polis, Lean D. Scott Tipton, who lives here I believe, would lose in a matchup with Polis.

Colorado Springs Map

3rd District (Purple)

Southern Colorado, downtown Colorado Springs, some western Denver suburbs.

This is the second district that is quite different from the current district, but it’s also the first ugly-looking, yet masterful district. It certainly ignores COI. I’ve seen a couple of maps on this site that had districts picking up the Democratic precincts in central Colorado Springs (there are Dems there!). Given what the Republicans did in Ohio with their Cleveland-Akron Marcia Fudge district, why shouldn’t Dems do that here? I actually had to go far north too, to pick up western blue suburbs in Jefferson County to get this up to population. Ed Perlmutter, who lives in Golden, is not in this district. It’s open, but both Sal Pace and John Salazar live in the southern end of the district. You’d need to get a lot of money to run here since you’d have to run ads in the Denver and Colorado Spring media markets, among others. A blue dog would be best here. The court increased Obama performance from 47% to 48% in 2011 but Obama got 52% in this map. Dem performance is only 48%. This is probably a Tossup but with the appropriate Democrat, a moderate Hispanic, this could be Lean D.

Fort Collins and North-Central Colorado Map

4th District (Red)

Fort Collins, Longmont, Broomfield, Weld & Morgan Counties

Brandon Shaffer was the architect behind the Dem map that the court approved in 2011. But the court made a few adjustments, which happened to shaft Brandon Shaffer. Shaffer lives in Longmont and wanted to run against the up-and-coming (i.e. statewide potential) Cory Gardner. This district is more of what he’d want. The district does not include any eastern prairie counties, as it has historically, although Morgan County is quite rural and red. The court decreased Obama performance from 49% to 42% in 2011 but Obama got 52% in this map. Dem performance is only 45%. Don’t get me wrong….Gardner is a strong candidate and would certainly have a chance here. But Democrats have a legitimate shot. We could increase the Dem performance by getting rid of Morgan County and bringing in some parts of Adams County but I didn’t want it to look uglier than it already is. Tossup

5th District (Yellow)

Most eastern prairie counties, southern Douglas County, most of El Paso County.

The great Republican sinkhole, I actually created this district last. Doug Lamborn, I’ll assume his home is not in downtown Colorado Springs. The court map kept Democratic performance the same, 40% in their new map, but this map decreases performance even more, down to 31%. Obama got 36%. Safe R

6th District (Teal)

Most of Arapahoe and Adams Counties, northern portions of Douglas County, southern portions of Jefferson County, northeast Denver (including airport)

This is the Republican parts of Jefferson, Adams, and Arapahoe counties, but also includes plenty of blue in Arapahoe and Adams. We should have beaten Coffman in 2012. With Coffman’s disease, Miklosi should have had this. The courts dramatically changed the 6th district with their re-draw, making the Obama performance increase from 46% to 54%.  In this, map I actually increase Obama performance to 57%. Dem performance is 49%. Coffman only got 49% in 2012. Again, we need a strong Dem here. In that case, Lean D.

7th District (Grey)

Northern Jefferson County, Northwest Denver, Western Adams County

Ed Perlmutter deserves a break. He’s been a good Dem in a fairly secure district and survived the 2010 wave. His seat dropped in Obama performance by 2 points in the court map. He got 53% to Joe Coors’ 41% in 2012. His seat is now 57% Dem and went for Obama in 2008 for 63%. Safe D

By my count:

Current Delegation is 3-4 Republican. This map would be 4-1-2. CO-3 and CO-4 are the swing districts. Again, my goal is to maximize Dem potential…did I draw a dummymander? If we got good recruits, this map could be 6-1. Most likely scenario might be 5-2, with Gardner holding on in the 4th. With CO trending blue and more Hispanics moving in, all of these CDs should trend blue.

County Splits:
El Paso (2 ways)
Douglas (3 ways)
Denver (3 ways)
Jefferson (3 ways)
Arapahoe (2 ways)
Adams (3 ways)
Boulder (2 ways)
Larimer (2 ways)

I’ll do Minnesota in a couple of days.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tipped and recced (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cat Servant, pistolSO, davybaby, MichaelNY

    although I am in no way opposed to Dems following through in CO, MN, and NY with new maps.  What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

    Nate Silver is to Joe Scarborough as Billy Beane is to Grady Fuson

    by Superribbie on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 12:31:52 PM PST

    •  We Dems should strive for a balanced approach (0+ / 0-)

      We should not play a "tit for tat" gerrymandering game.

      Instead, we can make the case that the time has come for an entirely new and balanced method for setting congressional district boundaries.

      The general principle should be that boundaries should not be drawn in a way that puts one party at a marked disadvantage and results in having most Dems represented by Republicans (as in OH with 12 R and only 4 D) or vice versa.

      Neither party should be able to do gerrymandering, period.  Redistricting should be done in a non-partisan way.

      Rather than having urban voters in separate districts from suburban or rural voters, it would be better to have Congressmen who are obligated to represent a range of interests, including urban and suburban and rural areas.

      Thus, instead of having a representative from Columbus area, Ohio, it would be better to have some parts of the Columbus area in surrounding districts.

      In Michigan, Sandor Levin could represent, for example, Macomb County and St. Clair County, rather than the entire Thumb area having Republican representatives for perpetuity.

