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It's Hypothetical Redistricting Time.

In Maryland, the Democratic legislature draws the Congressional districts. The map they came up with this year changed our delegation from 6-2 to 7-1, but .... well, I'm sure everyone has seen the map. But if you haven't, just LOOK at it.

The Baltimore City area especially looks like an onion: deep inside is District 7, move a little north and you're in a strip District 3, a little more north is a sliver of District 2, a little more is District 1, and far enough north you're somehow back in District 7. I was holding my breath on Question 5 in November, which put the redistricting up for popular vote. It passed, meaning the ridiculous map stands, but I was curious as to whether we could still have a 7-1 map without it being quite so ridiculous. So I threw incumbent protection and racial districting out the window in favor of contiguity and compactness. As it is, I ended up with 7-1 and three VRE districts in what is at least a cleaner map. Let me know what you think!


MD-01: Andy Harris (R-Cockeysville)
Obama 39 - McCain 60
It's unfortunate that given its geography, the Eastern Shore has to become part of the Republican vote sink. Most GOP votes here come from northern Harford, Baltimore, and Carroll counties west of the Bay. Rep. Harris himself is from Cockeysville, but... Cockeysville is not in the 1st district in my map. Suck it, Harris. Hopefully someone who is actually from the Shore will win this district.

MD-02: Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Cockeysville)
Obama 54 - McCain 44
This district is much nicer because it doesn't have ribbons from other districts running through it. It includes much of the current 2nd district, but adds Pikesville, Towson, and a good amount of central and western Baltimore County. Why can't it look this nice in real life? Because my 2nd District includes the residences of THREE sitting Representatives - Harris, Dutch, and John Sarbanes.

MD-03: John Sarbanes (D-Towson)
Obama 54 - McCain 45
Currently, this is quite possibly the most ridiculous district in the nation. It's a ribbon that starts at Annapolis, grabs a thin strip of northern Anne Arundel County, takes a chunk of Montgomery County before bouncing back east through Howard County, grabs a strip in central Baltimore City, then turning west again to Pikesville in Baltimore County. My 3rd District doesn't play those games, and takes northern Anne Arundel County, the majority-white southern area of Baltimore City, and Columbia in Howard County. This could be a good seat for either Howard County Executive Ken Ulman or Anne Arundel County Councilman Jamie Benoit.

John Sarbanes is an excellent public servant though, and a champion of campaign finance reform, so in my fantasy world he moves to the US Senate.

MD-04: Donna Edwards (D-Fort Washington)
Obama 83 - McCain 16
48% Black, 25% White, 18% Hispanic, 7% Asian
This is another odd-shaped district right now, which literally includes Rep. Edwards' home in Prince George's County, a Republican chunk of Anne Arundel County, and a thin strip to connect the two. This district I drew is very compact in northern PG/eastern Montgomery counties, and the spillover of Laurel into Howard and Anne Arundel. I can think of a lot of people who could represent this district but my first choice would be Delegate Joseline Peña-Melnyk, who currently represents the Laurel/College Park area.

Donna Edwards is a strong progressive leader, and she gets my other Senate seat. Seriously though, she should run for Senate in 2016.

MD-05: Steny Hoyer (D-Mechanicsville)
Obama 70 - McCain 29
48% Black, 44% White
The southern MD district becomes a lot more clean when you don't have to maneuver the entire district around Donna Edwards' house. Even though St. Mary's County has been trending Republican since 2008, Charles County is trending Democratic, and rapidly so. This district will remain in Democratic hands even without Rep. Hoyer.

MD-06: John Delaney (D-Potomac)
Obama 54 - McCain 45
This district was brilliantly drawn by the state. It's actually more compact than the previous 6th district, which stretched almost all the way across the northern border of the state. Now it's truly a "western Maryland" district and includes just enough of Montgomery County to be majority Democratic. Delaney's residence remains in the district in my map; in fact I changed the 6th very little.

MD-07: Elijah Cummings (D-Baltimore)
Obama 84 - McCain 15
59% Black, 32% White
The new 7th includes the black-majority precincts of Baltimore City, as well as the predominately black western suburbs such as Woodlawn.

MD-08: Chris Van Hollen (D-Kensington)
Obama 64 - McCain 35
Rep. Van Hollen keeps his district, which dispenses with its current "ribbon" shape in favor of a thicker chunk in western MD.

Montgomery County:

Baltimore City:

In any case it was fun drawing this map. If anyone has any suggestions, let me know! (This is my first redistricting.)

Originally posted to ChristianLeftistMD on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 02:55 PM PST.

Also republished by Maryland Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Could the Dems beat Harris? or is it too red? (0+ / 0-)
    •  Speaking from MD-01, (0+ / 0-)

      I can say that 01 is pretty red, but not irretrievably so.  Prior to Harris, we actually elected a Dem, albeit a useless blue dog, and before that was a real life moderate R (Gilchrist) who enjoyed the support of both parties.  It was the extremist GOP voters who ousted Gilchest (in the primary), not the Dems.

      If Obama's policies prove successful, esp. the PPACA, and the economy turns, I think Harris could be vulnerable.  Alas, I don't know about who the D challenger might be.  With the Eastern Shore being so red, taking on an incumbent is a daunting challenge few would take on.  It won't be me.

      Short answer - yes, the Dems could beat Harris, but I don't know that's where the state Dem party's priorities will be.  I suspect that unless things change, they'll continue to concede this one.

      "It is not, you fucking liberal prick." ..My RW friend Dave's last words to me.

      by rb608 on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 05:14:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  this isn't a great map (7+ / 0-)

    54% Obama is very weak.  It's only like D+2.  It's a swing district.  Throwing people like Sarbanes into a D+2 is a bad idea.

    ...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 Dec 09, 2012 at 03:16:03 PM PST

    •  also one of your districts is 59% African American (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KingofSpades, GoUBears

      while two others are only 48%.  You should try to dilute the 59% and bring the other two above 50%.

      ...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 Dec 09, 2012 at 03:22:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I agree (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Englishlefty, WisJohn

      The 6th district wasn't one of the more egregiously shaped redraws (2 and 3 stick out as such.)  While Delaney could probably hold the district as drawn assuming he pays due diligence to it, there's no reason to dilute its Democratic vote to smooth out the lines elsewhere--and I say this as someone in his last month in the 8th district (with Van Hollen's representation) before becoming a Delaney constituent, who damn sure would not want to be moved into a district potentially represented by a right-wing Republican (the actual new 6th's population has a near-majority in Montgomery County, which combined with Democratic areas elsewhere is a likely Democratic firewall even in a bad year.)  

      Also, would reducing the 4th to 48% black be VRA retrogression?  Legally that's verboten, though Edwards could handle it.

      37, MD-8 (MD-6 after 2012) resident, NOVA raised, Euro/Anglophile Democrat

      by Mike in MD on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 10:18:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  On the contrary! (0+ / 0-)

      It's a very nice Republican gerrymander. See what aesthetics gets you? Students for a New American Politics!

      by redrelic17 on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 03:58:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I don't think so. (0+ / 0-)

    Your map may not be correct.  You have MD-3 (Severna Park) as Sarbanes territory.  But in this election, people in Severna Park voted 98% for Donna Edwards, which was a breath of fresh air from the fool Andy Harris we were represented by.  So check your map.  

    •  No they didn't (0+ / 0-)

      Edwards' Republican opponent carried the Anne Arundel portion of the redrawn 4th, though she had no trouble winning reelection as a clear majority of the district is still in Prince George's.  Still, from a Democratic perspective voters there got one of Congress' best upgrades even if they didn't contribute much to it.

      37, MD-8 (MD-6 after 2012) resident, NOVA raised, Euro/Anglophile Democrat

      by Mike in MD on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 10:22:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The biggest problem in drawing Maryland (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GoUBears, Englishlefty, BeloitDem

    is of course satisfying incumbents, who have gotten used to representing strange configurations of precincts.  Also, Sarbanes and Ruppersberger want at least 57% Obama districts I would bet.  Edwards wants some of Montgomery, Hoyer doesn't want too many African-Americans...out of all of them, Van Hollen seems the most agreeable.

    But I get that this is an experiment in ignoring such concerns.  All I would suggest is a bit more creative line-drawing around Baltimore to shore up MD-02 and MD-03.