      If we allow Dem districts to remain concentrated in very urban areas, then we'll continue to have districts with 70% or 80% Democrats, which is what permits the gerrymandering problems in Michigan and Ohio and Pennsylvania.

      One way to achieve a non-partisan approach to redistricting would be to have it done by panels that are required to include 1/3 Republicans, 1/3 Democrats, and 1/3 Non-Aligned voters.

      •  Lots of shoulds there (0+ / 0-)

        I agree with that in theory.  But in a world of cutthroat partisan line drawing, we don't unilaterally disarm or we perish.  In fact, the only thing that might create enough support on the R side for nonpartisan districting is enough pain from agressive gerrymandering from our side.  

        Nate Silver is to Joe Scarborough as Billy Beane is to Grady Fuson

        by Superribbie on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 02:56:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  That's been in the back of my mind all week (4+ / 0-)

    Absolutely, Oregon and New York would be greedy (although I'd love to see New York redraw the map expressly to get rid of Peter King), but Colorado and Minnesota are absolutely fair game. I'm guessing your Minnesota map will torpedo Michele Bachmann's district?

    -7.75, -8.10; All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

    by Dave in Northridge on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 12:34:53 PM PST

  •  a bad precedent we should not follow (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NWTerriD, Inoljt
  •  Absolutely we should do it. (5+ / 0-)

    Maybe if both parties deliberately gerrymander enough people will realize that home-drawn districts are BS and either have a nonpartisan commision do it or, better still, nationwide proportional representation.

  •  My preference for CO would be a 5-2 map. (8+ / 0-)

    This could actually be accomplished pretty easily. Just create two Republican vote sinks: one in and around Colorado Springs and the Eastern slope, and also including Teller and Fremont Counties, and the other including Douglas and Elbert Counties, parts of Weld County, then a narrow strip along the northern border, and then Grand Junction, Delta, and Montrose. The five Democratic districts could all be at least 57% Obama 2008. A map like this would give DeGette, Polis, and Perlmutter safe seats, and Pace and Miklosi would win their districts easily.

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

    by ProudNewEnglander on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 01:05:40 PM PST

  •  It's fun to consider (10+ / 0-)

    and a good tool for looking at political geography in a state, but Colorado has court precedent that it can only be redistricted once every ten years.

    "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 Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 01:11:46 PM PST

  •  Good map (3+ / 0-)

    Hadn't thought of splitting things this way.  Unfortunately, Colorado's constitution prohibits redistricting more than once per decade.  Republicans tried to do the same as Texas in 2003, but the map was thrown out.

    •  Is there a copy of that R gerrymander around? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY

      I would love to see what the GOP attempted.

      Age 23. Voting in NJ-03. Lived most of life in NJ-01. Had Rush Holt represent me during my undergrad years and am now represented by Frank Pallone in my grad school.

      by KingofSpades on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 02:54:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Oregon only has 5 congressional districts at this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KingofSpades, MichaelNY

    point.

    Considering the state is now D+5, the same as OR-01 I think, while OR-04 is D+2 and OR-05 is D+1, it is conceivable that we could gerrymander the 2nd and 3rd districts to an average of D+6-7, and fairly safely hold all of the districts.  I've drawn conceptual maps to show roughly how it could be done, and also how it could be done if we gained a 6th district.  I think it's something that Democrats should consider if they control the state government come the next round of redistricting, but given how tenuous our hold on a couple of the districts would be, and how flagrantly it would violate communities of interest, I don't think it should happen.  I'd prefer a tweaked map to better secure a 4-1 or 5-1 split of districts.

    ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

    by James Allen on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 01:57:59 PM PST

  •  looks like a dummymander (4+ / 0-)

    Mid-decade redistricting is illegal in Colorado anyway, so this is a moot point, but this would be my preferred map:

    Photobucket

    CO-1: DeGette (D): 64.6-34.0 Obama, 59.0% D
    CO-2: Polis (D): 57.0-41.5 Obama, 52.4% D
    CO-3: Tipton (R): 53.0-45.3 Obama, 50.8% R
    CO-4: Gardner (R) or Open: 52.6-45.7 Obama, 54.0% R
    CO-5: Lamborn/Gardner (R): 64.8-33.8 McCain, 70.6% R
    CO-6: Coffman (R): 57.8-40.6 Obama, 51.5% D
    CO-7: Perlmutter (D): 57.6-40.5 Obama, 51.2% D

  •  No. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dc1000

    I am going to be honest. The map we have is not a bad map.  In fact it is the map the Dems wanted.  We cannot engage in these shenanigans like the GOP here tried to do 10 years ago when they got the trifecta back.  I do not think the Dems should waste time doing the same now.  The courts shot the GOP down and fairly would do the same with the Dems.  We have 3 districts (1, 2, 7) in our possession, and 1 (6) that is imminently winnable with a good candidate and campaign.  

    Bear in mind also, the next election after the GOP tried this, they lost the legislature.  I don't know if these shenanigans played into it, but I bet the people didn't feel that they were doing the peoples' business.  We need not make the same mistake, especially after coming so far.

    If you listen to fools, the Mob Rules

    by CO Democrat on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 01:08:18 AM PST

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