  •  a district should be 57% Obama by 08 numbers (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KingofSpades, GoUBears

    in order to be safe. It does look quite nice, though.

    19, CA-18 (home), CA-13 (school)
    Socially libertarian, moderate on foreign policy, immigration, and crime, liberal on everything else.
    UC Berkeley; I think I'm in the conservative half of this city. -.5.38, -3.23

    by jncca on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 03:41:44 PM PST

    •  That varies a bit by what part of the state (0+ / 0-)

      forms the Democratic base.  As O'Malley & Co. drew the districts, they managed to make six of the eight at least 60% Obama 2008, and the seventh Dem district, the 6th, falls just below your threshold at 56%.  However, most of that Democratic vote comes from Montgomery County, which is not swingable even during GOP wave years (see the 2010 results), and thus should be safe.  

      In some other parts of the state (the Baltimore suburbs come to mind) the Democratic vote is potentially swingable, but that was combined with Democratic votes elsewhere (Baltimore City and the DC suburbs) to produce what should be safe, if not visually pleasing, Democratic districts.

      37, MD-8 (MD-6 after 2012) resident, NOVA raised, Euro/Anglophile Democrat

      by Mike in MD on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 10:55:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Borderline (or actual) dummymander. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GoUBears, Englishlefty, BeloitDem

    Republicans can win MD-02, 03, and 06 in good years.  Also, you should keep Donna Edwards districts a little above 50% VAP black, lower Hoyer's district black percentage as a result (but give him College Park, which he is defensive about).  Dilute the VAP black percentage of Cummings' district to 52-53% to help the Baltimore Metro Dem districts.

    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 Dec 09, 2012 at 03:53:17 PM PST

  •  The Maryland redistricting map (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    was the one thing on which I agreed with my RW friends.  We both thought it was ridiculous.  

    "It is not, you fucking liberal prick." ..My RW friend Dave's last words to me.

    by rb608 on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 05:16:00 PM PST

  •  We can do better (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    There's no reason we can't do an 8D-0R map in Maryland.

    •  There were some pretty solid 8-0 maps (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dufffbeer, davybaby

      a while ago, back when the side-bar was dominated by MD maps. Good times.

      Farm boy, 20, who hit the city to go to college, WI-03 (home, voting), WI-02 (college), -6.75, -3.18, One of 1,620,985 Wisconsinites to re-elect Barack Obama, and one of 1,547,104 Wisconsinites to send Tammy Baldwin to the US Senate!!!

      by WisJohn on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 07:18:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  northern Balt City is white and Democratic (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It shouldn't be wasted in MD-7.  It should be used to shore up MD-2.  Then take some heavily Republican northern Balt County out of MD-2 into MD-1.

  •  2 black-dominated districts in Southern Maryland (0+ / 0-)

    I love how you accomplished that.  They will both become majority-black in a matter of time.  It might not follow the letter of the law, but I dare anyone to challenge it in court.

  •  I hate my district, the 3rd (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    3 blocks wide and 300 miles long, a slight exaggeration, but not by much.  I voted for the Republican ballot initiative to void the districts, but the Repubs were putting all their energies to defeating the Dream Act and Marriage Equality.  The question was cutely worded not to draw attention to it, and it passed.  So we are stuck with these districts for the next 10 years, so what's the point of this exercise.

    "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, now we know that it is bad economics." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jan. 20, 1937

    by Navy Vet Terp on Wed Dec 12, 2012 at 02:23:27 PM PST

  •  Thanks! (0+ / 0-)

    Thanks for all the suggestions. I realize Maryland can be a stronger 7-1 than what I drew (heck, it's a strong 7-1 in reality). I was mainly trying to see how eye-pleasing I could make the districts.

  •  What you said about MD-5...? (0+ / 0-)

    "...even without Rep. Hoyer."

    Is Steny going somewhere?  Retiring?  And a later comment that he doesn't want more A-A in his (and my) district?  Can I get a reference for that?  

    Born in Harford County, but you'd never know it from my politics.  Go Blue, Maryland!

    (-7.62,-7.33) Carbon footprint 12.6 metric tons. l'Enfer, c'est les autres.

    by argomd on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 02:50:26 PM PST

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